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The Making of ‘Orphans’: How the adoption movement is transforming family and Jeopardizing child well-being in Uganda

International Conference on Adoption Research (ICAR5), Auckland, New Zealand, 8 January 2016
by

Kristen Cheney

on 2 June 2017

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Transcript of The Making of ‘Orphans’: How the adoption movement is transforming family and Jeopardizing child well-being in Uganda

In this Prezi:
This presentation highlights the detrimental effects of international ‘orphan rescue’ interventions on family preservation and child protection in Uganda.
The Orphan
Industrial Complex
Global expansion of
local informal fostering or exploitation of vulnerability?
Informal fostering is common in Uganda, but formal adoption is very rare
When institutionalization or ICA are presented as opportunities, Ugandans jump at them
They rarely have a clear understanding of...
the detrimental effects of institutionalization on children
the implications of permanent relinquishment

Trapped in
the orphanage
Very few CCIs have family reunification programs,
some actively discourage children’s contact with their families,
to keep them in CCIs for fund raising and/or ICA.
• The longer children are away, the harder it is to reunify
damaged attachment
caregiver reluctant to re-assume financial responsibility
• Parents/guardians are sometimes locked out of CCIs
• UNICEF: care orders are not being procured until ICAs procedures have started
--> lack of paper trail showing that a CCI is even keeping a particular child
--> guardians have little recourse/resources
to confront CCIs, which often collude
with local authorities

How children get separated from families
Putting orphanages in poor communities is one of the fastest ways to create ‘orphans’
Orphanages mimic schools and day care centers
Recruitment of the most vulnerable
Exclusion of caregivers
1992
2,900
children in institutional care
children in
institutional
care*
children in institutional care
(CCIs)
40,000
2009
2013
50,000
1.3 million 'orphans',16% of all children
2.85 million 'orphans'
14% of children
119% increase in orphan numbers (but 2% reduction in percent of population), vs.
1624% increase in institutionalized children
almost all of them cared for by extended family and community
1.9 million 'orphans'
12.3% of children
90% of them cared for by extended family and community (JLICA 2009)
Sources: Uganda Bureau of Statistics, Alternative Care Uganda
(Williamson and Greenberg 2010)
*80% have living, locatable relatives
212 child care institutions
(CCIs)
800 CCIs
2007: 'legal guardian-ship loophole' enables foreign PAPs to by-
pass adoption laws
Why so many orphanages? Why now??
Demand for 'everything orphan',
from missions to adoptions
Establishing orphanages
Orphan tourism
Spreading
the 'gospel'
of ICA
Intercountry
adoption
Western demand for experiences with African orphans is driving child institutionalization, often of 'orphans' who have families
The Making of ‘Orphans’

How the adoption movement is transforming family and jeopardizing child well-being in Uganda
Kristen Cheney
Children & Youth Studies
International Institute of Social Studies
The Hague, Netherlands

Background:
Demand and Supply
See http://bit.ly/1iG9kB5 for more on the orphan industrial complex
Challenging ICA as ‘orphan rescue’
ICA from Uganda is typically taking a child out of one family and putting them into another. The demand for orphans,
encourages abandonment/relinquishment
jeopardizes family preservation and strengthening
disrupts development of the child protection system.
Planning further research
and advocacy
Apex of Uganda's AIDS pandemic
Jenny's story
• Exploitation of vulnerability
• Inducement/Abduction into adoption
• Re-exploitation
• Re-abduction into adoption
This ICA was interrupted (twice), but many others are orchestrated in this manner
Prezi available at http://bit.ly/making_orphans
Further reading:
Cheney, Kristen. 2014. "Giving Children a ‘Better Life’? Reconsidering social reproduction and humanitarianism in intercountry adoption."
European Journal of Development Research
26 (2):247-263.
Cheney, Kristen E. 2014. Executive summary of the International Forum on Intercountry Adoption and Global Surrogacy. In
ISS Working Paper Series / General Series
The Hague: International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University. http://hdl.handle.net/1765/77408
Cheney, Kristen. 2015. "Blood binds: Confronting the moral and political economies of orphanhood and adoption in Uganda."
Childhood.
http://chd.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/09/09/0907568215602319.abstract
Cheney, Kristen E., and Karen S. Rotabi. 2016. ‘Addicted to Orphans’: How the global orphan industrial complex jeopardizes local child protection systems. In
Conflict, Violence and Peace, Volume 11: Geographies of Children and Young People
, edited by K. Horschelmann, C. Harker and T. Skelton. Singapore: Springer
Cheney, Kristen. forthcoming.
Crying for Our Elders; African orphanhood in the age of HIV and AIDS
. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Most available at my Academia page:
https://iss.academia.edu/KristenCheney
Full transcript