Personal Message from Lynelle

To clarify, for those who are reading the misinformation spread about me personally and ICAV’s position since June this year, with regards to a stance on UNCRC and Hague Convention on ICA:-

As stated to the entity spreading the misinformation, as the Founder of ICAV, I have always supported the UNCRC and it’s position with regards to intercountry adoption. I have tried to openly educate adoptees and the adopted community about it. I have continually encouraged people to understand the Hague Convention and it’s pitfalls in intercountry adoption. I have pointed out for US based intercountry adoptees, it’s harder to fight for what the UNCRC represents because their adopted country hasn’t even been a signatory and therefore not legally bound – so their first and foremost guidance on intercountry adoption is the Hague Convention on ICA. Of course, it would be awesome if the US were ever to become a signatory to UNCRC and why this isn’t the case? I’m sure is another essay in itself and I am no expert on that!

Personally, I believe the Hague & UNCRC fails to protect us intercountry adoptees for fundamental key reasons:

1. We are never checked up on (protected) for more than the minimum timeframe (sometimes specified by our birth country) once the adoption transaction occurs. The post placement report is provided by the adoptive parents but no followup is ever done by the adoptee themselves at an age where they can give a true account at a mature age. Intercountry adoption cannot be argued to be a child protection measure as compared to foster care, permanent care or any other alternative form of care where the child is still within the State’s control and care. No receiving country even gathers statistics on how our adoptions turn out.

2. We have NO rights – legally or economically – for any representation or help if our adoption turns out to be a failure (either from abusive families, deportation, lack of citizenship, falsification of papers, and being rehomed), or if we are lost or stolen for intercountry adoption. We are left to the whims of whichever country has taken us in, whether they be merciful or not. What message is given by the world’s largest receiving country who actively allows the deportation of adoptees back and treats them as “less than” citizens. Not to mention birth countries who receive the deported adoptee back AND continues to send more of it’s children after this occurs.The Hague and UNCRC both remain toothless tigers for there exists no entity or process to investigate any questionable actions by signatories.

3. Money is still unregulated and involved in our adoptions. Personally, I believe most intercountry adoptions as they are conducted today, cannot be said to be ethical while money is still involved and uncapped. While money is the driving force behind most baby scammers, agencies or lawyers involved in both countries, one cannot guarantee a market will not follow. Too much evidence exists showing that families in our birth countries are tricked or coerced to relinquish, or that the birth country fails to provide social welfare to support single mothers/families who are struggling or have conceived a child with a disability.

I also don’t believe “special needs” intercountry adoption is any more ethical than non-special needs children – because we should be encouraging our sending countries to develop the supports necessary to help the less abled child grow up in their own country. Just because one is born with “additional needs” doesn’t mean it is a ticket to being “shipped out” and stripped of one’s rights to origin and family. Material well being is only one factor in life and definitely 1st worlds can offer more to a special needs child than less developed countries. Not sure why the 1st world economies are still adopting their children out via intercountry adoption then?! But why couldn’t this help be in the form of flying the child out and providing the medical services necessary but without having to “adopt” the child. Keep the child with their family of origin, assist them with medical and special needs; help their societies understand that additional needs people can have just as much to offer society as any abled bodied person. I personally have a special needs son myself and I would hate to consider him being intercountry adopted out just because he was born with this extra need because I didn’t have the means or services to support him or us as a family!

I don’t believe immediately obliterating all types and forms of adoption (domestic and intercountry) is the answer either. Simple adoption as practiced in France remains a form of adoption that allows a child to retain their identity. Clearly every country in the world struggles with what to do with their most vulnerable children and families! If there was one simple answer other than adoption, foster care, and alternative care models, countries would all be doing it by now. One cannot deny that some children now adults, wished for and are glad to be given a safer more permanent family to support them. We cannot deny that some biological families of intercountry adoptees might still choose intercountry adoption even if presented with other choices. We cannot fix the underlying belief systems in other cultures overnight that creates the shame for why some biological parents choose to give up their children. Perhaps we’ve gotten to this state of being because of the breakdown in families, villages and communities. Our society remains so fragmented and isolated as individuals. There is little place to turn for people who are struggling to exist.

I aim for respectful discussion from stakeholders in all arenas on the topic. I especially aim to help us hear of the real impacts of adoption from  adoptive families, adoptees and biological families, hoping that current adoption as practised today may one day be removed and replaced with something better. Perhaps we also need to change the word so the old associations with the pitfalls of adoption as it has been practiced domestically and internationally are removed? Whatever the answer may be, it needs to be one where children first and foremost have a right to be with their original family; secondly, where if for complex reasons a child has to be removed from their family, then we are empowering birth countries to develop as many welfare and social support systems as possible to keep children in their home countries with kin; and as worse case scenario, if we have to be adopted to another country or within our country, that any form of giving us to another family that’s not kin, allows us to retain our birth identity if we wish, and doesn’t annul our identities without our consent.

With future generations of adoptees growing up and speaking out and as we start to hear the experiences of our biological families, these inputs might change again how we think of intercountry adoption. As it is, one cannot ignore the huge pitfalls of intercountry adoption. Turning a blind eye is not going to fix the problems. Loudly proclaiming all adoption should be eliminated won’t fix the fundamental underlying complex issues either. Somewhere in the middle is where I search for the answers because I don’t proclaim to have THE answer to such complex problems.

