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Woman’s torment trying to adopt orphan

As campaigners plan a march to highlight the ‘dysfunctional’ international adoption system,’ one woman tells of the corruption, legal barriers and heartache she met in her bid to adopt an orphan.

Motherhood didn’t come easily to Victoria*. Determined to adopt from abroad legally, Victoria faced several upsetting defeats that brought her close to giving up.

Supported by her partner, she first travelled to Nepal because it was, at the time, the only country in Asia that catered for the single parent private adoption she wanted.

“But it was very corrupt: with $6,500 in your wallet you could buy any child you wanted,” she said. “So, after days and nights trying to find honest people to help, and after so many bad stories, I decided forgot it, ” she told the Independent.

Soon after, Canada and most of Europe and Canada put a stop to their international adoption agreements with the south Asian amid allegations of corruption and child trafficking.

So Victoria then decided to try her luck in Vietnam. “But it was the same,” she said. “In the end everybody wanted to take something from you. I decided to renounce it. I said to myself: if the only way to become a mother is to pay a huge amount of money then I don’t want it.”

Opinions on whether adopting from abroad benefits the child in the long-term are polarised. The US government has put tough restrictions on inter-country adoptions from both Vietnam and Nepal. The moves were designed to prevent kidnapping and abuse within orphanages. Bur campaigners, who are planning a march in November to protest against the measures, argue that the new protocol has left children in squalid conditions with no medical care, and left families in a limbo without children for up to 3 years. 

“A safe, permanent, and loving family is every child’s most basic human right,” said Craig Juntunen from the Both Ends Burning Campaign to reform international adoption. “Today, a faulty adoption system and insufficient cooperation between governments is denying children of this right.”

“Today inter-country adoption is in free-fall decline and runs a very real risk of extinction without immediate intervention. The number of children in need of a family continues to escalate, and the number of families that want to adopt grows each year.”

After three failed attempts at adoption, Victoria finally took home a little girl from Ethiopia. The country had just limited international adoption by 90 per cent in an effort to crackdown on corruption. 

*Not her real name