Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Paper Orphan\Kishan Sharki (Kantipur Daily)

Paper Orphan\Kishan Sharki (Kantipur Daily)

Translated from Nepali

By Deepak Adhikari.

Lalitpur - The language and gestures of Kishan Sharki show that he is a young boy of Catalonia, Spain where he is living now. His English is influenced by Spanish accent. He uses Facebook and helps his mother in arranging spoons and forks in the kitchen. Before this, he is seen by the seaside with his mother, Rosa Mestres. Instantly; they enter into a place where a dance party is going on.

But instantly there appears Humla, Jumla, and the rural Karnali, of Nepal where Bodoma Sharki, who is in utmost poverty, appears saddened for being separated from her eldest son. She handed her son to the director of Humla Red Cross, Nara Bahadur Rokaya, with ten thousand rupees around one year decade ago. Her heart cries now, not just because her son has gone abroad, but to listen to him saying "mom" to another woman.

These scenes are seen in a film documentary, Paper Orphans, which was inaugurated at Patan Museum Hall on Friday evening. After the music of musical band, Kutumba, there was an incredible presence of national and foreign representatives from organizations working in children's sector. The film documentary takes us from Humla village to European countries.

Spanish citizen, Rosa waited three years for permission to adopt Kishan as her child. She took 6 years old boy from Balmandir to Europe with the responsibility of caring for him. But Rosa got surprised when she heard that Kishan had parents in Nepal. Rosa with her tears in eyes said "We were told that he didn't have any parents and relatives". Bodoma Sharki, on other side, who is living a very difficult life in stone house, in the bottom of the mountain repents: "it would be nice to have my son on my laps". She says Kishan was sent to Kathmandu for education as they were facing difficulty of food.

This heart touching scene included in the documentary, Paper Orphans, has even played the role of investigative journalism. The documentary directed by Marie-Ange Sylvain, is a joint production of Swiss-based INGO Terre des hommes and UNICEF. According to Joseph Aguettant, Nepal Delegate, Terre des hommes (Tdh), the purpose of making this documentary is to show that there are other ways to deal with children rather than making them paper orphans and supplying them to European countries. He says, 'we are not against inter-country adoption'.

For this, Image Ark Pvt. Limited has captured scenes of Spain, France, Humla and Children homes of Kathmandu. For example, Dharma Raj Shrestha, Central Child Welfare Board (*) rudely said that the children are taken in Europe because there are more facilities in Europe than Nepal. Similarly, when Joseph Aguettant and his team reached Helpless Children Protection Home to know about one child sent abroad, then the manager of the centre, Sabitri Basnet, said to them 'This is my organization, this is my home. Please don't be forceful.'

According to the joint report of UNICEF and Terre des Hommes in 2008, 60% of children living in orphanage homes are not orphans. Another data says that 1500 children are missing from Humla among which boys were taken to orphanage homes in Kathmandu and girls were sold in India.

In 2007 A.D., Nepal government banned intercountry adoption but it was again re-opened, it again started in 2009 A.D. But organizations like Terre des hommes demand a suspension of intercountry adoption till Nepal follows Hague standards.

The local people of Thehe, remote area, which can be reached after 6 hours of trek from Humla Headquarters, say 'Chakra Shahi, member of parliament, took ten thousand rupees saying that children will be placed in an institution for education.' A young man says, 'Bal Mandir is like a business organization. As nice goats are cut\eaten after selecting from the herd, children are selected.' In one part of the documentary, Joseph says this is not only about poverty. He says, 'Parents send their children for their bright future.' The main problem is the lack of public awareness. Such kind of awareness can be raised in local people of remote areas through this documentary."

Page 11, March 23, 2010
Kantipur Daily

Translated by Bidhya Rai and proof-read by the author, Deepak Adhikari.

(*) added from original article

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Paper orphans (The Kathmandu Post)

Anita Krishnan

MAR 23 -

I have had opportunities to work with institutionalised children, and somewhere a question that always hung silently was: “what end does institutional care hold for the children?” Not that I left it to silence. As a student I talked about it, among friends we discussed it and once I even wrote a paper on the topic. Though it still bothers me, in the last few months I have hardly given it any consideration.

Recently, Terre des Hommes International Federation screened a film called ‘Paper Orphans’, which traces the practice of inter-country adoption and it raises questions not only about the adoption process in the context of Nepal, but also raises concerns about protection of children and institutionalising them at large. Shown in the film is the reality of a mother, Badoma Sharki, from rural Humla who sent her son to urban Kathmandu in order to receive a good education — her son, Kishan, never returned. Rather, her son had been adopted by a Spanish woman who believed (as she had been told and legally verified through official documents) that the boy’s entire family was dead, which in reality was far from the truth. The adoption process was carried out through an orphanage that has been running on the grounds of protecting the rights of children.

As Joseph Aguettant, delegate to Nepal for Terre des Hommes explains, here in Nepal, orphans are ‘manufactured’. Kishan and many others like him who are not actually orphans are manufactured as orphans on paper, and based on that, their fate unfolds. Who do we blame for this — the poor parents who aspire to see their child receive an education and a good upbringing in urban Nepal, the new parents who travel to Nepal to adopt a child to call their own, or the children themselves who don’t have a clue to how their life has been reshaped? Or how about blaming the system, the unfathomable laws or perhaps even oneself for not being able to see such situations as they actually are or having the courage to respond to it? Where is the answer?

