Buy buy baby?
Posted on June 13, 2012 by cskparkes
For many in the developed world, excluded from their national adoption system for reasons such as age, inter-country adoption may be one option to start or expand their families. On the surface this system, if well regulated, seems to offer a positive outcome for both children and prospective parents. However, as with any system involving several national jurisdictions, the potential for fraud, corruption, and exploitation is ripe – the worst case scenario being the widespread kidnap and sale of children into adoption. There have been numerous stories from Cambodia, India, Ethiopia and Guatemala of ‘orphans’ being adopted by Western parents only for it later to emerge that they had living parents, in whose care they were happily living. Parents coerced, bullied or mislead into giving up their children or, at the worst end of the spectrum, children being stolen. Most recently, in April, two Malaysians were arrested for allegedly selling babies to a Singaporean woman, who was operating as a middle (wo)man in the transaction.
Illegal adoption is not new. The 20th century saw a number of states use forced/illegal adoption during periods of conflict or instability. Usually politically motivated, this process found its justification in a faux moral argument which centred on the provision of a better life for a child, regardless of the potential trauma suffered by the birth family, the deceit suffered by the prospective parents or indeed the mental distress suffered by the child. In Spain, for instance, as recently explored in a BBC documentary, children were literally stolen from their mothers (who were told the baby had died) by the Catholic Church and given to more ‘suitable’ families under the auspices of the Franco era (beginning 1939) until the 1990s. Similarly, in Argentina, during the military dictatorship (1976-83) children were taken from women in prison or...