Please don’t support UNICEF this Halloween season, or any other. If your kids are soliciting to fill those little cardboard boxes, please skip my house. We don’t and won’t ever support UNICEF. No hard feelings towards you, only UNICEF’s mission.
I grew up believing that UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund, formerly the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, established December 11, 1946 to “meet the emergency needs of children in post-war Europe and China” and expanded in 1950 to include “the long-term needs of children and women in developing countries everywhere”) was a champion of children’s rights, safety and welfare. After adopting, I discovered otherwise.
UNICEF has been in the process of undermining international adoption for some time and they’re making great inroads. UNICEF was a partner in “reforming” and shutting down Guatemala’s program (2008), leaving more than 3000 children in limbo. Children who will likely never have loving, stable, and permanent families and homes. Sorry folks, but that kinda honks me off. It hits rather close to the bone, when I consider that my son was born in Guatemala…
UNICEF’s position is that a child’s birth country and culture trump a stable, loving, and permanent home and family in any other place (adoption). But at what cost to the child and their country’s future? I argue that UNICEF’s position has dire consequences, of which we haven’t yet begun to see. Children who live in impermanent foster care or are institutionalized until they age out and live on the streets are often without the life skills they will need or have ability to contribute to society.
Institutionalization has major repercussions (I teach classes about this very topic.). Elizabeth Bartholet, the Morris Wasserstein Public Interest Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Child Advocacy Program (CAP) at Harvard Law School, wrote an enlightening paper on the human rights position of international adoption. You really should read it.
This Halloween, whether you celebrate it or not, whether you have children or not, please consider the millions of children that UNICEF is turning its back on. Leave those boxes at home…