Posted by: ourwildride | August 16, 2007

UNICEF Position

There is an ideological battle that has been underway for some time concerning international adoption. One side (with the major supporters of the UN and UNICEF) says that every effort should be exhausted to keep a family unit together. If a child is truly ‘orphaned’, in that no biological family remains for that child, every effort should be exhausted to keep that child in their country of origin. International adoption should only be considered as a last resort. On an intellectual level I agree with their position.

You can read their full statement here:

It is in the practical implementation of their position that things begin to break down for me. Because on a practical level, what exactly is a 4 month old, or 2 year old, or 5 year old supposed to do to survive (we won’t even suggest thrive) while ‘the system’ determines their fate? Is it really better for a child to be raised in an orphanage environment while ‘waiting’ for a non-existent family to materialize from within their country to adopt them?  Also interesting in the UNICEF position is the fact that UNICEF does not support the policy of orphanages. I can’t say that I support the policy of orphanages either. It seems intuitive to me that orphaned or abandoned children would do better in ‘foster care’ types of environments. However, what happens to the children caught in the middle while ‘policy’ is created/changed? This is obviously a very complex issue.   

UNICEF argues that over the past 30 years demand for children in wealthy nations has spawned an adoption industry that is focused on profit and not on the best interest of individual children.  Enter the Hague convention.  More on that to come… 



  1. I definitely agree with Unicef that a child should be adopted internationally only after those criteria are met. Foster care homes would be better for the children while they await adoption, but in many countries this just isn’t economically realistic. There was an interesting discussion on this topic over at Third Mom blog. She is an amazing mom and writer. Check her out!


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