Child protection is a matter of serious concern. The concept of foster care has not found firm grounds in Nepal in the way that it has in Western nations, but does that mean we should leave the lives of our innumerable children in limbo? Adoption is not a bad idea, but when it is carried out it should be clear that we have to find a family for a child, not find a child for adoptive parents, especially the way it is being done in the present scenario. In Nepal, we strongly believe in family ties and the importance that family plays in a child’s upbringing and such acts just cannot be overlooked. We cannot allow the tradition of paper orphans to take root.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

British Columbia closes

British Columbia closes

Nepal Alert

A February 2010 report issued by the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Convention cites significant problems with the Nepal adoption process. Concerns include falsification of documents, lack of financial accountability, and uninformed consent of birth family. Citizenship and Immigration Canada has also expressed concerns regarding the validity of documents issued from Nepal. A full copy of the Hague Report is available at:

Since late 2009, British Columbia has advised impacted BC licensed agencies of overall concerns and the likelihood of Canada closing this program. Effective March 10, 2010, British Columbia has made the formal decision to not facilitate adoptions from Nepal. Exceptions will be made for only for those applying to adopt relatives.

Letters of no objection (LONOs) will not be issued by the Director of Adoption for Nepal. We appreciate that this is difficult news for families hoping to adopt from Nepal. Should new information be received from Canadian federal authorities and international authorities, this moratorium will be reviewed and updated accordingly.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Care homes make false papers for fast buck (Kathmandu Post)

Care homes make false papers for fast buck




Controversy has not stopped dogging Nepal's inter-country adoption. There are cases galore that expose how adoption has become a money-making tool for some.

Officials at the Ministry Women, Children and Social Welfare (MoWCSW) say use of falsified reports is rampant in lower level making way for adoption of even those children who are otherwise not eligible.

“The trend of putting the children with their biological parents alive for inter-country adoption is growing,” said an official at the MoWCSW.

As per the adoption regulations, a child with his/ her biological parents alive cannot be put for adoption.

MoWCSW has recently traced at least half a dozen children 'set for adoption' by registered orphanages. Those children were not 'genuine orphans' and were not eligible for adoption, said the official.

Last month, a couple from Nuwakot succeeded in retrieving their two children who otherwise would have been adopted by a foreign couple.

A registered orphanage, Helpless Children Protection Homes, Lalitpur, had forwarded the names of the children presenting false documents.

An American couple was ready to adopt the children but in the nick of time, the couple claimed biological parenthood. Subsequently, the prospective parents refused to adopt them.

The orphanage home under question had hoodwinked the local administration and the ministry five years ago to let an American couple adopt two children, who also had their biological parents alive.

MoWCSW spokesperson Tilak Ram Sharma said, in a bid to check such anomalies, the ministry has started re-verifying all the children put for adoption. “We assure that such case will not repeat in future,” said Sharma. He stressed on need for strong laws and effective implementation.

While care homes are in the race of fake adoption for quick buck, concerned ministry officials also have been found to have been involved in forwarding false documents. This Saturday, the Post exposed Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare Sarva Dev Prasad Ojha's involvement in handing over a child to a British couple without following due procedures.

The government last year enforced new rules for inter-country adoption after the media exposed rampant malpractice in adoption process. A month ago the Hague Conference on Private International Law had urged the government to suspend adoptions till a new strict legislation was introduced to curb such abuses.

In view of growing malpractice in the process, the U.S. State Department also has dubbed the country's adoption process as unreliable.

Nepal is a signatory to the Hague Conference but in the lack of ratification, it is not a partner country.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Eyes on Money (Nepal Magazine)

"But, the stakeholders have questioned the legality of the fund established by the government.... 'This is like depositing the government money in the private account by the minister' one of the finance ministry official said."

Eyes on Money

Nepal Magazine, 3-14 March 2010

By Upendra Pokhrel

Translated from Nepali

On Feb 10th, German Embassy declared the closure of adoption from Nepal by informing various diplomatic missions in Nepal. Following this American Embassy also issued a public notice to be cautious stating that the inter-country adoption process in Nepal is not reliable. The only basis that these two countries questioned the adoption process in Nepal is the report of the organization named ‘The Hague Conference on Private International Law’. In the report it is mentioned that Nepal is not ready for inter-country adoption and the present ongoing process should be stopped.

The adoption process was started again after one year closure and in less than nine months that report again questioned the inter-country adoption of Nepal. Even in this situation the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare is doing whatever they like. The last example of this is the Financial Aid Mobilization and Management Procedure, 2010 and Child Right Fund developed by the ministry.

According to the legal branch of the ministry in the year 2010, fifty six international agencies through agreement have submitted 10,000 USD each in the Child Right Fund for adoption. That means, approximately 40 million (rupees) have been already deposited in the fund. Around 80 international agencies are listed in the ministry in the year 09/10. If the listed agencies renew their agreement around 60 million rupees will be deposited in the fund each year. Before the legal system of the year 08/09 (2065 BS), two thousand two hundred forty seven (2247) and after that twenty Nepali children have reached different countries around the globe.

The ministry claimed that according to the terms and conditions of 08/09 (2065 BS) on adoption, based on the article 11, a new procedure has been developed. But that article says nothing except that the listed agency should renew. The surprise is that on the basis of the same article the ministry formed another Child Right Fund and had started collecting money. The rule of the ministry says that the foreign agency should deposit 10,000 USD every year when they sign the memorandum of understanding. The ministry also has rule to sign MOU with Child NGO Federation (CNFN) and the child right fund management committee which is formed under the presidentship of the Minister of Women, Children and Social Welfare and the CNFN president is assigned as member secretary. However, the Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB) in not included in the five-member committee.

On January 28, 2010, The Financial Aid Mobilization and Management Procedure, 2010 has been issued by ministry level decision. According to the same procedure, a child right fund was also formed. The provision has been made that the agencies which are listed in the adoption process should deposit at least 10,000 USD each year in the fund, before this it was going to the concerned children home. But, the stakeholders have questioned the legality of the fund established by the government.

‘This fund is not valid’ one of the officers from the ministry said, ‘new source for the revenue was identified but the minister deposited the amount in the account of NGOs.’ According to the provision of economical procedure 98/99 (2055 BS), if new source for revenue is identified and its title is not clear then it should be deposited in the government fund by mentioning the source. Like agencies, the foreign families who wish to adopt pay 3,000 USD to the government and this amount is also deposited to the revenue fund under ‘common’ title. The Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare did not take the initiation to identify the title that’s why it is deposited in the same title.

Similarly, according to the adoption terms and conditions published in the Nepal ‘Rajpatra’ on 18 May 2008 the money which is collected should be submitted in the government account, from that amount there is a rule that the fund will be invested for the welfare program of the orphaned children and also for the monitoring of listed foreign agencies for adoption and domestic child homes. Also, it is clearly mentioned that the children who went abroad on the name of adoption, for their monitoring also the money will be spend from the same fund. Not only this, there is an option that the money can be deposited to child welfare committee fund under the ministry involved in the adoption. First, there is the option to deposit the amount in the account of finance ministry, secondly in the committee’s fund and if not there in the account of the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare. One of the committee official said ‘due to this it’s hard to understand the internal motive behind establishing the fund’. According to the source the officials also suggested to keep that amount in the Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB) but the committee member-secretary Dharmraj Shrestha do not want to give any reaction regarding the work of the Ministry. ‘Let’s not speak anything on this’ he said. According to the source from finance ministry, the amount which is deposited in the fund and not in the law need not to be audited and also withdrawal permission is not needed. ‘This is like depositing the government money in the private account by the minister’ one of the finance ministry official said.

On the other side even it is not mentioned in the provision regarding children that how much amount should be taken for each adoption and by each agency. The terms and conditions passed by the council of ministers only uses words like ‘will be charged’ and ‘can be charged’.

The undersecretary of the legal branch of the Ministry, Mr. Sher Singh Karki, said that before this the foreign agencies were giving the money to the children home without transparency so to make it transparent new procedure and child right fund was formed. Before, there was a directive from the Ministry that the concerned agency should pay minimum 10,000 USD to the children home directly. In the process of monitoring the children home, it was found that the money was not used for the betterment of children but the betterment of the operator of the homes, that’s why new provision was made, Karki said.

He said, to make the big amount manageable and transparent new procedure and fund is established but due to complexities of depositing the amount in government fund the private sector fund has been given to the private sector. He himself is not satisfied of the proper use of the fund. ‘If the people with good intention will come then it will be used for good’ he said.

The Financial Aid Mobilization and Management Procedure, 2010 has divided the amount received by the agencies. According to that 20% of the fund is separated for the program of the ministry but which kind of program, it is not mentioned. Similarly, 15% for the central child welfare board and for the district child welfare board of all the 75 districts, 10% for the children who are in the children home and 20% for the monitoring, evaluation and supervision. For study, research, training, and advocacy and for the human resource development 20% and for the administrative expenses of the operational committee 5% have been allocated.

Everyone is unknown about the amount which used to be deposited in the account of children home before it was shifted from the Home Ministry to Women, Children and Social Welfare Ministry. In that account for the monitoring, evaluation and supervision, 300 USD used to be deposited for each child. Even after it was shifted to the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, there is no any transparency on the expenses. The truth is that the amount given by the foreign family is invested in the abroad travel expenses of the minister, secretaries and their families. But, as Karki said, the ministry does not have any details on that.

According to Ganesh Bhakta Shrestha, associated with one of the children home run by NGO named OCCED, for every child the foreign family pays 3,000 USD to the government and 5,000 USD to the children home, but the government is not able to justify the cause. The decision from the ministry level to deposit 10,000 USD in the Child Right Fund is also in moving sand. ‘Whatever rule is made, but first its significance should be justified’ Shrestha said.

Box: Discussion Continues

On Falgun 14, the Federation of non governmental organizations for children (CNFN) published a notice that the membership of 36 organizations had been cancelled. An organisation called ' The Hague Conference on Private International Law' of Netherlands had given suggestion to the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare in its report to ban CNFN from inter-country adoption investigation, monitoring and recommendation committee.

On the basis of that report, CNFN cancelled the membership of its child care homes. Showing their anger, the child care homes have said that CNFN won't be able to exclude us. There's blame from child care homes that the officers of CNFN are also indirectly associated with intercountry adoption process.

The director of OCCED Nepal, a children’s home, said that the report has indirectly told to ban CNFN from intercountry adoption investigation, monitoring and recommendation committee, not the child centers: 'How can CNFN be out of the Committee by excluding child centers?'

The child care homes have been demanding to ban CNFN from the committee. With the anger of being excluded by CNFN, the child center homes have been actively working to come up with new association of organizations working actively for the reintegration of children. The new association's strategy will be the reintegration of children within the country.' The blame of intercountry adoption issues and adoption has been only on the child centers, now we will work actively for re-integration within the country''. Shrestha says ''there has been priority for foreign countries, now our priority will be within the country."

Source: Nepal Magazine, 3-14 March 2010

Translated by: Mr. Nisith Kumar Shrivastawa

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Innovative Program Returns 20 Trafficked Children Home to their Families in Nepal

Innovative Program Returns 20 Trafficked Children Home to their Families in Nepal (press release)

Thousands of children taken from Nepal's rural villages by traffickers end up on the streets of Kathmandu. Through the efforts of Next Generation Nepal, a small nonprofit group, trafficked children are reconnected with their families and reunited with their communities.

Thanks to the reunification efforts of Next Generation Nepal (NGN), this April twenty children who had been taken from their families by child traffickers during the civil conflict and abandoned in Kathmandu will finally return to their families and home communities.

For the past five years, NGN and its partner organizations combating child trafficking have been caring for the children in Kathmandu, where they were first found. Now, Next Generation Nepal's programs have expanded beyond merely caring for the children, and are successfully returning children to their families in rural Nepal when village and family assessments deem it advisable. This action is in accordance with the UN position on The Principle of Family Unity (2004) which states that: "All children have a right to a family, and families have a right to care for their children."

Next Generation Nepal has secured a spacious house in Simikot, in the far western region of Humla, which will serve as a transitional home for the children as the process of reconnection continues. Under the guidance and care of NGN, the children will attend school, participate in rural community life, visit regularly with family and learn the customs and traditions of their birth. "This is an enormous and historic undertaking. Moving these children from Kathmandu to their home district reflects the underlying belief of NGN: that each child has the right to be raised in their own family." states Hallie Tamez, Executive Director for NGN.

The crisis of trafficked children in Nepal begins when traffickers deceive village families with offers to bring their children to the faraway capital of Kathmandu, where they will be given an education. Poor village families pay enormous sums for this supposed privilege. However, instead of being given an education the children are put up for illegal international adoptions, forced into slave labor, or simply abandoned on the streets. The children are often as young as three or four years old.

NGN has developed an innovative three step approach to restoring families torn apart during the armed conflict. First, NGN Search Teams locate families of trafficked children through an intense search of remote mountainous areas, most of which are accessible only by foot. The team then reconnects them with letters, photos and visits. Finally, if conditions are deemed safe and appropriate, NGN reunites children with their home communities and families permanently. In this way, the children inherit the traditions of their society and rural villages have a chance to survive and thrive in the future.

NGN believes a future free from trafficking lies in respecting and supporting the traditions and potential in rural communities. NGN will continue to tackle the root causes of trafficking through sustainable community development programs in cooperation with local and international partners to ensure the future of education and life skills to children in rural Nepal.

Returning these 20 children home in 2010 represents a significant achievement for NGN in its mission to reconnect trafficked and displaced children with their families.

About the Organization: Next Generation Nepal is a small non-profit organization working to reconnect trafficked children with their families. Founded in 2006 by Conor Grennan and Farid Ait-Mansour, and developed in collaboration with Conor's wife, Elizabeth Grennan, NGN has linked trafficked children in their care to their home communities in post-conflict Nepal through a careful process of reconnection and reunification. With offices in both New York City and Kathmandu, NGN oversees a small program staff implementing an ambitious strategic plan for growth and maximum impact. They are available to contact at or their facebook.

Press Release courtesy of Online PR News: (

For More Information:

Media Contact:

Hallie Tamez
917 484-1697


Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Minister Ojha lands in thick soup (Kathmandu Post)

Minister Ojha lands in thick soup (Kathmandu Post)

  • inter-country adoption


Amid claims from different quarters that Nepal's international adoption system is full of loopholes, it has been disclosed that a British couple managed to adopt a Nepali child flouting the law earlier this month.

The British couple--Christopher Grice Lloyd and Caroline Ann Lloyd--managed to adopt the child named Abhisekh after Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare Sarbadev Prasad Ojha and other top officials “intervened” in the case that had been stalled for more than two years, said an official seeking anonymity, smelling a rat in the adoption process.

The couple had, in 2007, selected another child--Umesh, residing at the Bhaktapur-based Sagarmatha Child Home--and managed to get a recommendation letter from the Bhaktapur District Administration for adoption. Upon receiving the letter, the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MoWCSW) had allowed the couple to adopt him, only to find that the child had died.

It was then that the child home selected Abhisekh for adoption -- without bothering to consult the ministry. Notably, the child home had picked Abhisekh for adoption at a time when the then government had suspended the international adoption process after reports that foreigners were paying hefty sums for adoption of children, most of whom were not genuine orphans.

