I remember UNICEF from my childhood. The small UNICEF boxes a few of my friends carried from door-to-door, yelling “Trick or treat for UNICEF.” Their Halloween sacrifice of trading candy for change in their holiday themed boxes acted as a reminder of how blessed I was to enjoy a family, a home and 3 meals a day. I embraced that UNICEF; the one who cared for the world’s underfed children.
Since our international adoption journey, my view of UNICEF has been forever changed. Gone are the days of blessing reminders. What strikes me now is UNICEF’s all-out efforts to bring all international adoptions to an end. Click here to read an article in yesterday’s paper which illustrates why UNICEF is tempted to react so.
I don’t agree with stopping international adoptions. Isn’t that “throwing the orphan baby out with the bath water?” My question to UNICEF is this: Why not place your considerable weight behind trying to fix a broken system rather than trying to end it?
The Hague Adoption Convention (HAC) has already launched a good start towards this end. The HAC is an agreement between participating countries on best adoption practices, basically with two goals in mind: that the best interest of the children be considered in each international adoption, and the prevention of abduction, exploitation, sale or trafficking of children. Although still in its infancy, the Hague Adoption Convention agreement has already been ratified by 83 countries. UNICEF’s resources would be a valuable asset towards helping underdeveloped countries putting procedures in place that could ensure the ratification of the HAC, and put an end to the trafficking of children via adoption.
During my time in Ukraine, it became very clear to me, through direct examples, that what UNICEF claimed they believed in is totally different from what they actually did. One example: While in Ukraine, I had a conversation with a local business man. The man claimed he was told by a UNICEF representative that his company and his country could receive far more money from U.S. agencies, if their country of Ukraine would simply “discontinue international adoptions.” The man was asking for their confirmation of this. I was shocked speechless. This wasn’t the UNICEF we knew…or was it?
Many bloggers and reporters have written about UNICEF’s actions. A simple internet search tool will bring many opinions directly to your technological instrument of choice. Though I provided only one example, this post is based on what I observed and heard while living in another country, allegedly, coming from UNICEF representatives. Please, research for yourself. I have decided to hold my small change back for a while, until I feel totally secure in what UNICEF is REALLY all about.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject…