Saturday, January 30, 2010

No place for politics

Something very odd went down with Unicef yesterday. We were instructed in writing to pick up patients from the U.S. Comfort Ship. When our driver got there to get the people we were to be transferring to our care, there were Unicef vehicles taking them to some camp.

The unicef folks were not talking, they were just large and in charge. When asked why we had been told to come by the U.S. Comfort ship, they would not talk with us about it.

I'd love to believe somebody just got their wires crossed, but I'm not so sure. Something smelled wrong about it. The Comfort ship went to the work of getting us patient names, details, lists and a time to come get them. Clearly they were unaware of what was about to happen.

The problem is, giant worldwide organizations have power, and they have policies. Giant organizations are so giant that they cannot see the forest for the trees and they cannot see the individual person with the individual situation. We all know power corrupts. The Unicef we're seeing is not as interested in putting people/children first as it is in setting policy, precedent, and moving forward its own political agenda. I've watched people get up in arms and say that it is wrong to not support this long-standing and "worthy" organization. I recognize that will likely happen again here. We can easily agree to disagree if need be.

We're simply stating that the policies and procedures are a long way off from meeting real people with IMMEDIATE NEEDS where they are. (And things are not what they appear to be. Not at all.) The anti-adoption rhetoric has some merit but it is also maddening. Kids abandoned to an orphanage by their birth parent PRE earthquake are now being held in Haiti thanks to pressure placed on the Haitian government by the giant and powerful Unicef.  It is asinine and lacks all logic.

We are all for legal, careful, smart adoption. None of us want to see children taken from a birth parent or extended family that wants to raise them. That would be a terrible thing.

The fact is, Unicef is openly anti-international-adoption and what is happening now is nothing more than political grand-standing and a massive power trip. And all at the expense of children with waiting and approved families abroad.  I am saying, approved and in process adoptions are being used as a political tool by the giant organizations. While I agree policies need to be changed and systems of corruption need an overhaul --- maybe right this minute, when the country has no resources, it is not the very best time to make a stand and hold children here in crumbling institutions while adoptive parents wait eagerly.

Large powerful organizations with money can "encourage" and "convince" and put the pressure on ... and a government in crisis will bend to the will of a single powerful organization.

Meanwhile, children and people in crisis are not being served, cared for, or respected.  I understand the nuance and that UNICEF does some good work. You'll never convince me that an machine that large is actually in touch with real human beings and their real stories.