Under the new adoption procedures, prospective parents have to deal with registered adoption agencies from their home countries or Nepal-based embassies. Earlier, the prospective parents would deal with orphanages and end up, in most cases, paying huge sums for the babies of their choice as there was no fixed adoption fee.

What makes this case a suspect is that the recommendation committee comprising representatives from the ministries of Home and Law, and MoWCSW decided to hand over the child to adoptive parents 'for the good of the child' this time. In the past, MoWCSW had repeatedly rejected the British couple's application for Abhisekh's adoption, telling them to follow new procedures.

The Law Ministry's role in the entire episode has also given rise to suspicion that there indeed was some foul play, sources said. It could not furnish a clear answer when MoWCSW's wrote it to suggest whether this adoption can go ahead.

first location:
Now located at

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Prachanda Raj Pradhan -- head of the Child NGO Federation Nepal (CNFN)

Prachanda Raj Pradhan (the head of the CNFN -- the Child NGO Federation Nepal) is a controversial figure in Nepali adoptions.

For allegations regarding unethical conduct by Pradhan, see
Nchild posts:


(In order to respect the terms of service for Yahoo groups and Nchild in general, specific content of messages cannot be reprinted here. However, membership in Nchild is open to anyone interested in Nepali women or children.)

Pradhan and his wife have long been the facilitators for
Florida Home Studies & Adoption (FHSA). And Prachanda is a former board member of NCO/Bal Mandir. See Nchild for details:

He has also worked with
Amici Trentini (Italy):

Jaya Rajbhandari (Pradhan's wife) runs the Society for Each Other (SEO -- a controversial home that was formerly licensed for adoption):

Florida Homes Studies (Prachanda's long-time U.S. agency) was
denied Hague accreditation:

Nonetheless, FHSA has been licensed by Nepal:

Nepal Children's Organization (NCO/Bal Mandir -- where Pradhan was once a board member) has been at the center of kidnapping allegations for many years. See Nchild for details:

Nepal Children's Organization is particularly notorious for its attitude to
special needs children:

In 2006, the French Foreign Service blacklisted NCO/Bal Mandir:

Nepal Children's Organization (NCO/Bal Mandir) website:

Child NGO Federation Nepal (CNFN) website:

What is
grotesque and unbelievable is that NCO/Bal Mandir was given a separate matching board in the 2008 adoption "reforms" -- the 2008 Terms and Conditions:,Con.of%20adpn%20of%20Nepali%20Child.pdf

Equally disturbing is the fact that the 2008 Terms and Conditions gave the Child NGO Federation Nepal (the organization Pradhan heads)
a seat on the Investigation, Recommendation & Monitoring Committee.

More recently, the new
"Child's Right Fund" of February 2010 requires all foreign adoption agencies to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the CNFN and gives the CNFN a seat on the fund's management committee. The fund should bring in $800,000 a year ($10,000 per agency).

For no apparent reason, 10% of the fund goes to NCO/ Bal Mandir (a private NGO that is often mistakenly called "the government orphanage").

And there is no reasonable explanation as to why another private organization (the Child NGO Federation Nepal) is at the center of this whole process. The government's
Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB) would have been the logical choice. The CCWB is also missing from the fund's management committee.

20% of the fund goes to "monitoring" even though the government's $3000 fee (for each adoption) already covers "monitoring." Another 20% goes to "research." 5% to "overhead."

Sabitri Basnet (another CNFN board member) is at the center of the Helpless Children Protection Home (HCPH) scandals:

Maya Sunar Tamata (yet another controversial CNFN board member) runs the Children Welfare Home (CWH) -- which was also blacklisted by the French:

Then there is
Kedar Dahal of World Nepal -- a CNFN board member & a current NCO/Bal Mandir board member:

Other CNFN members are equally controversial.

According to
Gorkhapatra (the government newspaper), "8 Embassies including Germany have written the ministry to remove CNFN from the adoption committees, but the president of CNFN accused the attitude of the embassies being revengeful."


The Hague's Nepal report was particularly blunt:

"A conflict of interest arises from the inclusion of the orphanages’ representatives on the Investigation, Recommendation and Monitoring Committee. The role of this committee is to actively investigate and verify the accuracy and authenticity of the information and documents on each child’s file which is prepared by the orphanage directors and staff. Representatives of orphanage directors should not be permitted to investigate themselves as this creates a clear conflict of interest. This work should be done by independent and skilled professionals who have no connections with orphanages, either directly or indirectly....
The involvement of CNFN on the Investigation, Recommendation and Monitoring Committee should not continue as it creates a conflict of interest and the credibility of the investigation may be questioned. Therefore, CNFN should not be involved in any mechanism that investigates dossiers or makes recommendations on adoptability."

Meanwhile, in the
Kathmandu Post, CNFN Chairman Prachanda Raj Pradhan has claimed that the Hague's Nepal report “was prepared with a view to tarnishing the country’s image. It is far from truth.”


The foreign embassies & the Hague Conference Mission are clearly right in insisting that the Child NGO Federation Nepal be removed from all adoption activities. Nepal Children's Organization should be dissolved as well, and its homes handed over to an organization with a less unsavory reputation. Perhaps Next Generation Nepal or the Umbrella Foundation.


Update (November 2011):

Paper Orphans documentary posted on the web:

The Terre des Hommes/Image Ark documentary on adoption trafficking in Humla (the NCO/Bal Mandir kidnappings). Some Humli children ended up in India -- others in the inter-country adoption trade.

Nepal Children's Organization (NCO/Bal Mandir):

Victims of Balmandir: node/43654


Corruption at Nepal Children's Organization (NCO/Bal Mandir):

(Also discusses NCO/Bal Mandir's new alliance with the Mitrataa Foundation.)

The Helpless Children Protection Home (HCPH):

Paper Orphans & The Helpless Children Protection Home: node/43603


Adopted Children always in disputes! (Voice of Children):

Related documents

Notice on Memorandum of Understanding (2 Feb. 2010):

The Financial Aid Mobilization and Management Procedure 2010 (28 Jan. 2010):

Nepal -- the Hague Report:

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

US warns against adopting in Nepal (AFP)

US warns against adopting in Nepal (AFP)

The United States has warned its citizens against adopting children in Nepal, saying it has "grave concerns" about the reliability of that country's adoption system.

The government urged prospective adoptive parents to choose another country, citing the case of a young Nepalese girl placed in the custody of an American couple without the consent of her biological mother and father.

"The US Department of State strongly discourages prospective adoptive parents from choosing Nepal as a country from which to adopt due to grave concerns about the reliability of Nepal's adoption system," it said in a statement on its website dated 4 March.

Nepal introduced new adoption legislation in 2008 following reports of widespread abuses of the system by unscrupulous agents who were effectively trafficking children overseas for profit.

Twenty Nepalese children have been adopted by foreign parents since the system restarted last year, seven of whom are in the US, but experts say little has changed since the new rules came into force.

The State Department said that in one of the first cases processed by the Nepal government, the US embassy in Kathmandu found the birth parents of the adopted child were actively searching for her.

The US government warning follows a recommendation last month from a team of international legal experts based in The Hague that international adoptions of Nepalese children be suspended.

They said their investigations found documents were routinely falsified and children’s homes were largely unregulated, with the interests of the child often not considered at all.

Germany moved to suspend adoptions from Nepal after the findings of The Hague team's investigations were made public, and 14 embassies in Kathmandu issued a statement urging the Nepalese government to tighten controls.

Source: AFP

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Adoption Alert -- Nepal (U.S. State Department)

Adoption Alert -- Nepal (U.S. State Department)


Adoption Alert

Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues


Caution About Pursuing an Adoption in Nepal

March 04, 2010

The U.S. Department of State strongly discourages prospective adoptive parents from choosing Nepal as a country from which to adopt due to grave concerns about the reliability of Nepal’s adoption system and the accuracy of the information in children’s official files. The Department also strongly discourages adoption service providers from accepting new applications for adoption from Nepal until reforms are made, and to be vigilant about operating in an ethical manner under the current adoption system.

The Hague Conference on Private International Law recently released a report on its Intercountry Adoption Technical Assistance Program, based on a visit by a delegate from the Hague Conference’s Permanent Bureau to Nepal in November 2009 ( This report is the result of an independent analysis of Nepal’s intercountry adoption system under the new Terms and Conditions put in place in 2008. The report details a number of weaknesses in Nepal’s current adoption system, including the falsification of documents, improper financial gain, and lack of a child protection system.

Based on our own observations and experience with adoption cases in Nepal, the U.S. Department of State shares many of the concerns outlined in the Hague report. In one of the first cases processed by the Government of Nepal after the revision of the Terms and Conditions, the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu found that the adopted child was not a true orphan and that his birth parents were actively searching for her.

We encourage parents who have filed an application with the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MWCSW) in Nepal, but have not yet been matched with a child or received an Adoption Decree issued by the Government of Nepal, to consider a change of countries. The Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), allow one change of country to be made in connection with one’s I-600A application without fee. A request to change countries should be made in writing to the USCIS Field Office where the I-600A was originally filed. (Any subsequent request for a change of country would require a fee.)

Hague-accredited U.S. adoption services providers, and adoption service providers that may apply for Hague accreditation in the future, are reminded that their actions in facilitating and/or processing adoptions in any country (whether Hague or non-Hague) will be evaluated during the Hague accreditation or accreditation renewal processes, in accordance with the accreditation regulations (22 CFR Part 96), including whether, among other things, the provider has established and rigorously followed ethical adoption practices and operates in the best interest of prospective adoptive children.

Prospective adoptive parents who currently have active files at the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare and who may already have an approved I-600 Petition to Classify an Orphan as an Immediate Relative from a USCIS domestic Field Office are reminded that consular officers are required by law to conduct an I-604 orphan investigation to verify the child's orphan status in order to the issuance of an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa. Depending on the circumstances of a case, this investigation may take up to several months to complete, even if the I-600 Petition is already approved. In every country, we rely on the host government’s diligence to protect the safety and interests of their own children through careful administration of their national adoption process. In the absence of a reliably diligent partner, it can be very difficult to confirm that a child is truly an orphan. Cases in which a child’s orphan status cannot be confirmed will be forwarded to USCIS for review and final determination. We strongly recommend that adoptive parents not travel to Nepal until the Embassy has confirmed that the I-604 has been completed. Under current procedures, prospective adoptive parents may file their I-600 petition with USCIS in the United States, which then triggers the I-604 investigation in Nepal. Adoptive parents may contact the Embassy at should they have questions about the status of their case.

