The uncomfortable truth is that overseas adoptions will never be fraud-free Sculpture by Saskia Vanderstichele

29 November 2023

Yung Fierens was adopted from South Korea, adoption expert and chairman of the adoption interest group CAFE.

YUNG FIERENS 29 november 2023, 17:02

The lid has once again fallen off the adoption chair. Two years after an expert panel came to devastating conclusions about transnational adoption conditions, the establishment of a project group that had to bend over policy proposals, and even some of these proposed reforms came into existence, we are once again faced with an adoption scandal.

Research showed that several children from Ethiopia were not voluntarily given up by their parents but ended up in Flemish adoptive families through child trafficking. It concerns adoptions that took place between 1996 and 2017.

The Flemish Center for Adoption (VCA) now calls on all adopted people who have doubts about the legality of their adoption to contact us.

Days after this message, the story of the shady adoption of a Colombian boy who just came to our country last year appeared in Het Last Year.

This testimony shows that adoptions serve as test cases to check whether a country is reliable enough as an adoption channel. Vulnerable children are therefore collateral damage offered on the sacred altar of transnational adoption.

Only the biggest cynics would dare to solve these tragedies today as facts divers from a distant past or suggest that entangled procedures will ensure that the blatant trafficking of children inherent in transnational adoptions can never happen again.

The verified, uncomfortable truth is that overseas adoptions can never be fraud-free, no matter what cosmetic procedures may be thrown at. It's time to admit that too and stop exploiting the naivety and desperation of would-be adopters.

It was in 2021, when they rejected the adoption pause proposed by then Minister of Welfare Wouter Beke, naive to think that we would quickly rectify a system that has been facilitating child abduction and trafficking for 70 years.

After all, you can, as a wise friend urged me then, "don't manure the stable as long as the cows are still in it. ”

Stop the fusion dance of adoption services that go into "new, improved" organizations that with a new name and flash logo can take the pen through their evil past as if it never existed, to become engulfed in new malpractices a little later. A stubborn tradition as old as the overseas adoption system that has only resulted in an inevitable claw of constructions where adoption files, and thus traces of illegal practices, have been irreparably lost over the years, causing generations of adopted to never find out who their biological parents are are or in what circumstances their adoption took place.

It’s time that the system and the individuals who made this possible are held in the light. After all, all adopted have the right to the truth, not just those whose adoptive parents were brave enough to ask for additional investigation.

A study that may offer answers to some questions but that otherwise has no legal implications for those responsible for the suffering that illegal adoptions cause.

The questions that remain unanswered for now are whether and when the justice system is switched on to hold persons and organizations that do not follow the rules really accountable. And whether the policy is finally going to show that the so-called "Belang Van Het Child" is more than a hollow phrase.