Letter: Rights and wrongs of buying babies

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Sir: I am appalled by your leading article 'Bureaucracy makes a case for buying babies' (15 July). As the article itself says, the case currently in the news relates to a couple allegedly buying a baby from her parents. How does this equate with the neglected orphans in primitive orphanages that you use as justification? Where is your evidence for the 'benign meeting of supply and demand'? Can you be sure of the good intentions of all those wou1d-be adopters who avoid bureaucracy which aims to check that they are indeed both benign and likely to be adequate as parents of someone else's child?

No doubt most of the children did go to families who were well intentioned and welcoming, although the evidence of subsequent breakdowns of some of these adoptions demonstrates that good intentions are not always enough. But without the bureaucracy you choose to denigrate, the destination and fate of children who are being sold is far from certain.

Children who are being adopted will already have lost one set of parents; they have a right to expect that those responsible for their welfare do everything they can to minimise further trauma or loss. That entails checking the background of those who wish to adopt, preparing them for the far from easy task ahead and choosing a family for each child which has the best chance of making a success of caring for him or her. Yes, this is bureaucracy and it can be time consuming. It is also necessary and purposeful.

Yours faithfully,

CHRISTINE HAMMOND

Director

British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering

London, SE1

15 July

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