Sunday, June 17, 2012
Where healthy babies are bought illegally, disabled are slighted
KATHMANDU, JUN 12 -
Laxmi Maharjan (name changed) of Kalimati paid an undisclosed amount of cash for a male child three years back when she and her husband “bought” him from a capital-based hospital. The seemingly well-off couple in their mid thirties, who had been long wishing to adopt a baby, paid around Rs 30,000 to a hospital staff for the baby.
Kanchi Rai (name changed), wife of a Hanumandhoka-based porter, who already had four children, agreed to hand over her new born baby to a prospective parent through a middleman from an orphanage for Rs 50,000. The handover of the baby, otherwise to be sent to an orphanage, is recorded nowhere.
However, a disabled baby, who was abandoned at the Kanti Children Hospital in August 2011, had to wait for months before the hospital staff requested an NGO to take the child. The hospital never traced the whereabouts of the parents. These are few examples of how the “unregulated” child adoption system in Nepal has been giving rise to some serious anomalies. In the absence of a proper legal framework, healthy newborn babies are being traded illegally, while the disabled ones are being ignored. A duty officer at Kanti Hospital told the Post that they have serious problems finding NGOs or some foster home for the disabled children. “While we have difficulties seeking homes for disabled babies, we have problems managing a huge number of prospective parents who are ready to do anything for a healthy baby,” the duty officer said, seeking anonymity.
“Twelve disabled babies were abandoned last year alone. They remained in the hospital for over two months and were later handed over to the Bramahastani Samaj,” the officer said.
Police records show that in an average, 20-30 disabled babies are abandoned yearly in different hospitals in Kathmandu.
Existing laws do not make it binding for NGO-run orphanages or any other foster homes to adopt disabled babies.Police records show that in an average, 20-30 disabled babies are abandoned yearly in different hospitals in Kathmandu.
Existing laws do not make it binding for NGO-run orphanages or any other foster homes to adopt disabled babies. The state-run children’s home—Bal Mandir—does not adopt disabled children. “We have no provision to adopt disabled babies,” said Assistant director of Bal Mandir, Balkrishna Dangol. The orphanage received just seven children below five this year. Sources said healthy babies are being secretly handed over to willing parents and most dealings do not reach the police. Some hospitals in the Capital openly hand over the kids to prospective parents in the presence of the police, while some others do it covertly. “This has led to a slump in the flow of babies in orphanages and unclear statistics on adoption of abandoned children,” Dangol said. Head of the Thapathali Maternity Hospital Dr Shila Berma said her hospital does not keep prospective parents’ list, but hands over all abandoned babies to Bal Mandir. The hospital receives a maximum of 6-7 abandoned infants a year.Informed internal sources told the Post that the number of infants abandoned in hospitals are high. They said many babies are handed over by hospital staff based on their personal relationship. Many prospective parents also visit the hospitals, strike deals with staffers and take away the babies. Administrative head of Teaching Hospital Chandra Rai said prospective parents in the “adoption list” are given the babies in the presence of the police. Legal Officer at the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, Sher Jung Karki, said the anomalies can be checked if provisions on domestic adoption in the Muluki Ain (civil code) are implemented. “The law allows domestic adoption but unless the procedure is made transparent, the anomalies cannot be checked,” he said.
The fate of the abandoned children
• ‘Unregulated’ child adoption system in Nepal giving rise to serious anomalies
• Hospitals say they have serious problems finding NGOs or foster homes for disabled children who are abandoned
• Existing laws do not make it binding for NGO-run orphanages or any other foster homes to adopt disabled babies
• Ministry official says anomalies can be checked if provisions on domestic adoption in the civil code is strictly implemented
Posted on: 2012-06-12 08:24
Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.