There has been a lot of talk with the Hague stuff and everything about UNICEF and how they are against international adoption. Why is that? What do they propose instead? Can anyone tell me where to go to read more on the issue?
If you do a google search for the words UNICEF and abortion you will find very interesting information. I always thought UNICEF was there to feed and help hungry children, but after I researched a little, I found other agendas. Very sad.
Can I just jump in here with one brief comment?
UNICEF, like the rest of the UN, is totally committed to keeping itself going so the people working there can continue to have high paying jobs, wear Armani suits and drive around poor countries in brand new white LandCruisers.
In short, the EVIL INSTITUTION come to mind...often.
I have a category on my international adoption blog dedicated to trashing the UN. I do it every chance I get.
Even so, however, I'll never be a match for the mega-million-dollar PR machine they just keep rolling along over the truth as they manufacture their version.
Okay, that was more than one comment, and not brief.
Ok - I'll be the one to play devil's advocate...
First of all - US tax payers actually don't put much money into UNICEF nor other UN agencies - the US is now the biggest debtor to the UN and owes approximately $2.3 BILLION dollars - and these lack of resources are part of the reason why the UN is so ineffective.
While some UN workers (like any other profession) are there just to keep their jobs going, most of them actually do care about the work they do and are highly educated and committed people. Yes, they have a HUGE bureacracy to struggle against, but that doesn't mean that they themselves don't care about the plight of children, HIV/AIDS, etc....Many of the people employed by the UN are Ph.D's or at least MA's - should they not get paid accordingly?
Yes, the UN can be highly ineffective at times, and needs a massive reform - but it is what we have right now and in these times of globalization, International Organization are MORE relevant, not less.
And while I do believe in international adoption (obviously), no one can argue that the best case scenario is for a child to be raised by his/her biological parents in healthy environment with plenty of opportunities. A world in which IA's are not necessary would be wonderful...and this is despite the fact that I sit and wait for our 2nd referral from Africa....
The UN IS a political institution, so yes it does have other agendas - and part of that agenda is to stay relevant and functional - but if we look at who controls the UN (ie: Security Council) we will find that the UN's agenda often matches those who are in control - so don't blame the product, blame the powers which be, and just a reminder those powers are: US (partly to blame for lack of intervention in Rwanda, etc) , China (partly to blame for ongoing crisis in Darfur), Russia, et al...
Ok - go ahead - I love a good debate so go crazy....:D
The fact that the UN is "what we have right now" is part of my point. As long as it's there, nothing else will replace it, and it needs replacing. It's corrupt, ineffective and wasteful at best, downright dangerous and immoral at worst. Until there are many more critics dissing the organization day in and day out, nothing at all will happen, and I'm not one bit hopeful that even global criticism could change the organization now.
The 2.3 bill bill the US owes will vanish overnight if it ever is paid, and the world will be not one bit better for it.
I live in a developing nation and know first-hand exactly how the UN functions 'in the field" ... even low-level employees making huge salaries with benefits that make the local's eyes boggle, the PhDs with more than generous pay packets AND the perfect opportunity to SELL much of their work back to the UN, and so on and so on.
Part of the function of the UN...what the countries pay the money for... is to take the flack for tragedies like Rwanda. Blaming the powers that make up the organization just lets the organization off the hook.
I can't even think about Darfur and the UN. My head explodes every time I do. (Messy!)
One item I found interesting the other day...
the UN is now advocating the use of DDT in Africa for malaria prevention. This is after 30 years of them working on the problem... WHO and such. Thirty years and millions of dollars later and they haven't come up with anything, so it's back to poison square one.
Typical. Just typical.
By the way, I see you're adopting from SA. Cool. I live very near there...well, near in Indian Ocean terms--anything withing a 6 hour flight! ... and know many folks there.
I would be very interested to hear about your process, as I understand it is not a simple program to negotiate.
Been nice debating with you...
We aren't done yet, are we? :D
One thing I disagree with is that "Blaming the powers that make up the organization just lets the organization off the hook." - well, there is no organization without the powers that make it up, and that is why no one is ever held accountable, because no one really knows who to blame...I have a few suggestions....
Also "The 2.3 bill bill the US owes will vanish overnight if it ever is paid, and the world will be not one bit better for it." - don't agree with this either, as programs and research can't be implemented without that is being horded in a few rich nations of the world. You can't have your cake and eat it to - be a member of the Security Council with a hugely influential veto vote, but not pay dues because the UN is ineffective...
But I do totally agree that the UN as it stands is ineffective and at times corrupt, but I don't think throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath water will solve things either. What about implementing accountability, fairness, equity and moving headquarters out of the US and Geneva and into the South - many things that could be done without scrapping the whole system...
Anyways - where are you living right now? Yes, this is our second adoption from South Africa, and things are slow, slow, slow....government is dragging its heels because it has the legislature, just not the political will to get things moving. Where are you adopting from?
Oh! Please, blame the countries, too, but don't let that take away from blaming the UN! It's an equal opportunity shame game. And who's to be held accountable? The whole bunch, of course. But no one will step up and take it, will they? So, then what?