I believe we need to critically look at what we’ve done in the past 60+ years of modern intercountry adoption and at least learn the lessons offered. This is why I choose to build relationships and work with various organisations (government and non government) around the world.

So, in case you have questions as to what my personal position is, or what ICAV is about, please feel free to message me. I like to be open and transparent and I know that some want to do damage to the work and reputation of ICAV, which has been around now for almost 20 years. I stand true to who I am and what I do. I  try and make it better somehow for other intercountry adoptees who are already adopted and I speak out against how adoption is currently practiced, to prevent the same historical problems being perpetuated for future vulnerable children who need care.

Note: I also believe adoptees and adoptee groups are entitled to their own opinions. If they differ to mine, I have no issue with this. Adoption is such a personal experience and everyone has their own unique journey.

5 Replies to “Personal Message from Lynelle”

  1. Mirah Riben – Author of "shedding light on...The Dark Side of Adoption" (1988) and "The Stork Market: America's Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry" (2007).
    familyadvocate says:

    First, I need to say that I have not been privy to prior discussion that this article/post refers to and is replying to.

    Secondly, I have to admit to not being an expert on the pros and cons of The Hague. I will say that the US has signed but is not ratified the UNCRC and at this point in time it certainly does not seem likely and agree that is a major issue and there are several reasons speculated.

    But as it stands now, when children are adopted into – or within – the US there is no follow-up. This was a point of contention for Russia for good reasons and they had long threatened to terminate adoptions to the US unless we agreed to follow-ups. I addressed this issue on an RT interview, following one of the major headline-making “incident” involving a Russian-US adopted child. The fact is that current US law creates an ‘as if born to” status for children once an adoption is finalized. There thus cannot be any government interference of follow-up. This is true of both domestic and IA in the US. Adopted children are totally forgotten once the transaction is completed.

    I agree with everything Lynelle states with one fairly major exception:

    “I don’t believe obliterating all types and forms of adoption (domestic and intercountry) is the answer either.”

    Adoption is currently a business transaction ruled by money. Children are sought-after commodities that are being trafficked to meet a demand. Their families of origins are considered and treated as excess baggage or the wrapping the gift comes in to be discarded. They are fair game for any and all forms of deceit and exploitation including kidnapping to obtain the brass ring.

    Money and profit commodifies. Money and profit exploits. Money and profit corrupts. Money and profit do not care one iota about the best interest of the children being sent hither and yon. Yes, the US imports and exports children as proof of this lack of caring for their welfare!

    Can we change/reverse/reform/control this evil financial empire that is adoption?

    The United States has an ethos of capitalism and is moving more and more in the direction of no-holds-barred Corporatocracy with less and less government control on all businesses. And we all know, that as goes the US so follows Western Europe and other allies. We are headed in a very dangerous direction in terms of our environment, education, military action, weapon and ammunition sales and adoption is just one tiny piece of this move in a very moneyed controlled world.

    The only way out of this quagmire, in my opinion, is to end all fee-paid adoptions and provide alternative care for children in need with PLG – permanent legal guardianship. PLG provides caretakers everything they need to make health and educational decisions for the children in their care without treating children as objects, possessions that are bought and their rights to their own identity discarded.

    Will this ever happen? Can it? Not in the direction we are headed here in the US. We don’t even have any unified federal oversight over interstate adoptions, let alone international. We have a patchwork of state laws that attorneys and adoption practitioners know how to manipulate for their greedy goals. We do not even have ethical GUIDELINES, let alone a set of basic rules for who can arrange adoptions and how. We allow attorneys who are paid by adopters to “represent” relinquishing parents – a direct conflict of interest in any other transaction, let alone the transfer of permanent parental rights of a third-party human being!

    Adoption as it currently exists begins with the eradication of a human being’s basic truth – his right to his own identity as protected under the UNCRC. So, no, the atrocity and dehumanization that is adoption cannot be allowed to continue. There are safer more humane ways to care for children in need that do not destroy their rights.

    Further, we must work harder to redirect those who believe they are doing “God’s work” and “saving” or “rescuing” so-called “orphans.” We must get these well-intentioned do-gooders to put their time, money, and energy into helping families not taking t…See More

    We must circulate articles such this one and get paps to understand that adoption too often supports corruption and child trafficking:…/adoption-uganda-opinion…/index.html

    Mirah Riben

    1. Thank you Mirah! I have edited things to clarify a bit better what I intended .. I think our perspectives are not that dissimilar? I find it always interesting to get feedback because it helps me clarify and communicate more effectively. Such a complex area and many just don’t want to get that deeply involved .. I know 20 years ago I really avoided speaking out politically on this topic. Adoption is a journey and that’s why I know my beliefs and views will continue to change the more people I speak to who are impacted and the more I come to understand the structures that not only uphold, but create the need in the first place to address the question of “what do we do for vulnerable children and families”? What is the best solution? Is there just ONE? I doubt it – and this is why adoption is criticised so much by adoptees because it pretends to be THE solution for all the complex issues that face the world with regards to vulnerable children and families.

  2. It is the orphanages in China that are splitting twins up, not US adoption agencies. I have worked in adoption for 18 years and can attest to that. Your point is well taken but it should be directed at the orphanages in China or the CCCWA. Agencies do not have a say in how children are registered in China for adoption.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply