Over the past sixty years, over a million ‘orphans’ were adopted by Western families from around the world. Now many are discovering their past was a lie. From the children who were stolen from their mothers during the Pinochet dictatorship, to Africa’s fake orphans, international adoption is at the heart of an unprecedented scandal. We join investigative journalists, activists and researchers in South Korea, Sweden, France, Chile, Germany, Holland and Switzerland. How did this colossal,
lucrative market manage to prosper? And why does it live on today?
Even today, women are still being manipulated, threatened or tricked into giving up babies – often with the blessing of government authorities. If fraudulent practices continue today, in spite of the Hague Convention that has regulated international adoption since 1993, it is because the system itself is flawed and intrinsically favours corruption.
In many cases, these practices are coming to light largely due to pressure from adopted children who have grown into adults. Upon discovering the dubious conditions surrounding their adoptions, many begin to search for their biological parents and demand explanations. A search now made possible thanks to social media, the internet and the availability of ancestry tracing websites.
Alongside this, we follow the case of Melissa, now in her 40s, who was adopted from Chile. Like many adoptees, her !le contains several irregularities. We follow her to Chile, where she tries to find out more about the circumstances of her adoption.