Wednesday, August 29, 2012

US: Exporting Babies

A reminder from Mirah Riben, who blogs at Family Preservation Advocate, that the U.S. is both a sending and receiving nation in international adoption, which really seems bizarre in light of the Hague Convention's insistence that domestic adoption should be preferred over international placement:
With thousands of Americans eagerly adopting and more vying to adopt, why then are American-born babies – shockingly ­– being placed out of the US by American adoption agencies?

The United States is one of a very few nations, including Great Britain, Canada and Mexico, that both imports and exports babies for adoption, or in the parlance of adoption is both a sending and receiving nation.

* * *

Why does any American child need to be taken from his or her culture to a home in a foreign land? Is it ever in a child’s best interest or are they simply commodities being transplanted because of the greed of adoption facilitators or agencies who cannot turn down any opportunity to secure a fee of tens of thousands of dollars?

While the numbers, by all counts, are relatively low, each represents the life of a child who will grow into an adult severed from his homeland: a prosperous fully functioning democracy, not a third world country or a nation in political upheaval as are many of the sending nations. How do those adopted out of the US feel when they understand their placement effectively meant that no one in their nation of birth wanted them?

How can we rationalize this practice while America is the biggest recipient of children from other parts of the world?


Sunday Koffron Taylor said...

Honestly I am too angry to react!

Michiel said...

I fully agree that the US should take care of their own babies.

A few dozen US babies are adopted in the Netherlands each year. I've done some calculations (in Dutch: ) and my guess is that the agencies make a lot more money from intercountry adoptions than from domestic adoptions. Especially Dutch gay couples are more than happy to pay loads of money, because this is their only opportunity to become adoptive parent. Some Dutch adopters claim that 'their' birth mother preferred to have her baby adopted abroad because they think racism is less common in Europe and Canada than in the US.

Reena said...

". . .'their' birth mother preferred to have her baby adopted abroad because they think racism is less common in Europe and Canada than in the US."

I've heard this regarding adoptions from US to other countries as well. Do you have any stats on it?

Michiel said...

On the birth mothers' preference: just anecdotal evidence. It may be an argument suggested by their social workers (who were hired by the agency).
On racism: I have no stats.
Of course there's racism in Europe too, but its nature is different because of historical and cultural differences. said...

We do not know the circumstances of why these children are not going to be raised by their birth parents. We do not know if there are adoptive parents in the US who want to adopt these children? There are many unanswered questions. Adoption is gray and each case needs to be examined on it's own. There are so many blanket statements about the evils of adoption or how great and rosy things are in adoption. It could be that being adopted internationally was best for these children. We don't know.

Sharon said...

These children are not being placed by social services. From what I've read of these types of placements, the adoptive parents are being selected by the mother and/or father. These cases are still relatively few, so it may be simply that birth and adoptive parents find some connection that makes the placement attractive. And I also remember reading that some birth parents feel the child may experience less racism. I know that plenty of folks will assert that the birth parents are being coerced and/or financially enticed, but as another poster wrote, each case is unique and we don't know the circumstances.

Michiel said...

It is true that we do not know the exact circumstances. But I can assure you the Dutch, the French and the British will not send their babies abroad (but in these countries there are no private organizations that place babies either).
In 2009, US citizens adopted 2277 kids from Ethiopia. Wouldn't they suffer from racism? What is the matter with the 100 or so kids that are exported? Why can't they be adopted domestically as should be the case according to the The Hague Convention?

Anonymous said...

It sounds like these cares are all private adoptions, in which the birthparents/birthmother selected a family that lives abroad. If so, it is the birthparents/birthmom's call, and a legitimate one at that. I don't get the impression that no US families could be found to adopt these children, so that there was no choice but to look further afield to find them families, ie unlike the recent case in which healthy, white newborn infants born in Florida were adopted by Irish families because no local or American families could allegedly be found for them (um, no. US PAPs wait years for healthy infants. It's inconceivable that circa 2002-2009 no domestic families could be found for these kids).

The article doesn't mention if any of the adoptive parents are US citizens that just happen to be living abroad - I mention this only because now-former British Cabinet Minister David Milibrand (whose wife is American) and his wife privately adopted 2 newborns from the US in 2004 & 2007 and he's publically stated that the american birthparents chose his family to adopt those infants (presumably over the many American couples profiles they were presented with).

maybe said...

I keep wondering about their rights as natural born U.S. citizens. How is this affected by their being adopted abroad? Can they return to the U.S. and exercise their rights fully? How will they prove it given the history of altered birth certificates and sealed records?

As to the idea that there is less racism in Europe, I guess they never heard of skin-heads.

Sharon said...

For the record, I wasn't personally saying that I thought these children will experience less racism abroad, but rather, I've read that some birth parents cite this as a reason for choosing adoptive parents from outside the US for their child.

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