UNICEF has been very successful in marketing its cards to unsuspecting Americans, who do not know about its stance against the world’s orphans finding permanent families in the U.S. In fact, UNICEF rakes in about $16.8 million from sales of cards and related products, according to a United Nations report for 2010.
In recent years, UNICEF has taken a radical position against orphans, insisting that life in the country of birth is always preferable than life with an adoptive family in another country even when that means children are condemned to orphanages. So much for those handholding holiday cards. Good-bye, one-ness. Hello, border patrol.
Reader comments on the post are predictably divided, with many pointing out that UNICEF's policy papers support international adoption as a viable option for some children. Other readers insist we need look at UNICEF's actions, not its words.
One commenter in particular grabbed my attention. "An Adoptive Parent" wrote:
Most people don't realize that International adoptions to the US are down 60% over the last 6 years from about 23,000 children to 9,000. However there are more and more children orphaned every year. By Unicef's own estimate of the number of orphans grew from 132 Million in 2005 to 153 Million in 2009.
I did a quick fact check (or, what counts a "quick" check, given how hard it is to navigate UNICEF's site) and I verified the 2009 statistic offered by the commenter here. I couldn't locate the 2005 statistic for comparison, even though I spent more than 30 minutes scanning UNICEF's 2005 report on the state of the world's children, which I downloaded as a PDF from this page. Yet I was struck by the 2005 report's warning of an explosive orphan crisis due to AIDS -- and found NO mention of domestic or international adoption as a solution for any children.