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  • Writer's pictureClinton White

Would you call this "trafficking"?

Yesterday started out amazing. We got to exercise our newly signed agreement with an orphanage in our region to take kids on "excursions". Yesterday they allowed us to take 5 children and one worker with us to visit another orphanage where many of the children previously lived when they were younger. We requested one child in particular because we wanted to take her to see her two younger sisters (and meet the baby for the first time) which was cool but it's actually another story.

We were given two other children, an 9 year old boy and his 7 year old sister, because they too were thought to have a younger sister in the other orphanage. Lets call them Peter, Susan, and baby Lucy. Peter and Susan have lived in an orphanage for the last two years. One of the first things they said in our car was that they are going home next week. There were shouts of "Praise God" from all of us. Since they've been in the orphanage, their mother has given birth to another daughter, baby Lucy, and she too was placed in an orphanage- the one we were going to visit. Peter and Susan were so excited to get to meet her.

When we arrived at the other orphanage we began to seek out the baby sister. Even though we know many of the children in the orphanage, we didn't recognize the name and we couldn't find her. Finally, one of the workers directed us to the right room. Lena took a very excited little Susan to the room full of toddlers. The workers recognized the name and before you know it, announced, in front of Susan, that baby Lucy had recently been adopted.

Suffice to say, little 7 year old Susan spent most of the remainder of her time with us in shock and in tears.

We were shocked too. And infuriated. How could that happen? Peter and Lucy do NOT have status- they are NOT available for adoption. They are, in fact, returning to their home next week.

Ukrainian policy states specifically that they do not separate siblings yet we see that they do all the time. Siblings are separated within orphanages and never understand that they have siblings. Then siblings are separated in different orphanages, again, never knowing one another.

And this time, they've allowed a pretty baby girl to be adopted and the siblings didn't even know. They never even got to meet their baby sister.

How could this happen? The only way we can figure is that the mother voluntarily surrendered the child (but obviously not the other two). We will probably never know the circumstances but it seems plausible that someone probably talked the mother into this decision. We've heard the story before. Sometimes there are different fathers involved and the current father doesn't want to "father" someone else's child. Sometimes it's just a financial decision. Here's what could have happened: Someone that wanted a baby found out about pretty little baby Lucy. That would suggest someone within the system (in the orphanage or in social services) notified the soon-to-be adoptive parents about the child and either those parents or someone in the "system" talked the mother into surrendering rights to the child and then those adoptive parents took the child. That too raises questions: Supposedly there is a queue in every region to adopt children and practically everyone wants a small child. It looks like someone skipped to the front of the line.

I don't know what you call it, but it looks a lot like trafficking to us. We're sure it's all legal and nice on paper, but it smells bad.

Someday little Susan or Peter will question "mom" about why she gave up Lucy. I'd like to have an answer for that question myself, but I wouldn't want to have to answer that question. I don't foresee there being a real strong mother/daughter bond in the future.

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