My name is Janine Vance and I am one of the Vance Twins. When my sister and I were sent to the United States from South Korea in 1972, the pioneering adoption agency gave our adoptive parents a document called “Certificate of Orphanhood.” This piece of paper gave the impression that we were orphans. Because this document implied that we had no Korean family, we wore whole new identities without question and never thought to look for people who we were told did not exist. The idea of a Korean family did not enter our consciousness while we were young.
It was not until my sister and I were 32 years old that we learned that most children are not truly orphans but were merely giving the label of orphan in order to be processed overseas for intercountry adoption. What?!? We felt like we had been living a lie for more than three decades! This discovery was the catalyst that motivated me to investigate intercountry adoption and how exactly children are obtained by so-called “ethical” adoption agencies.
“Poverty is no reason to take children away. Poverty is NOT a disease and international adoptions are NOT the solution.” — Roelie Post, Former EU official
After a decade of listening to numerous accounts from global families of adoption-loss—families who have been unnecessarily separated for adoption (but dismissed and ignored because of the public’s love affair for adoption), we’ve met one woman who has truly fought for the proper implementation of children’s rights for the European Commission since 1990. The name of this hero of ours is Roelie Post, civil servant of the European Commission since 1983. She is someone, we—adopted people and parents of loss—can trust to truly protect children from being trafficked for intercountry adoption. We applaud Roelie’s work specifically for the stand she took in respect of Romania’s Child Protection.
Devastatingly, a ferocious adoption lobby made up of adoption agencies, lawyers, NGOs, adopters and their allies have given themselves the authority to decide the fate of vulnerable families worldwide. Adoption facilitators have ignored the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) a legal binding agreement that was originally created to protect the natural-born rights of children all over the world. Perfectly fine methods set forth within the UNCRC such as temporary care and guardianship care, sponsorship, step-parent adoption, kinship care have been ignored for too long – methods that would keep children with their families.
This “adoption lobby” has even built their own legal agreement—a modern day cemented and sanctioned freeway—that has taken precedence over the fate of children from other nations and people. These agenda—driven individuals have enforced their own ill-conceived belief system—their own definition of Child Protection and The Best Interest of Children (intercountry adoption) via the Hague Adoption Convention (HAC) onto innocent families who could have cared for themselves if given the chance. The victims and survivors of this system—trusting and naïve families who still live and grieve parent/child separations every single day—have no recourse to seek justice.
Adoption trafficking continues at an alarming rate and no one except for Roelie Post has been courageous enough to fight against the lobby. In fact, she has been followed, her home office was broken into and ransacked, a plastic gun was left on her doorstep and strange men gestured toward her as if drawing a gun! Despite being intimidated, she continues to fight for children’s rights. Roelie Post needs to be held at the highest regard and protected!
Today, foreigners can apply for a license, enter a nation and then expedite precious children overseas before allowing them to be cared for by extended family or the people of their birth community, culture, and country. Perfectly fine methods set forth within the UNCRC such as temporary care and guardianship care, sponsorship, step-parent adoption, kinship care have been ignored for too long. Huge amounts of money are crossing hands, children are sold at varying prices depending on the child’s race, and children are photo listed on western websites like little pups on online catalogs. How dehumanizing! No child – not even your own – is safe from being targeted and processed overseas.
Intercountry adoption has expanded its web now onto Africa. An Ethiopian child can cost more then $64,000 but to help an Ethiopian parent and child stay together as a family, an estimate of $15 per month. Today, these agencies are claiming to be advocates for family preservation which deceptively gives them a doorway opened to set up shop within foreign nations and provide “services” – services that could have easily gone directly to the citizens of that nation. Billions of dollars are crossing the hands of NGOs. Children are being unnecessarily moved across borders.
Today more than 200,000 Korean children have been sent to foreign families. And they are NOT living “cosmopolitan” lives like assumed by many Koreans. Rather, they live daily with losses, misunderstandings, feelings of doubt and abandonment by the very country that could have protected them—but didn’t. Intercountry Adoption only ADDS to the problems a family already has. Intercountry Adoption does not solve a family’s problems. The best preventative medicine is to counsel families by organizations who do not have a financial agenda. We all know that when history is ignored, it is bound to repeat itself.
For every “forever family” created by adoption another family is forever torn apart.
All of this can be stopped!
We need Roelie Post to continue to work within the European Commission on Children´s Rights and trafficking, so that she can continue to protect children’s rights like she has done successfully during the accession process of Romania into the EU and while working for ACT- Against Child Trafficking.
My sister and I applaud Roelie Post for having the courage to carry out her job properly. She is a child’s right expert and a hero to many of us. Being “saved orphans,” we understand and appreciate the challenges the European Commission had to fight in Romania for children’s rights against a determined force.
Roelie works with integrity and empathy. She is the only civil servant that families of adoption-loss trust to protect children. She has the knowledge and expertise. She must continue to work on children´s rights, so that families are protected and laws are kept-because children’s rights are Human Rights.
Visit Roelie Post’s website here.
Trace contributed a chapter in the Vance’s book ADOPTIONLAND