4 the World blog

Empowering collaborative communities

The Controversy of International Adoption

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Celebrities do it.  My friends do it.  I am even doing it.  So, what is the controversy with international adoption?  

On a sociological and economical level, children are the future of a country.  Human resource is a resource.  Human capital is capital.  If a country is losing their children to another country, then the country is losing the gifts and talents inherent in those children.  Culturally, we pass on our values and beliefs through our family structure and our heritage is part of our identity.  People who are raised in another country will possibly miss out on learning about their ethnic heritage.

And tragically, babies have been stolen and then taken to adoption agencies where the thief acting as mother receives compensation for her “medical needs.”  A rotten apple spoils the bunch and a bit of tragedy can ruin international adoption policy between nations.

Even though I hope to adopt, I realize that if a mother is forced to adoption because of poverty, this is a problem.  (If a mother chooses adoption though completely empowered to care for the child, that is a different story.)  I am passionate about education of the underprivileged on an international level. Through girls’ education and empowerment, we can not only decrease the poverty level but also decrease the number of children categorized as orphans, meaning parents will live longer and be more financially able. The best solution to a problem is a solution that stops the root of the problem.

Instead of hitting the root, poverty, some countries have dissolved international adoption programs. Foster programs have been implemented with government support, which could be good.  But when taken to an extreme, the results are the opposite of the intended.  In order to promote fostering and “solve” the problem of institutionalization, an African nation actually put international adoption on hold and outlawed orphanages.  This, however, created more street kids who did not have a home and were then not allowed to stay in nonprofit group homes or be adopted by American families.

Why did multicultural or international adoption begin?  Some cultures have a mindset of helping one’s family but not people outside of their own bloodline.  This means that adoption is not part of their social paradigm.  Furthermore, some countries were hit hard by HIV/AIDS or natural disaster and did not have an infrastructure to care for the sudden number of orphans within their borders.  Because there are more Americans that wish to adopt than American infants to adopt, the average wait time for a domestic infant adoption is 2 years, international became a means of adoption for the hopeful parents and orphaned children.

Whenever I bring up adoption, the response has been, “It’s a shame adoption is so costly and so difficult.  They should make it easier for people to adopt.”  Yes and no.  While there are for-profit agencies that are exploiting Americans, most agencies are nonprofits.  More importantly, the 3 home visits, 4 background checks and 567 question psychological test are to protect the child from abusers.  There are policies regarding adoption that can be improved, but there are also policies that were created for good reason.


Author: 4 the World

4 the World identifies and collaborates with communities across the globe to empower them to identify and solve the most pressing needs of their communities within the areas of health and education. By partnering with the communities in these areas, we provide critical support and capacity-building initiatives to ensure these communities are capable of continuing to grow and thrive in the future.

One thought on “The Controversy of International Adoption

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