Sunday, February 25, 2007

Corruption Item 7: Hold Agencies Accountable

7) Encourage agencies to carefully vet and then hold their own foreign partners responsible for their actions.

--Demand accounting from agencies in terms of the practices of those with whom they partner. Agencies are paid to "vet" their overseas "partners" and orphanages. Orphanages, facilitators, lawyers, and operatives that routinely lie to adoptive parents and receiving country agencies ought to be held accountable for those lies (for example, seriously and purposefully under-aging older children is a chronic problem in some countries).

--Agencies ought to be using good judgment in terms of choosing their foreign partners. They should not be partnering with overseas partners who have been seriously or repeatedly implicated for child trafficking, paperwork falsification, or other adoption related crimes. They should certainly not be partnering with those that have been found guilty of such crimes. Hold agencies accountable for their actions and their partnerships. Don't accept weak arguments for the status quo when the status quo isn't good enough. Placing children is a serious responsibility that should be taken seriouslyif families and children are to be safeguarded from trafficking and fraud.

--An agency should not be giving weak excuses for lack of information about children. There are few countries where the kind of money being poured into foreign adoption can't buy decent and reliable medical evaluations or where AP's can't purchase reliable evaluations. If medical reports from an orphanage are routinely wrong, agencies need to hold their foreign partners responsible and demand accuracy as a condition an of ongoing professional relationship. Agencies are allowed to get away with too much in this regard.

--Agencies need to hold foreign partners responsible for the way inwhich children come into care at the orphanage. It is their business to know if orphanages use scouts and monetary incentives to procure children. And it is their responsibility to REFUSE to partner with foreign partners that employ these methods. If it is truly that HARDto find adoptable children in a given country, then AP's ought to bequestioning whether IA should really be being practiced there.

--Agencies need to hold foreign partners responsible in regard to the accuracy of relinquishment documents and the child's identity. Agencies need to make sure that the foreign partner understands that the papers that connect the child to his original parents will someday be valuable to the adoptee and that the orphanage/facilitator/lawyer has the responsibility to maintain truthful and accurate records to this end. This is simply in accord with basic human rights. No human being's identity should be scrambled. No human being's birth identity should be disrespected as so unimportant that it shouldn't bother to be preserved. Children ARE human beings not commodities.

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