As far as the money goes, they burn through billions so fast that it hardly leaves a mark. That said, the US should edited or get off the pot, though, certainly. In no way do I hold America above or beyond reproach or responsibility...surely more part of the problem than part of any solution.
I live in Seychelles, just a bit north and east of SA, and we have two kids adopted from Cambodia. Sam will be 4 in November, and Cj is 17 months. Both came home at 13 weeks.
We looked at adopting from SA, but couldn't figure a way to do it from here. Just kept running up against brick walls at every turn. I'm very impressed that you've managed to figure it out ... twice.
:grr: Sandra, I agree with you 100%. I will address only the Guatemala issue. UNICEF is full of FLUFF with out substance. They have a position with the means or method to implement this political agenda. Casa Alianza has bashed all adoptions from Guatemala, calling them all corrept and unethical. And what about Casa Alanza's former director Bruce Harris who has lied and himself fired for an inappropriate relationship with a resident of Casa Alanza (people in glass houses shall not throw stones!)If you refer to families without borders and guatadopt there is a fine disucssion of this. Its fine to be a college professor and think great ideas and theory but one must implement these ideas and there is NO SYSTEM in Guatemala. I think about 2 years ago I looked up the buget and salaries and thought, well I should have it so good. THe same people will state that the attorneys in Guatemala are making too much money on the adoptions and the state needs to run it. The KarynB stated that UNICEF hires professionals and they deserve the salary they make, don't the attorneys deserve their salaries. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. The State! Look at the way they run PGN and other programs. Infant mortality and death from child birth is higher than ever. If I give to an organization, I want to know where the money is going and I want it to be used to provide medical care, job training, provide school. I think most people give to support just that and not political BS. Even the PResident of the United States has questioned the United Nations and the money. Why shouldn't we. If you want to implement change part of the process is developing the plan and UNICEF is all about preaching and not about planning.
They are wrong here!
Wow. I am going to express a minority opion here. I would like to start out by saying that I support most of the goals expressed by the UN. However, because the UN is powerless, its goals are irrelevant.
One of its goals is to eliminate poverty. Most of us know that the reason that children are being relinquished by their mothers in Guatemala is because the mothers are too poor to feed their children. This is unjust, but it is a reality. Ultimately, it would be better to help support the economy of Guatemala grow, and work to end the terrible discrimination which exists against the Mayan people. The social inequities within Guatemala are beyond anything that most of us can comprehend.
This said, the poverty is a reality that exists. Most of the children that we adopt would have ended up on the streets picking garbage in search of food at a very young age, if they had lived that long. Would it be better to end the unjust social structures that push so many children to the streets, ripping apart families, and destroying the fabric of the ancient Mayan culture? Absolutely. Is that going to happen in our lifetimes? Probably not. Is it going to happen in the childhood of the children that are born this year. Absolutely not. Is it better to offer loving homes to these children who are relinquished by their mothers? Absolutely. Is adoption a good long term solution to the social and economic problems within Guatemala? No.
Is adoption a good solution for the child whose mother is probably pregnant now, and who will some time in the next few months relinquish this child? This child, who is probably yet unborn, and who will appear to me in the coming months as a picture in a referral? This child who will live in my home, learn to swim and snorkel, take dance and music and art classes. This child who will get an amazing education, travel the world, eat healthy foods in ample supply? Or would it be better to leave this child with her birth mother, who would love her, feed her when she could, and send her to the streets when she couldn't? I believe, that in these terrible circumstances, adoption of a child who is willingly relinquished is the best short term solution. But not the best long term solution.
It is an unjust system. The UN is pointing out the injustice. Will the UN bring justice to the world? I suspect not. But do I blame them for their mission. Absolutely not.
Wow. I'm feeling underinformed; not a great feeling for a history teacher.
I plan to read the book Families without Borders.
I have always supported the ideals behind the formation of a United Nations. Those who know their history and know something about the world prior to the early 1950's may possibly join me in agreeing that some sort of global organization is NECESSARY to ensure stability. As far as the UN's abilities, capacities, and successes are concerned there are many variables. I think it's not realistic to blame the entire UN for current global strife.
Back to Whitmere family's original question. Why would UNICEF be against IA as a short term solution while the longer term issues of poverty are addressed? They can't really believe that halting adoptions could actually HELP situations of poverty as a short term goal, could they??????? That does not make sense to me.
Here is UNICEF's offical position on IA. My posts concerning UNICEF in Guatemala are negative. I do wish to say that not everything UNICEF does is negative and that they have done a lot of good when they deal with the issues that most people wish to fund, re fammine relief, job training, medical care ect..
My comments are directly related to the situation in Guatemala and are not meant to be a disucssion of what UNICEF may or may not do in other countries.
"UNICEF's position on Inter-country adoption
The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which guides UNICEF’s work, clearly states that every child has the right to know and be cared for by his or her own parents, whenever possible. Recognising this, and the value and importance of families in children’s lives, UNICEF believes that families needing support to care for their children should receive it, and that alternative means of caring for a child should only be considered when, despite this assistance, a child’s family is unavailable, unable or unwilling to care for him or her.
