Sunday, January 20, 2008

Dateline - To Catch a Baby Broker...

Michael writing...

Tonight we got home from dropping my car at the garage (40 miles from the house because he's "our" mechanic) and found the Dateline NBC was about to start, and the episode was about corruption in international adoption.

To be up front and clear, this was an hour program focusing on corruption in Guatemala, specifically with one individual who is a coordinator for American agencies looking to match with babies there. The allegations with this guy included promising babies that were already being adopted by other families, sending records claiming prospective babies were healthy when they were malnourished and had other medical issues, and trying to broker babies that had been kidnapped from rural parts of the country, all of this just to make a profit,

A reporter from Dateline went to Guatemala City and posed as the president of a new agency looking to do business in Guatemala. They met with the guy that had so many complaints that tee U.S. Embassy had BANNED him from being involved with US adoptions. He is still working on many cases and claims to have helped place 167 babies in 2006.

When the investigators from Dateline identified themselves, he called them liars. He also said that he was no longer banned by the Embassy and that the ban had been because of a verbal argument he had with one individual there.

Hearing these stories can't help but make me think about our adoption story.

We have heard in the past week that the director of the Georgia office of our agency, Chinese Children Adoption International has stepped down to pursue other avenues. It's a reasonable expectation when you consider the gloom that hangs over the process we are committed to.

For Dick to quit makes good business sense. CCAI is an adoption agency centered on one specific niche, adoptions from China. Business is stalling, and there is no immediate hope for a change in direction. Why would anyone come to China now, considering how much harder it is to get approved than it was 5 years ago and the wait to get your child is still increasing at exponential rates. I will go this far. Chinese adoption, though having a longer livelihood than the Furby, has become a Furby. It was a fad that exploded in demand, even getting to the point of being the number one most desired item in its realm (toys/international adoptions) and now, well, the interest is going and the business is drying up.

A lot of people are saying they hope and even expect that after the Olympics this summer, the rate of referrals will increase. No one can justify this as anything other than blind hope. If anyone out there can give a factual explanation as to why things would speed up post-Olympics I'd love to here it, but from what I've been told, the numbers have been pretty consistent for the past few years, an average of 12 batches per year and an average of days per batch.

I can still only see a lot of money already invested and a wait that has little hope of being less than another 4 years.


Janet said...

ugh. What is WRONG with people to treat babies and children as if they are nothing but a meal ticket? These are PEOPLE, precious little beings created in the image of God. Still, I am glad there are programs which expose these creeps.

Briana's Mom said...

That is scary stuff. China may be a very long wait, but at least there is a organized system in place. No corruption that I have heard of.

I do hope things speed up - somehow...

Kelley said...

If there is a "speed up" of some sort, it most likely won't meet our hopes. The only thing I keep thinking is that time is going to keep going by...and eventually we'll get to the front of the line. Hang in there!

Kate said...

Wow. I really wish I'd seen Dateline last night. Thanks for the insight.

Praying that all countries strive for ethical adoptions!

Trixie said...

I was shocked to see Dick leaving (without a big farewell) but understood completely. He has a wonderful resume and will be going back to his former employer - who all but begged him to return.

I wonder how many other well qualified staff will leave do to a lack of a challenge in the current position, stalled salaries/lack of advancement, and agency downsizing?

We are finalizing our domestic adoption next week at the office and will miss Dick. He was such a HUGE part of this adoption and it won't be the same without him.

We also feel a bit a drift regarding the never-ending-China-adoption and who will be our "guides" when and if our time ever arrives? Seems crazy to think that the staff who started with us will still be there when we finally travel. SIGH.

Don and Be said...

I've heard the further slow down theory with the Olympics as well. I wonder where they're going to put the children who are born and abandoned during that period of time? Is there enough space in the orphanages & foster homes?