Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The U.S. as Sending Country

The headline in the Irish Times reads, Adoption body sent delegation to US.  So why do you think the Adoption Authority of Ireland sent a delegation to the U.S.?  They are newly-Hague-accredited, maybe they want our advice?  No, they want our children:
THE ADOPTION Authority of Ireland (AAI) sent a delegation to the US last week to discuss inter-country adoption with officials there.

The delegation was headed by its chairman, Geoffrey Shannon.

It is understood there is an increased level of interest from Irish couples in adopting from the US.
The fact that the U.S. is a receiving country in international adoption, that U.S. citizens adopt children from abroad, is very well known.  Less well known is the fact that the U.S. is also a sending country, with children born in the U.S. being adopted abroad.  Statistics from the State Department peg out-going adoptions at a very low level:  25 kids in 2008, 26 kids in 2009, 43 children in 2010.   Children from the U.S. were adopted to Austria, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, United Kingdom & South Africa. The State Department even publishes a Guide to Outgoing Cases from the United States.

A few weeks ago I chided South Korea for placing children for international adoption:
The fact that South Korea, one of the most economically prosperous countries in the world, in fact, the 4th largest economy in the world, cannot take care of its own children is a tragedy. We're not talking here about a war-torn, economically impoverished, "third world" country, with millions of orphans languishing in orphanages. We're talking about an idustrialized nation, a high-tech nation where 98% of the population is literate, 86% of the population is urban, where less than 0.1% has HIV/AIDS. Does this look like the picture we have of a country that "needs" international adoption?

So what does it say that the U.S. places children in international adoption?


Anonymous said...

Is it possible that the adoptions from the U.S. are birth families choosing to send their children abroad for reasons such as racism, etc.? I assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that the kids sent abroad were done so by birth families who felt that their children would have a better life outside the U.S.


Anonymous said...

A few years ago Dutch newspapers reported that in the most of these cases the birthmothers distinctly chose European a-parents for their children.

A very popular Dutch gay comedian (Paul de Leeuw http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_de_Leeuw ) adopted two boys from the US. Maybe this is a possible explication, why so many Ducht couples seem to adopt from the US?

This is the homepage of a German couple that adopted two American children:
Here is a (German) article about the family;

Anonymous said...

A few years back I watched a televised special highlighting this very fact.

Anon. is correct. Most of these children placed outside of the U.S. are of African American descent and their birth families felt the children would face less racial discrimination if adopted abroad.

It followed 2 biological brothers adopted from the U.S. to a Canadian family and in this instance, both children had contact and had visited with their biological family.

Ironically, though they were young, they both and their adoptive familiy cited the largest concern for them to be the loss of their American culture.


Theodore said...

Well, Paul de Leeuw was not a starter, but Dutch same-sex couples had it pretty hard to find adoptable babies, they were for a long time discriminated against in international adoption, and though equal righted in the Domestic pool, their equal chances were as small there as anybody else's. The USA was about the only source country to them on the whole world.

(4 Dutch to the USA, well over a hundred from the USA to the Netherlands in the same set of years)

Michiel said...

Dutch couples pay over $50,000 for adoptions of American children. So, it is not so difficult to guess why these children are not adopted domestically. It should stop asap, since kids are no merchandise. The Dutch government failed to tackle this issue after a successful lobby of Paul de Leeuw and other homosexuals. Hopefully it works better from the US side.

Anonymous said...

I am an adoptive Canadian parent of a girl from China. I know a handful of parents that adopted from the USA through my adoption agency. They chose to go with a US adoption and were picked by the birthmother (the adoptions all had some level of openess).

Generally speaking it appears that many of the birthmothers felt that the child would have a "better" (less racism for example) life outside the US.

Racism does exist here, but Canadians do have a different political history and approach to diversity and multi-culturalism. Maybe that was appealing to the birthmoms?

In addition, our quality of life generally scores high on international scales. Maybe that was appealing to the birthmoms too?

Anonymous said...

I don't like it when any child loses their culture and heritage through adoption.

But it is a wakeup call to Americans who view international adoption as "saving children" from other countries they don't know about and may judge based on their misunderstandings. Of the 20 riches democracies in the world, the U.S. ranks 20th in child welfare. We're not this wondrous entity that has it so much more right than every other country, though we like to think.

Dee said...

I'm not sure I understand why this is even a concern. The children are getting [one hopes] good homes to grow up in and loving families. What difference does it make what language they speak?

The real tragedy is that we still have thousands of children in foster care caught in a system that works very badly, and they will never be adopted. They will grow up to fill our prisons. Now THAT is a tragedy.

Anonymous said...

Also, many Europeans/Canadians/Australians who are wealthy and want to adopt have found there are not "healthy infants" available for domestic adoption in their own countries. Money talks, and there are pregnant women who are moved to generous cost of living allowance states by attorneys who specialize in overseas placements. The foreign family pays an exorbitant amount of money and ends up adopting a baby. Money talks, and when cost is no object, babies are procured from US pregnant women to be shipped overseas. Frankly it doesn't say anything generic about the US--you don't think US couples would adopt these 25-43 kids a year? Of course they would! They just don't have the money to pay the six figure price tag on each child.

LilySea said...

The agency we adopted to sends children abroad. Judging from those tiny numbers, I'd say they send a good quarter of the total, in fact. What I know about it in talking to the workers at our (tiny) agency, is that European couples/singles wait exactly the same way U.S. Americans wait for babies and pay the exact same costs to our agency as domestic couples. In fact, they are less likely to be chosen by first parents because most who want openness are not eager to send their children so far away. More often,t eh Europeans end up with babies who were safe haven abandonments or otherwise closed situations.
There are in fact more than enough U.S. prospective families for these babies. The agency simply wants to give an opportunity to parent to people who otherwise couldn't--because they are single, or queer or already have 10 children, or whatever (many of these factors keep some people from adopting).
I don't agree or disagree with it. I know a European gay couple with an African American girl born in Chicago and they are a fabulous family (in fact, they are an interracial couple, as one of them is Arican and one Spanish.)
It certainly looks and sounds awful to say "gee the U.S. is sending Black babies abroad and then adopting Chinese ones," but given the numbers and the fact that behind every baby our agency sends to Europe, there is a waiting list a mile long of U.S. parents who would have been happy to be at the top of the list that day. It is not because these babies were unwanted here that they went abroad.

Mei Ling said...

"The children are getting [one hopes] good homes to grow up in and loving families."

"The real tragedy is that we still have thousands of children in foster care caught in a system that works very badly."

Unless you adopted from overseas directly pertaining from foster care (and I don't recall you doing so in your previous comments on other blogs), I don't see what those two statements have to do with each other.

Foster care isn't even the same as orphanage care, and orphanage care isn't the same as a family being helpless enough to "give up" their child for overseas adoption. Three different topic strands, there.

"What difference does it make what language they speak?"

When they've grown up? A lot.

But then again, we've been over this multiple ways at other blogs. All that matter is love, right?

Funny, I wonder why all those adult adoptees blog exist, then.