The U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu continues to meet with officials within the Government of Nepal and with other foreign missions concerning the current status of adoptions in Nepal. The joint statement issued by the International Adoption Working Group on February 25, 2010 may be found at

Please continue to monitor for updated information as it becomes available.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What do you do when the authorities are suspected traffickers?

Interesting article by Lt. Col. Holmes (below). He has a point.

Some of the alternatives to adoption seem better suited to Sweden than to South Asia.

Nonetheless, his article contains a huge flaw.

Lt. Col. Holmes:

"The latest report from the Hague Conference raised the very serious concern over 'paper orphans', children who were designated as being orphans when they are not through the falsification of paperwork that can ultimately be the basis of inter-country adoption. This is indeed a terrible state of affairs but surely the answer is to track down and bring to book the criminal elements and orphanages that have been involved in this trafficking of children? If such evidence exists (and presumably it does), then it should be passed on to the authorities."

What do you do when the authorities are suspected traffickers?

For years, a former NCO/Bal Mandir official led the government "investigations" of adoption scandals.

Nepal Children's Organization (NCO/Bal Mandir) has long been the center of trafficking allegations. NCO is one of the adoption homes blacklisted by the French Foreign Service:

It seems unlikely that Nepal's criminal elements will ever be brought to book for adoption trafficking.

PEAR Nepal

Don't suspend inter-country adoption



Inter-country adoption is once again receiving a bad press. First we had the arrest of a group of Americans in Haiti who were allegedly trying to remove children from the country without the permission of the authorities. Then in this past week UNICEF in Nepal has endorsed the findings of the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference that inter-country adoptions from Nepal should once again be suspended. This they state is in response to the Government of Nepal’s failure to fulfill commitments that it gave to reform adoption practice and improve child protection after it signed the Hague Convention in April 2009.

Of course, aspects of the inter-country adoption process as it stands at the moment are totally unacceptable and if the interests of the child are not central and being ignored then UNICEF and others are duty bound to adopt a robust stance. My concern is that a blanket suspension is an overreaction that will be to the detriment of very many children who will be denied a future and loving homes abroad. Instead they will be condemned to remain in grim “orphanages” or they could face an even worse fate. I also believe, after 10 years of working in grass roots childcare in Nepal, that it is overly simplistic to champion the use of family-based care alternatives in Nepal.

In the joint UNICEF/Terre des Hommes report of August 2008 “Adopting the Rights of the Child” it was stated that over 60 percent of children in orphanages were not true orphans. The contention restated in a BBC interview this week by Joseph Aguettant, Country Representative of Terre des Hommes, is that these children could be better supported within their natural families. The status of “orphan” or otherwise is not the key issue; children do not need to be presented as orphans for inter-country adoption. Being a step child is enough. In this regard, I offer an alternative statistic that is much more relevant than the 60 percent figure.

At our refuge in Godawari, we are caring for 100 children. Of these, an amazing 90 percent are step children. Step children are often unwanted and unloved within new family units and if they remain with step parents they may well be neglected and abused. This has been the common etiological factor for nearly all of the at risk children that we have taken into refuge care over the years. We care for children of prisoners. Commonly, shortly after a father was imprisoned, his wife would remarry and the new husband would reject her child or children from before. When we first began working in Nepal, we were to find such children languishing in jail with their biological fathers. We’ve picked up street children who were running away from domestic abuse inflicted upon them by step parents. Most recently, we removed an innocent nine-year-old Nepali boy from inside a young offenders centre in Calcutta; he’d spent four years inside after being found on the street in his bid to escape a violent step parent. And nearly all of the girls that we have rescued from inside Indian circuses were trafficked there by step parents who sold them into a life of abuse and sexual exploitation for just a few dollars and to get them off their hands.

From our first-hand experience, I am also deeply skeptical about the rationale and practicalities for providing family support to keep children with families. We tried and it didn’t work, even with our adopting the most focused of approaches as we tried to reunite a few individual children with families. We found that, unsurprisingly, financial support just won’t buy the love of step parents and, if material support is accepted, can force children to remain in a potentially dangerous domestic environment. They can be trafficked out of there at the drop of a hat to vanish into the abyss of India or the growing domestic sex trade. Moreover, I am very unclear as to who would fund such widespread support and how on earth it could be implemented, monitored and evaluated in some of the source areas for children who end up in orphanages. By contrast, international adoptive parents can offer infinitely better material support and, above all, love. Their commitment is beyond doubt by virtue of the very fact that they embark upon the long and difficult adoption process.

The latest report from the Hague Conference raised the very serious concern over “paper orphans”, children who were designated as being orphans when they are not through the falsification of paperwork that can ultimately be the basis of inter-country adoption. This is indeed a terrible state of affairs but surely the answer is to track down and bring to book the criminal elements and orphanages that have been involved in this trafficking of children? If such evidence exists (and presumably it does), then it should be passed on to the authorities. Arguably, UNICEF would be better employed taking a robust stance on this rather than adopting a blunderbuss approach through supporting a blanket ban on all inter-country adoption.

