There’s been a strange battle in the adoption community against UNICEF. This holiday season there is even a boycott being staged for people to not buy UNICEF holiday cards as a way to show how angry adoptive parents are at UNICEF’s position on inter country adoption which you can read in full here.
Now, I’ve read the statement. It basically states that intercountry adoption should be the absolute last resort for children. It encourages family permanency, recognizing that the first choice for children should be to stay with their family of origin or at least in their country of origin instead of being removed and sent to another country. It clearly supports the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. The statement points out that over the last 30 years the amount of adoptions from typically poorer “sending” countries to typically wealthier “receiving” countries has grown and with that growth has come corruption and fraud and basically adoption has turned from being a last resort into an adoption industry.
I do not disagree with a single point that UNICEF is making. So the fact that an adoptive parent from the US is writing articles calling for a boycott of UNICEF’s holiday cards based on their position on intercountry adoption really aggravates me. The author, Andrea Poe, even goes so far as to call the position that UNICEF is taking “radical” and “against orphans.” Really? Radical? The fact that UNICEF is clearly calling for support of these children in their own countries of origin is radical? I wonder how many people are taking the time to read the full statement. How many adoptive parents might actually agree with the radical statement if they did take the time to read it?
We all want what is best for our children. For some of those children it means that their families needed to place them outside of their homes. For some of those children it means that they are best served by being adopted outside of their birth countries. But for all of these children staying in their family of origin should be the preferred plan, it just isn’t always possible.
I love my son. And I am so lucky that he was placed in our home. But I think of his first family, so far away from him. And I know that his birth father would have been overjoyed if someone had said to him, “Here, you don’t need to relinquish him. We’ll come up with a plan to make it possible for you to buy formula and we’ll come up with a way for him to stay at a care center during the day while you work so you can have him with you at home when you’re not working. We’ll find a way to preserve your family so you and your other 2 children don’t have to experience another tremendous loss.” I believe that is what UNICEF is advocating for and I find nothing radical or boycott worthy about it. And I also think it’s pretty disgusting that any adoptive parent would not be doing the same work that UNICEF is doing, inching towards a day when families have more options and where preservation replaces the big business of adoption.