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The international adoption system has broken down

Superstars like Angelina Jolie have put international adoption in the spotlight. But a new documentary says the system is in deep trouble.

Napp Nazworth

August 2, 2012

Catholic Church News Image of The international adoption system has broken down

At a Congressional preview hosted by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) Tuesday, guests had the opportunity to view “Stuck,” a documentary exposing the broken system of international adoption. Some of the families and adopted children featured in the film were also there, along with Foster Friess, a billionaire philanthropist who helped fund the film.

“Members of Congress disagree on many issues, but one we can all agree on is that every child does need a protective and loving family,” Landrieu, head of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, told the audience in remarks before the viewing. “Governments do many things well, raising children is not one of them. Children are best raised under the watchful eye, loving arms, of parents or at least one responsible adult that will help them to learn how to be a productive and successful human being,”

The documentary was the brainchild of Craig Juntunen, founder of Both Ends Burning Foundation, an organization that promotes adoption. The purpose of the film is to “get the word out” and expose the issue of the troubled international adoption system, Juntunen told The Christian Post. Juntunen noted how other recent documentaries have been successful at bringing awareness to issues, such as “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Waiting for Superman.”

“Stuck” will publicly debut at Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival on Aug. 3. It is expected to premiere nationwide in Nov. 2012.

Seven out of 10 Americans believe that inter-country adoption is on the rise, Juntunen said, when, in fact, the numbers have dropped dramatically. International adoptions to the United States have dropped 60 percent since 2004, going from 22,991 to only 9,319 in 2011.

The film points to many culprits that explain the decline, including the U.S. State Department, UNICEF, a United Nations agency designed to help children, and the Hague Treaty. The Hague Treaty was begun by the United Nations to bring transparency, clarity and coordination to the inter-country adoption process. Landrieu introduced the bill that brought the United States into the treaty, but expressed regret in the film after seeing the results.

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