Saturday, May 12, 2012

Inside the Celebrity Adoption Trend

In the midst of this celebrity-adoption story, I was surprised to find some cautionary words:
While a family with means adopting a child from an orphanage in a poor country might seem, on the surface, like the best thing for the child, not everyone agrees. Some adult adoptees from foreign countries who were brought to America in the '60s, '70s, and '80s have banded together, creating a grassroots movement over concerns that their birth parents were coerced into giving them up for adoption.

"There are a lot of people in the international adoptee community who really have some strong negative feelings about transracial and international adoption," says Johnson [described elsewhere in the article as "Deborah Johnson, a Minneapolis-based, adoption-focused social worker"], who herself was adopted from Korea as a child. "They're sitting back and being a little more cynical about it and are kind of voicing that concern. It's even more evident when you have [adoptive parents] who are super wealthy, super rich. Even on a subtle level, if you're a poor villager in Guatemala and some rich famous celebrity swoops in and says, 'I can give your child a better life,' it's pretty easy to be dazzled by that."

Though most adoptive parents follow every rule and take every precaution when adopting from outside of the country, it can be impossible to know a child's background for sure, insists Johnson. "American agencies will say, 'Well, we don't know what goes on in the intake process into orphanages. Yes, it's legitimate from the time they're into their U.S. adoption, but who knows how those kids wind up in the orphanage and what those birth parents are told about all of that."

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