Saturday, August 9, 2014

"Our children should at least look like us"

....What the NRIs get is often the `rejects' of the Indian parents…NRIs insist on having fair-skinned children....police found nine infants and a pregnant Thai woman....most of the children appeared Western...Lertkrai said: “The babies all look different...hard to believe they share the same blood”.....

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Are "fair-skinned" children really the be-all and end-all of adoption and is it the case that a "fair skinned child" always "look like us"?  

We do not know how to say this politely, but in the pale-world all browns are sand-niggers. Our cousins - one of whom can be fairly described as golden white in complexion - who grew up down under were called "chocolate" in school.
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Meanwhile...a huge surrogacy scandal. One golden-hearted Australian couple - with the dad-to-be, a remorse-free, child sex offender - had twins through surrogacy. One of the kids has Down's syndrome and was abandoned (see below). In response, Thailand plans to ban commercial surrogacy effective yesterday, and 200-odd aussie parents-to-be will be facing maximum pain (and monetary loss).


India is the only other nation widely open to surrogacy. Recent rules have been tightened here as well, this path is supposedly blocked for same sex couples or single parents-to-be. But knowing how the rules work in India, one can always find a way out, if you know what we mean. Unlike Thailand, you may even be able to dump the kid if you do not like her, pay off the agency a bit of hush money and no one would be wiser.

Here is the thing that is truly bothersome. Why is adoption such a headache? Leaving aside the fair-skinned child supply-demand mismatch, how is it fair that Non Resident Indians are finding the adoption process to be more cumbersome than Ethiopia? Why not have a fast-track process available for people who can afford it? NRIs have a lot of clout with Indian babu-dom, remittances from abroad is a precious lifeline for India.There should be a full-fledged effort to settle children as quickly as possible. Who knows, with the right incentives in place, people may fall in love with a dark-skinned child as well!!

If the new rules treat everyone at par, then that counts as progress. We are a bit scared of Shrimati Maneka (first animal lover, wife of Sanjay) Gandhi but we are rather pleased with her efforts in this direction.
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Five years after they submitted documents for adopting a child in India, Devi and Joseph will finally get to see their six-year-old 'daughter' when the non-resident Indian couple settled in Dallas in the United States comes to Delhi next month to take her home.
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It has been a long wait filled with home studies, delays and court procedures. "The adoption agency in Delhi has been regularly sending us pictures of Siara, but we feel we have missed out a good part of her childhood," said Joseph, 43, who hails from Bangalore and works as software analyst in the US. 
   "At one point, we had decided to adopt a child from China or Ethiopia, where the delay is much less, but my wife was insistent our child should at least look like us," said Joseph, speaking over the phone. Indian expatriates hoping to adopt a child from their home country may soon have to submit to a much less gruelling experience than Devi and Joseph.

NRI couples could be treated on a par with their resident Indian counterparts following changes being made to adoption rules by the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare. As a result, NRI couples could have equal opportunities for adopting a child in India. This will spell a major change from the existing rules, under which the first preference is given to India-based couples.

Maneka Gandhi, whose ministry is working towards finetuning the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act with an entire chapter on adoption for the first time, has already written to adoption agencies in states, child welfare committee heads and judges not to delay the processing of adoption applications.

A few years ago adoption agencies were asked to stick to a ratio of 80:20, with only a fifth of the eligible children for adoption abroad, in a move introduced to curb overseas child trafficking in the garb of adoption. This led to a fall in overseas adoptions from 628 in 2010-11 to 430 in 2013-2014.

"What the NRIs get is often the `rejects' of the Indian parents. NRIs insist on having fair-skinned, healthy children less than one year of age but such children are to be first picked by couples here," said a senior official at Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), the body that handles and monitors adoptions in India.

The official, who did not wish to be identified, added, "The NRIs, even after waiting for many months, are left to choose from children with medical issues, which is why they choose to go to other countries or give up on the process."

In the past ten years, over 8,000 NRI couples have applied for Indian children but only a few have been shortlisted. "We screen the NRI couples many times to keep the number very small because we know due to the existing rules we don't have many children to list for adoption. We will expand the list once the new rules are notified," the official said.
 
This should change as the company's restructuring paves the way for growth
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HUNDREDS of Australians with infants newly born or being carried by pregnant Thai surrogates are in limbo after Thailand moved to outlaw commercial ­surrogacy.

The National Council of Peace and Order interim military government yesterday announced the drastic measure, aimed at shutting a burgeoning industry mostly catering to foreign biological parents, in the wake of the baby Gammy scandal.

Surrogacy Australia executive officer Rachel Kunde estimated there were up to 200 Australian couples whose surrogates were pregnant in Thailand or whose infants had been born in recent days and weeks.

In Surrogacy Australia’s network, there were close to 100 ­couples in that situation. “We are very concerned for those people and we hope that they can bring their babies home without any trouble from Thai authorities,” Ms Kunde said.


Last night an Australian woman whose surrogate is 30 weeks pregnant in Bangkok said she was highly anxious about the prospect of the surrogate “going underground” if she were pressured.

“I called the nurse at the clinic this morning and she told me all the surrogates are still coming in for their scans,” said the woman, who asked for anonymity to protect her daughter, born to a Thai surrogate. “It is a horrible wait for us. We are due to go there in eight weeks but we are really worried about whether we will be able to leave with the baby.”

The foreign surrogacy scandal was triggered a week ago by the revelation a West Australian couple, Wendy and David Farnell, had left behind in Thailand a Down syndrome baby with his birth mother.

The birth mother, Pattaramon Janbua, 21, claims the couple refused to accept the boy, Gammy, now seven months old, but returned home with his twin sister.

The Farnells have denied this account but in a statement and through a friend have given varying accounts.

Ms Pattaramon, on hearing Mr Farnell had in the past been convicted of child sex offences, has demanded the girl be returned to her.

The new law is currently in draft form — it has been proposed since 2012 but the previous democratic government “sat on it” ­according to one of its drafters — and could take several months to pass and implement.

In the meantime, the government says it will strictly apply Thailand Medical Council regulations that prohibit surrogacy except for blood relatives and on condition there is no payment.

This effectively prevents Thai fertility clinics and doctors from offering the service, which has been used by an estimated 200 Australians — couples and potential sole parents — a year in recent years.

However, serious questions remain about the implementation of the law as it affects foreign ­people’s children just born to Thai surrogates, or fetuses still being carried to term by birth mothers.

NCPO spokesman Colonel Winthai Suvaree said yesterday the law would allow infants who have just been born to be suckled by their birth mothers for six months, but then would allow the baby to be taken home by parents.

Health Ministry general-secretary Samphan Komrit was very vague about how the law would apply to the foreign biological parents of fetuses being carried by Thai women for payment, however. He would only say those cases would be dealt with “according to morality”.

Colonel Winthai said: “Commercial surrogacy is illegal, according to the Medical Council. We don’t know the whereabouts of the (currently pregnant) surrogate mothers, so it is a difficult question to answer.” He said the new law was aimed at protecting infants and Thai women, although Ms Kunde said she was concerned also about the potential for Thai surrogates to be harassed or persecuted.

The new law will punish doctors and fertility clinics carrying out the procedures, and surrogacy agents, from today onwards. Under the current TMC regulations, enabling commercial surrogacy is punishable by one to three years’ imprisonment and fines of 20,000 to 60,000 baht ($670-$2000).

Currently there is no law specifically covering surrogacy, although Thai Medical Council regulations specify any such pregnancy must be altruistic — not for payment — and the birth mother must be a blood relative of the ­donors.

Police are investigating the Bangkok clinic, agent and doctors involved in Ms Pattaramon’s pregnancy with a view to laying charges under current TMC ­regulations.

The scandal escalated on Tuesday when police and welfare officers found nine infants and a pregnant Thai woman, accompanied by nannies, in several apartments at Latphrao, a northern Bangkok condominium block. Police were yesterday still trying to establish the identities and parentage of the babies. They are planning DNA tests. 

A lawyer acting for a Japanese man he claims is a wealthy businessman said his client wanted the babies for himself and planned to raise them in Thailand. He claimed the Japanese father was planning to pay about one million baht for the 10 surrogacies.

However, a Japanese woman interviewed at the scene on Tuesday claimed one of the children was hers and several witnesses said most of the children appeared Western.

Yanee Lertkrai, the director-general of the Department of Social Development and Welfare, said: “The babies all look different and it is hard to believe they share the same blood. Personally, I think the surrogacy of the babies is illegal.”

Surrogacy Australia’s Ms Kunde yesterday blamed rogue operators for causing the crackdown.
 “The people in our network have all used reputable clinics and they have talked to other couples first — most people do the right thing,” she said.

Yesterday, West Australian Child Protection Minister Helen Morton declined to reveal whether her department was still considering leaving the twin sister of baby Gammy with their Australian parents following fresh details about the child sex offences of the husband, Bunbury electrician David John Farnell.

His offending spanned a 10-year period and a magistrate found he had no remorse for his youngest victim.

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Link (1): http://New-adoption-rules-NRIs-to-be-treated-on-par-with-Indians

Link (2):  http://thai-crackdown-strands-surrogacy-couples

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regards