Adoptions not always best option: Study

Kathmandu, August 29:

The best interests of the child, not profit, must be the prime consideration of all adoptions in Nepal, says a study on adoption released today by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Terre des homes (Tdh).

The study report ‘Adopting the rights of the child: a study on inter-country adoption and its influence on child protection in Nepal’ revealed that adoption in Nepal does not always take the best interests of the child into consideration. “Only four out of 100 adoptions are domestic adoptions. Many of the children put up for adoption are not orphaned in the true sense but are separated from their families, siblings,” the report stated, adding, “The standards of care, protection and services in many orphanages or children’s homes do not fully safeguard child rights.”

Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF Representative in Nepal, said, “An industry has grown around adoption

in which profit rather than the best interests of the child takes centrestage. Appropriate legal safeguards and a functioning alternative care to the parental one can prevent abuse and allow inter-country adoption to continue for those who need it.”

According to the study, there are around 15,000 children in orphanages or children’s homes, many of whose parents have died. However, a significant number of admissions in these homes are fraudulent, coercive and corrupt.

“The vast majority of children don’t need to be in adoption homes. We should try to reunite 80 per cent of the children in institutions with their families,” said Joseph Aguettant, Tdh Country Representative.