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'Children of the market' face US adoption nightmare

Published time: November 13, 2013 15:58

Reuters / Bogdan Cristel

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A lack of legal oversight allows American parents to get rid of kids adopted overseas with impunity. Roelie Post of the organization Against Child Trafficking told RT about how “the children of the market” remain invisible in the surveillance-obsessed US.

A Reuters investigative report revealed in September that a loose internet network had developed  in the US whereby dissatisfied parents used social networks to advertise and often pass off unwanted children adopted abroad with next to no government scrutiny. In the mostly lawless underground marketplace, the children are treated like livestock, with children’s protective services remaining mostly in the dark.

Post explains how commercial agencies have exploited the market in unwanted children.

RT: How come there is no government control over adopted children changing hands? Is it widespread?

Roelie Post: The issue is that in the country of adoption, when the children arrive in the US or in Europe, this is not considered a child protection measure. It is a private matter between the adoptive family and the child. And nobody is following up. So this is not an issue exclusively happening in the US, but also here in Europe. Once children are here, it’s a matter of adoptive family. If there any follow-up reports sent to the country of origin, in this case Russia, these reports are written by adoption agencies or adoptive parents, so it is not very independent or objective.

RT: And now we are talking about this sweeping online surveillance in the US. Why haven’t the adoption networks been tracked by officials?

RP: Because they are not monitoring. It’s only recently some media and journalists have been monitoring online Yahoo groups. And also our organization against child trafficking also looks at those issues. But it’s simply not the job of officials.

RT: Why do the majority of children advertised on those re-homing web-sites come from foreign countries then?

RP: Because the children from foreign countries are not under the normal child protection measures. If you adopt a child from US Foster Care, I can imagine the US child protection service is still keeping eye on that and people know where to turn to. Children from foreign countries come from this what we call “the child market”, it’s commercial agencies who are dealing with providing children to adoptive parents and there is absolutely no oversight at all. Therefore, if parents are faced with problems, they also don’t know where to turn to.

RT: Do you know if anything is being done to actually prevent this particular practice?

RP: At the moment, of course, all kind of ideas come up in the US about better supervision, about better training of adoptive parents but that will not really solve the issue. We have to understand that especially nowadays adoption concerns mostly all the children and what we call “special needs children” - those children go through enormous cultural shocks when they arrive abroad, so they are at a high, high risk.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.