The New York Times Opinion Forum presents the views of David Smolin, child trafficking expert against Prof Elizabeth Bartholet, pro-adoption attorney, E.J. Graff, Dr. Jane Aronson, Cynthia Mabry, Diane Kunz, Center for Adoption Policy, Darron Smith U of Utah.
Smolin: "Adoption trafficking has continued because the adoption community has chosen to minimize the problems, rather than fix the system. Since you can’t fix what you will not admit is broken, there is a perverse tendency to repeat, over and over again, the same mistakes in intercountry adoption."
Bartholet: "For most unparented children — children with no prospect of living with birth parents — the best option by far is early placement in adoption, and for children in poor countries adoptive homes will generally exist only internationally....it is hypocritical to delay or shut down such adoption in the name of protecting children. The real risk of abuses occurs when unparented children are not placed for adoption. "
Mabry: "...the Haitian government should declare a moratorium on adoptions until it can ascertain which of the children actually are orphaned."
Graff: "Part of what’s misleading are the words “orphan” and “orphanage.” After the Aceh tsunami, Save the Children reports, 97.5 percent of “tsunami orphans” were placed in “orphanages” — child-caring institutions — by their families so they could get an education. They didn’t need new families; their living families needed micropayments to fund school fees, books, and uniforms."
Aronson: "any rush to expedite adoptions not already in process and without the appropriate papers in place could potentially lead to child trafficking, kidnapping (even inadvertently) and abuse.
Adoption is not necessarily the best road to take. First, we must remember that families have been separated, but not destroyed. Even if a child’s parents were killed in the quake, close relatives are often eager to find and take responsibility for the child."
Smith, co-editor of “Black and Mormon”: "My research has found that black and biracial children often struggle with their cultural identity growing up in a white-dominated context. But in most cases, children of color are not taught how to deal with issues of race and conflict that they are may encounter when raised in white communities."