January 27, 2009

Are international adoption agencies part of an "Orphan Manufacturing Chain"?

[This post was originally published here on January 13. We withdrew it because it was submitted to another venue, but it is now available to be re-published here, with some minor edits. - admin]

Although there is no accurate number of infant domestic placements here in the U.S., it is estimated to be about 14,000 per year. If women here in the U.S., who have access to Medicaid, food stamps, Women Infant Children, and other safety net programs choose adoption for their infants, why is it so hard  to believe that in impoverished countries there are single women who would choose to place their infants for adoption?

In the U.S.  there are 126,000 mostly older and special needs children in our social service system who also need to be adopted. Likewise, in other countries, there are more older children and special needs children available for adoption. But that does not make infant and toddler adoption wrong. In fact, if more women chose adoption at birth, perhaps there would not be so many children in the social services system here in the U.S. and in orphanages overseas.

It is interesting that as more data are available that empirically demonstrate the problems associated with children's being in orphanages and having multiple caregivers, there are more advocates against infant/toddler international adoption.

Although there is no accurate number of infant domestic placements here in the U.S., it is estimated to be about 14,000 per year. If women here in the U.S., who have access to Medicaid, food stamps, Women Infant Children Program, and other safety net programs, choose adoption for their infants, why is it so hard to believe that there are also single women in impoverished countries who choose to place their infants for adoption?

In the U.S. there are 126,000 mostly older and special needs children in our social service system who are waiting for adoptive homes. Likewise, in other countries, there are more older children and special needs children needing families. But that does not make infant and toddler adoption wrong. In fact, if more women chose adoption at birth, perhaps there would not be so many children in the social services system here in the U.S. and in orphanages overseas.

Interestingly, as more data are available that empirically demonstrate the profound and pervasive problems associated with children's being raised in orphanages and having multiple caregivers, there also seems to be a growing number of critics of international placement of infants and young children.

Should not child advocates focus their attention on finding good and safe homes for  young children while taking measures to eliminate corruption -- instead of "throwing the baby out with the bath water?"

0 comments on “Are international adoption agencies part of an "Orphan Manufacturing Chain"?”

  1. Thank you for that excellent response, Laura. I've seen this article so many times, and each time I am struck by the shallow quality of the "research".

  2. I agree that international adoption is crucial for providing hope for children who otherwise would not have hope. Were it not for international adoption, I fear we would have far more children living on the streets, much as they do in countries such as Brazil.

    Let's hope the Hague Treaty will bring about a compromise that prevents corruption in the system while still allowing children the opportunity to have a happy childhood with loving parents.

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