Earlier, 92 adoptees from Chile wrote about unethical adoptions from that same country. They are not the only ones. Today, 40 Colombian adoptees are coming together, sharing that the unethical adoptions were not limited to Chile.
Recently, we witnessed how 92 adult adoptees from Chile started questioning what is to come after they found out that several of the adoptions that were made possible from Chile, by Adoptionscentrum in Sweden, occurred illegally. Adoptees from Colombia are now rising to ask the same thing: What responsibility does Sweden carry when it comes to the handling of our adoptions?
Throughout the years, Colombia has been one of the countries providing most adoptions to Sweden. Up until the end of 2011, there had been 5,408 Colombian children arriving in Sweden, and most of these through Adoptionscentrum. The information revealed about the Chilean adoptions, is not news to many of us adoptees, but rather an already well-known fact.
Colombia has been involved in illegal adoptions since many years back, and thanks to different forums, adoptees have been able to compare adoption stories. A scary pattern has emerged as a result.
At first glance, the adoptions seem to have been carried out the right way. The courts and judges of the courts have been involved in the decision making, and the parties involved have assured that the children who are about to get new parents in the west, have no parents and are in need of a new family. Our adoption documents have official stamps and have been signed by people of public authority. However, civil war, differences in social class, racism, various stigma, a strict religion, not to mention corruption, are all contributing factors in the process by which orphanages started producing adoptable children. The three largest orphanages in Bogota (La Casa de la Madre y el Niño, FANA, and CRAN) all had ties all the way to the president. Some very powerful people were able to get very rich from stealing and selling children. This practice was at its height between the 60’s and the 80’s. The orphanages had far-reaching networks of so-called “child finders”, corrupt social workers, police and other individuals in positions of power, making our adoptions possible.
We have grown up believing that we were handed over by young, single, first mothers, who made the choice to give us a better chance at life than what they themselves could offer us. Some have been told that our first parents didn’t have the financial means to care for us. Stories have since been revealed of mothers being drugged during delivery, only to wake up to the news that their baby was stillborn. Others have had to ¨choose¨ between paying sky-high hospital bills or give up their child to cover the payment. In some cases, children, who have been playing in close proximity to their parents, have been kidnapped. This was going on systemically: producing seemingly adoptable children to feed a never-ending demand, and the methods by which these children were obtained had no limits. One way this was made possible was by falsifying our identities, which in turn made it difficult, or even impossible for us to one day reunite with our first families. Marcia Engel, a Dutch activist, and Colombian adoptee, once said: “How many children can be found by the same nun before it seems suspicious?” There are far too many cases where the orphanages claim to have lost documents, due to relocating, due to a fire or due to a flood. These same excuses have also been used by various orphanages outside of Colombia, such as in Korea, India, and Sri Lanka, in attempts to make us adoptees stop asking questions about our origins.
There have been investigations. A few years ago, when the Colombian TV-channel Séptimo Día, aired their documentary “Niños made in Colombia”, this did lead to a few responsible people being fired, and some of the adoption practices were reviewed, to some extent. However, this has not deterred Adoptionscentrum from continuing to announce a need for adoptive parents for Colombian children. Unfortunately, there is still corruption in Colombia, and most truths are silenced by threats or violence. Today, there are thousands of adoptees searching for their parents, and thousands of parents searching for their children.
The Family Law and Parental Support Authority (MFoF) was quoted on October 11th, 2017 to have said: “It is impossible to guarantee that each adoption is carried out in an ethically acceptable way”. If there is no way to guarantee ethically acceptable adoptions, and if Adoptionscentrum wishes to simply push the blame over to the countries of origin, and not take responsibility, then what?
We demand that an independent investigation and review be done into the practices of Adoptionscentrum. We also demand that Family Law and Parental Support Authority (MFoF), previously Swedish Intercountry Adoptions Authority (MIA), be investigated and review, based on their role in unethical adoptions.
Written by, Johanna Lundqvist
Translated by, Amanda Medina
For the original article visit here.