The Orphan Not Adopted
By Bryan Caplan
The pattern of behavior from the US Department of State (DOS)
is to shut down adoption programs from countries that do not participate in the
Hague Convention for Inter-Country Adoption. Superficially, the DOS appears to
believe that rate of unethical adoptions out of countries that do not
participate in the Hague Convention is too high, and therefore moves to shut
down all adoptions out of those countries.
Apparently the fact that most orphans in the world reside in
non-Hague countries is lost on the DOS.
Under US law, the DOS is required to accept and review
adoptions originating from all countries. Further, they have yet to provide evidence
that the rate of unethical adoptions out of non-Hague countries is higher than
1%, much less “too” high. Instead, they throw around headline grabbing terms
like “child trafficking” and “fraud”, which gives them the political cover to
advance their agenda.
Nowhere in this debate do we hear from the State Department
is a discussion of what happens to the children who are left behind, who are
not adopted because the DOS has blocked all adoptions from that country.
Ethiopia has millions of orphans, living on the streets, alleyways, garbage
dumps, and even, for some of them, in orphanages. For the two thousand or so
that get a pass out of hell every year, why aren’t their voices being counted?
Note also for every orphanage bed that is vacated due to adoption, another
child gets off of the street.
Reasonable people can argue about our moral obligations to Drowning Children. But telling would-be rescuers “You have to wait until you prove you don’t have nefarious intentions” is clearly wrong. When someone tries to rescue a Drowning Child, anyone who interferes has blood on his hands.