What's Going On In International Adoption?

In a previous post highlighting Obama administration abuses, I noted the IRS targeting adoptive families -- with 90% of them subject to additional "scrutiny," whatever that means, and about 70% of them actually audited, even though there's no widespread adoption fraud to justify such a thing.

Today the Wall Street Journal published a piece (behind its firewall) about the red tape from American embassies that makes overseas adoption increasingly difficult. Friends of mine just experienced this firsthand. They were over in Poland adopting their daughter and were held up there for an extra...I don't recall, month? because of bureaucratic obstruction bordering on harassment from some caseworker on the U.S. side. I've forgotten how they overcame it -- asked for help from a Congressional caseworker, I think.  But it doesn't seem to be unusual, thanks to a new investigation process. From the article, which takes adoption from the Congo as an example:
While children who have been legally adopted by American parents languish in orphanages, the embassy sends out its Fraud Prevention Unit to investigate each child. In many cases, children slated for adoptions were removed from orphanages and placed in foster care several months prior to the investigators' visit. Congolese orphanage directors are inundated with children, but when they do not remember a particular child they met briefly many months earlier, the U.S. embassy declares that "orphan status cannot be verified" and recommends denial. When the orphanages do not keep detailed records -- and few do, despite their best efforts -- the embassy recommends denial. When there are any inconsistencies in the abandonment documents, which are created months after the abandonment and only when an orphan is matched with a family, the embassy recommends denial. 
The author, a lawyer who recently went through the process, reports that overseas adoptions have dropped 60% in the past eight years and blames embassy understaffing, but also the absurdity of having strict transparency standards in countries where conditions make Western-style record-keeping impossible. That means precisely where there are the most kids in need of rescue, it's hardest to rescue them.

On behalf of my friends trying to adopt, I have been outraged by these things. It seemed like targeting of pro-lifers.

But something came up recently that makes me wonder if there isn't actually a wholesome reason for the increased scrutiny: namely, this truly horrific story about the prosecution of a gay couple who prostituted their adopted Russian baby as part of an international sex trafficking ring. They were even highlighted as an ideal gay couple on Australian tv at one time. When the story broke, all the traditional marriage defenders pointed to it as evidence against gay marriage. I held my fire because as awful as the story is, it seems like an outlier, and we wouldn't use hetero pedophilia as an argument against adoption generally.

But if you read to the bottom of the story, it seems that abusing Russian children for sex trafficking --including not just orphans, but kids purchased from surrogate moms-- is a big problem in Russia, and the main reason Russia recently closed adoption to American couples. I don't know how widespread the abuse is -- it's in Putin's interest to exaggerate it, and most people saw the gesture at the time as just that -- a gesture, in response to Obama's signing the Magnitsky Act, seen as a slap at Russia. I don't know; I'm not making a claim, but it makes me wonder.
Russian Ombudsman for Children’s Rights, Pavel Astakhov, told RT Novosti that the Russian government is tightening up adoption laws to prevent another case like Adam's.
“Russian orphans always attracted foreign perverts because of accessibility. The foreigners were simply coming and taking children for money,” Astakhov said. 
At the very least, it seems that the heightened scrutiny is not unilateral US bureaucracy, but part of an international effort to interrupt child trafficking, which is unfortunately very common in some countries -- notably Ethiopia & Vietnam-- under the guise of international adoption.