International adoptions are in the news currently.
The Hollywood actress, Angelina Jolie, wants to adopt an Indian child.
‘When child actor Azharuddin Mohammed, of Slumdog Millionaire fame, met Jolie at the Oscars last month, he asked her whether she would consider adopting a child from India.
‘She reportedly told him,”Well, I’ll let you into a little secret, we will soon.”
‘Angelina, 33, and Brad already raise three adopted children together – Maddox, eight, from Cambodia, Pax, five, from Vietnam and Zahara, four, from Ethiopia’.
Pop star Madonna, is adopting a baby girl from Malawi
‘An official at the Malawian department of women and child welfare told the BBC’s Raphael Tenthani that the pop star had already filed adoption papers and her case could be heard as early as next week’.
‘The 14-month-old baby will be a sister to David Banda, the first child Madonna adopted from the African country.’
But these are adoptions by high-profile people that attract a great deal of publicity. There are many adoptions taking place without much publicity. There is a growing trend in western countries, of adopting children from Asian or Africa countries.
The UN children’s agency, Unicef, warns that lack of legal oversight in some countries “has spurred the growth of an industry around adoption, where profit, rather than the best interests of children, take centre stage”.
Not all of the children adopted are orphans. Some parents put up their children for adoption because they are unable to raise them due to poverty. Sometimes they give up their children for large amounts of money.
There is also the problem of keeping the child’s sense of identity intact.
David Holmes, chief executive of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering, points out that inter-country adopters face “huge challenges”.
“They will need to consider how best to reinforce the child’s ethnic and cultural heritage and their sense of identity,” he says. “Every adoption has challenges but this is the additional dimension.”
International adoption has a seamier side, too. Last August, the C.B.I. unearthed a lucrative racket of selling Indian children abroad for adoption.
‘A case has been registered against the Malaysian Social Service, a Chennai-based private company licensed by the Indian government, for having sent at least 120 children for adoption abroad.‘
‘Street children were kidnapped for a mere Rs.500 and given for adoption abroad for sums ranging from as low as Rs.10,000 to as high as $10,000 per child, a CBI official said.’
In neighbouring Nepal, International adoptions were temporarily suspended a couple of years ago.
A report by Unicef and a Swiss child relief agency said that ‘sale, abduction and trafficking of children is taking place in Nepal and the government needs to do more to encourage adoption by domestic families’.
Should Asian/ African countries allow their children to be adopted abroad? A tough question indeed!