For children who cannot be raised by their own families, an appropriate alternative family environment should be sought in preference to institutional care, which should be used only as a last resort and as a temporary measure. Inter-country adoption is one of a range of care options which may be open to children, and for individual children who cannot be placed in a permanent family setting in their countries of origin, it may indeed be the best solution. In each case, the best interests of the individual child must be the guiding principle in making a decision regarding adoption.
Over the past 30 years, the number of families from wealthy countries wanting to adopt children from other countries has grown substantially. At the same time, lack of regulation and oversight, particularly in the countries of origin, coupled with the potential for financial gain, has spurred the growth of an industry around adoption, where profit, rather than the best interests of children, takes centre stage. Abuses include the sale and abduction of children, coercion of parents, and bribery, as well as trafficking to individuals whose intentions are to exploit rather than care for children.
Many countries around the world have recognised these risks, and have ratified the Hague Convention on Inter-Country Adoption. UNICEF strongly supports this international legislation, which is designed to put into action the principles regarding inter-country adoption which are contained in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. These include ensuring that adoption is authorised only by competent authorities, that inter-country adoption enjoys the same safeguards and standards which apply in national adoptions, and that inter-country adoption does not result in improper financial gain for those involved in it. These provisions are meant first and foremost to protect children, but also have the positive effect of providing assurance to prospective adoptive parents that their child has not been the subject of illegal and detrimental practices.
The case of children separated from their parents and communities during war or natural disasters merits special mention. It cannot be assumed that such children have neither living parents nor relatives. Even if both their parents are dead, the chances of finding living relatives, and a community or home to return to after the conflict subsides, continues to exist. Thus, such children should not be considered for inter-country adoption, and family tracing should be the priority. This position is shared by UNICEF, UNHCR, the International Confederation of the Red Cross, and international NGOs such as the Save the Children Alliance. "
I would also like to say that I hate any type of illegal activity that harms all members of the adoption community and the child. I believe any agency, attorney or facilitator found to take part in such action should be banned.
Well, after reading that statement, I have to say I agree 100% with UNICEF's position. I believe that the principles behind the Hague (not necessarily how it has been implemented) seem just to me. Removing the profit motive from IA seems to be the only way to ensure that exploitation is not rampant.
Of course, this is coming from someone on the verge of calling off our quest to adopt because I am so troubled by the ethical implications of Guatemalan adoption.
I just wanted to add a side comment to the poster who brought up the subject of DDT. DDT, when sprayed on the walls of houses/huts, etc. has been proven to be highly effective in reducing the threat of malaria without the distrastrous side affects to humans.
This is a very good thing - inexpensive, safe when done properly, and effective. So sometimes they do things that are right and good.
Yes, DDT used indoors is a safe, cheap and effective way to fight malarial mosquitos. That's been common knowledge for a very long time. The UN didn't figure this out. They have, however, recently decided to pass the info around a bit. Whoopie.
Thirty years and millions of dollars later.
If that's not a classic example of "day late, dollar short" in giant neon letters with full orchestral accompaniment and sprinkles on top, I don't know what is.
Periwinkle, you're not alone. I had a meltdown this summer awaiting my I-171h regarding what I consider some unethical practices. But in the end, we stuck with it for many of the reasons others are still here. I think there are a bunch of us, maybe a silent minority, that feel uneasy.
But why must political organizations jump to such extremes? It seems to me that the wisest people I have known don't jump into 10 feet of water before knowing how to swim.
I wish people would just work hard toward slow improvements and changes rather than adopting blanket statements one way or another.
From what I gather there are corrupt people on both sides who need to be stopped; there is too much money changing hands and not that much seems to benefit the thousands of babies in orphanages in Guatemala!
It seems to me that abandonment is a tricky system in Guatemala, and that is why many kids sit in orphanages, is that correct? That appears to be part of the problem, isn't it?
Hopefully both the U.S. and Guatemala can work toward a better system since many wish it so. I remain hopeful.
I can understand your concern about ethical adoptions. But if every parent, potential adoptive parent does not work with or support those agencies that practice unethical adoptions then they would be put out of business. Its the rotten apple. IN a perfect world children would only be born to parents that would be perfect parents and every child would have health, food safety and not worry but its not perfect.
I think that every a-parent wants an ethical adoption and wants to know that thier adoption was done legally and ethically. As parents we want our children to if at all possible stay in their country of birth. Many times it is not possible in Guatemala due to the economic situation.
Researching your agency, attorney and homestudy agency to seek out the organizations that do operate in a humane and ethical manner. There are many that do.
My final statement on UNICEF. They have done good. They have provided health care, shelter, job training and when they do this, they do a great job. Its when they choice to preach to others about social programs without a means to implement this. You don't think the money held out to Senora Berger is a bribe??? You bet and she and her husband's administration would love to be in with UNICEF. When I give money and assistance to Guatemala, I know that it goes to a program for job training for women and health care for children. I don't want it to go to layers of administration and promoting of a political agendga.
I refer you all to guatadopt and families without borders for an outline of our objection to UNICEF.
Mary (PEACE)