Finally a word on domestic adoption. Superficially, it might seem to be a preferable option to keep children in their own country through making more use of domestic adoption as a family-based care option. However, one has to ask if this is really in the best interests of the child and his or her development. Nepal currently is number 144 on the UNDP’s Human Development Index, comparing very unfavorably with inter-country adoption destination countries the USA (number 13) Spain (number 15) and Italy (number 18). But what about the all important issue of love? Many Nepalis will tell you that a child that is adopted into a family has a very high chance of being treated as a domestic servant who is expected to work in return for food and board (and be glad of it) rather than being treated as a true son or daughter. This is in marked contrast with what is available overseas.

I can see a huge need for a reform to the inter-country adoption process. It is way too expensive and the amount of money that is available to adoption agencies, orphanages and central government coffers stands to compromise decision making and the welfare of the children. It is also too slow. Every day that a child spends inside a grim orphanage is a disaster. I also believe that adoptive parents should be required to spend some months in Nepal before receiving their child so that they have a chance to bond and obtain a feel for the country. They should also undertake to bring the child back to Nepal on a regular basis; this is a much better alternative than the visits by ministry representatives to children in their destination countries which are highly intrusive and potentially frightening for the children, not to mention costly for Nepal. Above all, the criminal activities need to be addressed specifically rather than the Nepali government bowing to calls for a blanket ban that stand only to throw the baby out with the bath water.

(Writer, Country Director of Esther Benjamins Trust – Nepal (EBT-N), is the father of two adopted Nepali children and lives in Kathmandu. EBT-N is at the forefront of grassroots work in childcare, child protection and the fight against child trafficking.)

Published on 2010-02-24

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Nepal's stolen children highlight flawed adoption system (AFP)

02 March 2010

Nepal's stolen children highlight flawed adoption system (AFP)

AFP - Rajan Kumar Nepali did not know he was giving up his two young children when he put his thumbprint on a document handing custody to an orphanage in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu.

The owners of the children's home had promised to take care of his son and daughter while the 28-year-old labourer, who cannot read or write, tried to get his life back on track after he became addicted to drugs.

Instead, the children were put up for adoption abroad -- a highly lucrative business in impoverished Nepal, where campaigners say orphanages can make up to 10,000 dollars from each child.

By the time Nepali returned to retrieve the children his three-year-old daughter Karuna had already been placed in the custody of an American couple who were applying for a visa to take her to the United States.

"The names of my son and daughter had been changed, and they had been declared orphans. I was so shocked," Nepali told AFP in an interview in the one-room house in Kathmandu where the family now lives.

"The people who run the orphanage told me I could not even see my son and daughter because it might affect the other children.

"Then some local people told me that pictures of my children had appeared in the newspaper under fake names. With their help, I found out that both my children had been put up for adoption abroad."

Eventually, Nepali and his wife Maya managed to get their six-year-old son back from the orphanage.

But it was not until the couple filed an official complaint with the help of a local charity that they discovered their daughter Karuna's whereabouts and she was finally returned to them.

Child protection groups say the family's ordeal is only the tip of the iceberg in Nepal, where unscrupulous agents are effectively trafficking children to foreign couples for large profits.

Nepal introduced new legislation in 2008 to try to prevent such abuses, and only restarted international adoptions last year under the new system.

But campaigners say widespread problems persist, and last month a team of legal experts from The Hague called for international adoptions of Nepalese children to be suspended.

They said their investigations found documents were routinely falsified and children's homes were largely unregulated, with the interests of the child often not considered at all.

United Nations children's agency UNICEF said little has changed since a 2008 report found that around 60 percent of the children up for adoption in Nepal were not genuine orphans.

"The best interests of the child are still not at the centre of these adoptions and these must be the guiding principles for all those working with children, no matter how complex the issue," said UNICEF Nepal representative Gillian Mellsop.

UNICEF has called for the government to ratify the Hague convention on international adoptions, which sets out guidelines and procedures to safeguard children and their parents against abduction and trafficking.

In all, 20 children from Nepal have been adopted by foreign parents since the system restarted last year.

Seven have gone to the United States, but the US State Department this month warned prospective adoptive parents that the system in Nepal was "not yet reliable," citing the case of the Nepalis.

Germany moved to suspend adoptions from Nepal after the findings of The Hague team's investigations were made public, and 14 foreign embassies issued a statement urging the government to tighten controls.

Authorities in Kathmandu have banned the children's home that took the Nepalis' children from arranging international adoptions for the next two years.

But the orphanage, called Ashaya Balbalika Samrechhan Griha (Helpless Children Protection Home), remains open.

Sarvadev Prasad Ojha, minister for women and children, admitted that the government lacked the resources to prevent abuses of the system.

Ojha said poor parents in rural areas were being fooled into giving up their children for adoption by agents who claim to be taking them to Kathmandu for education.

"We have been closely monitoring the activities of those organisations. We have also closed down 14 children's homes that did not meet minimum standards," he told AFP in an interview.

"But we still don't have adequate resources to monitor outlying rural areas, and this allows children to be taken by criminals."

Campaigners say the system remains riddled with corruption, and allows orphanage owners themselves to decide whether a child can be put up for adoption -- a clear conflict of interest.

Karuna's mother Maya, who still lives a stone's throw away from the orphanage that took her children, accuses the owners of "trying to take advantage of our poverty and illiteracy."

"I could never think of allowing my children to be taken abroad," she said. "They are my babies, I gave birth to them. How could I give them away?"

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.