Nepali Times
Looking for a home



The Nepal Government suspended inter-country adoption in 2007 following evidence that Nepali 'orphanages' were selling children for thousands of dollars to foreign parents. Nepal then drafted new Terms and Conditions on adoption and once again opened shop for potential adoptive parents. Although the new policies were an improvement, they were still full of loopholes and did not prioritise the best interests of the child.

In April 2009, Nepal signed the 1993 Hague Inter-country Adoption Convention. A mission representing the Convention visited Nepal, concluded the 2008 Terms and Conditions were not adequate, and called for temporary suspension of inter-country adoptions from Nepal.

Forty-four Nepali orphanages have been accredited by the government to recommend children for adoption. The Investigation Monitoring and Recommendation Committee established by the Terms and Conditions receives files from orphanages. Its role is to verify the authenticity of each child's file, following which it can recommend the child to the Family Board, which matches the child with adoptive parents.

The committee should be independent, but in Nepal includes representatives from orphanages - a blatant conflict of interest.

In addition, it is bureaucrats, not social workers, who match children with adoptive parents. Investigations focus on whether the paperwork is genuine or not, whereas they should determine if the child has parents, and if local solutions can be found. In many cases the biological parents go from one place to another looking for their children, who may have already been adopted in Kathmandu by foreign parents.

One of the key reasons Nepal suspended inter-country adoption back in 2007 was because large amounts of money (sometimes up to US$20,000) were being paid by adoptive parents to facilitators and orphanages in Nepal. Some progress has been made in regulation, but financial gain is still at the heart of most inter-country adoption abuses.

Now, once a child is officially approved for adoption, foreign adoptive parents pay $5,000 to the orphanage, regardless of the time the child has stayed there, and another $3,000 to the Nepal Government. In addition, 79 international agencies pay $10,000 per year to be accredited by the Nepal Government, regardless of whether or not referrals are made. The authorities have not checked if these foreign adoption agencies are registered in their own countries according to the Hague criteria. This means foreign agencies that have been refused accreditation, are under investigation or have been cited for violations in their own countries are allowed to operate in Nepal.

A fund was established to oversee the money received from these foreign agencies and a management committee has been established under the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare. The chairperson of the Child NGO Federation-Nepal, who basically represents Nepali orphanages, is a member secretary of this committee. But Bal Mandir and the Central Child Welfare Board are not represented.

It is clear the 2008 Terms and Conditions have failed. The German and Swedish embassies have stopped allowing adoptions under these rules. If Nepal is serious about ratifying the Hague Convention, it needs to start working on firm laws on national and international adoption. A temporary suspension will allow the government time to do so, as was done successfully in Guatemala and Cambodia. However, this suspension must not affect those adoptive parents who have been matched already.

Children without parents do not belong to orphanages. If they do not have anyone in their families they can live with it is the State's responsibility to assign appropriate guardians. There is a growing number of Nepali parents who want to adopt and can give children safe homes. Let us seriously develop foster families and in-country adoption. Only where this is not possible should we send a child abroad permanently.

Baby bajar On sale - FROM ISSUE #339 (09 MARCH 2007 - 15 MARCH 2007)
'Floodgates closed', - FROM ISSUE #387 (15 FEB 2008 - 21 FEB 2008)
'Abandoned,' - FROM ISSUE #417 (12 SEPT 2008 - 18 SEPT 2008)
Cinderella Children - FROM ISSUE #490 (19 FEB 2010 - 25 FEB 2010)

1. Justine
There are always more orphans than parents willing to adopt, even if one includes international adoption. How would a suspension turn out for the children currently in Nepalese orphanages? They will remain there for an indefinite time, and suffer irreparable psychological damage. Continue international adoptions, while in-country adoptions and foster adoptions develop, that is in the best interest of the children living in orphanages now. If there were enough Nepalese foster homes or adoptive parents, those children would not be in orphanages. Keep working for the future! A stop would be a disaster for the Nepalese orphans.

2. Save Child First
I know you will not publish this comment.
Nepalese Journalists should send to Mental Hospital

After reading all the article printed in the several Episodes, one thing came in my mind that; all Nepalese Journalists should send to Mental hospital immediately, because they are well paid my those mafias who don

3. Amy
I fail to see how Cambodia or Guatemala could be used as examples of how a government has successfully implemented adoption reform through a temporary suspension.  Both of these countries remain closed and the suspensions could hardly be seen as temporary given that Cambodia closed in 2001 and Guatemala closed in 2007.  According to JCICS, Guatemala has made little progress in implementing a process for international adoption that is Hague compliant, nor have they made much progress in establishing programs for domestic adoption.

4. Margit
Having adopted from Nepal and supporting a childrens' home there, I feel very, very sad to hear of the most recent developments. Who will suffer most from this decision - the children, right !?! Granted the ideal for any child is to grow up in a family. If there are problems and discrepancies why not just deal directly with the orphanages in question???  Honestly, I think there are definitely more orphans in Nepal than local people willing to adopt.
When will we learn to accept the fact that children are our future!!!

5. Connie
Most international adoptions certainly work out for everyone involved, but the money involved has lead to some cases of child trafficking. It would be too sad for people like the above commenter who only wants to help a child in need if they ended up with a child who had an adequate home before, with loving parents, but whose family did not understand the terms of, or did not consent to the adoption. It's too cruel to have two sets of parents on opposite sides of the world both loving and wanting their child to be with them. With this in mind, can't we at least understand the rationale behind this? Of course children are precious and they are our future, but we also have to consider the risk of ripping a developing child out of her mother's arms.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)