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Overseas Babies Displace U.S. Orphans

Americans should adopt hard-to-place U.S. kids who are older or have special needs instead of fueling an international market for healthy infants. Pro or con?

Pro: Look Homeward, Adopters

There are 114,000 children in the U.S. waiting to be adopted from foster care, yet we are stepping over the children in our own localities to find infants abroad. Myths about children in foster care and highly publicized celebrity adoptions divert our attention from children in the U.S.

Too many Americans believe the fiction about adopting from foster care—it costs too much, the biological parents will return to claim their children, the children are juvenile delinquents or unadoptable, and the foster care system challenges don’t merit the effort. Here are the facts:

• Unlike the tens of thousands of dollars parents pay to adopt infants internationally or domestically, the cost of adopting kids from foster care remains minimal. Expenses are covered by the agency holding custody, and increasingly there are financial supports for families, including subsidies, tax credits, workplace benefits, and scholarships.

• Children waiting for adoption from the U.S. foster care system have been legally, permanently separated from their families of birth, who cannot challenge the final termination.

• America’s waiting children are older, may be a part of a sibling group, and may have emotional or physical challenges. They reside with foster parents or relatives and in homes, group settings, or at times, in institutional care.

• These kids have arrived in this system through no fault of their own but rather as a result of abuse or neglect. Because we have not stepped forward to embrace them, many move from placement to placement. Every waiting child is adoptable. How dare we say the system, a system created and underfinanced by us, is not worth the challenges?

Each year, more than 20,000 children in America’s foster care system turn age 18 and are released without the safety net of family. We then wonder why so many end up underemployed, undereducated, or homeless.

There are 114,000 wonderful reasons to consider foster care adoption in the U.S. We must solve this crisis by assuming responsibility for the children in our own backyards.

Con: Different Kids, Same Needs

I take issue with the assumption that Americans who can’t, or don’t want to, give birth to children should adopt hard-to-place U.S. kids instead of “fueling an international market for healthy infants.”

There is no international market for healthy infants. Yes, I do believe that, while it’s not an epidemic, in some cases, babies are stolen or bought from poor birth mothers in the U.S. and abroad, resulting in profit. In response, there has been increasing attention to the implementation of best practice in adoption, i.e., Hague regulations for inter-country adoption and improved state laws for domestic adoption, limiting expenditures to pre-natal care for the birth mother.

Furthermore, the mean age of children adopted from orphanages abroad is not in the infant group, and as an adoption medicine specialist, I would say the health of these children ranges greatly. Most kids adopted from abroad are toddlers who likely have special needs.

Many families, my own included, have adopted older children who have lost their families to tuberculosis, malaria, or AIDS. Many children have low birth weights or are premature, exposed to alcohol, and born without prenatal care. They are admitted to orphanages where they are further malnourished, unstimulated, and emotionally and physically abused by the lack of intimacy and social connections in orphanages.

These deficiencies lead to developmental delays and attachment issues. Kids in orphanages abroad are very resilient and can catch up over time within a loving family, but they often require early intervention and special education. That said, the majority of them are ultimately healed here in the U.S., through the hard work of parents who are devoted, educated, and committed to advocacy.

Why would anyone think that children without parents or families are more needy in one part of the world than in any another part of the world? There are 150 million children without parental care living in the world. They all qualify equally as needy.

Directives should be about how we need to solve this problem. No child in this world should be without a family.

Opinions and conclusions expressed in the Debate Room do not necessarily reflect the views of BusinessWeek,, or The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Reader Comments


Based on personal observation of people who adopted--and a lot of those who I had observed had adopted overseas children--I noticed one trend: They tend to want a blue-eyed, blond-haired baby first. Failing that, they go overseas for a baby. They avoid the Eastern European states as they have all heard horror stories about behavioral problems. So they mostly go for the "second" white choice--the Asians. Typical attitudes in adoption.


Overseas adoptees know we are third choice, no matter how many gotcha day parties are thrown. Parents want their own children. Second choice--domestic adoption. Third choice--turn to the Third World. Adoption was supposed to be about finding families for children. Now it's all about finding babies for infertiles. Don't get me wrong, I love my adoptive parents and had a good life, but I know what the score was. I was not chosen, special, or lucky. I was next in line as the band-aid for their infertility.

Jane Adams

Public agency adoption is very different from private agency/international adoption--the reality is that the public agency doesn't have legally free infants, the choice of many adoptive families. In addition, the route to adoption via the public agency may likely be fostering for a period of time as the agency wants children to be in a home that can be permanent if reunification/relative placement is ruled out. The legal system, which in many states strongly favors biological parents, can be enormously frustrating and scary. Nonetheless, public agency adoption--as the writer points out--has many advantages, including its low cost or no cost, access to lots of information about the child and his or her background, and the possibility of an ongoing monthly subsidy and medical insurance. People just don't know what wonderful children are available through the public system. And too few consider the joys of adopting an older child. As a 15-year-old once said to me, even teenagers want to be adopted. I don't want to knock international adoption, but let's not forget that the children in our underfunded, under-resourced foster care system belong to all of us.

rene howitt

The U.S. government and each individual state government is going to have to admit that our current system of dealing with abused and neglected children is failing. Family Service is always the fall guy. The only way this system can ever truly be fixed is for our lawmakers and judges to utilize the current laws in favor of the children. If this can't happen under the current laws, then let's work to change them. Parental rights must be removed for a child to be available for adoption. Getting children into permanent homes is the only way to end the foster care nightmares.

Foster care was never meant to be a long-term solution. It was suppose to be a temporary placement until the children could be reunited with their parents or available for adoption. The law assumes what is in the "best interest" of the child is "family reunification." However, the courts consistently rule in favor of the parents, making it take years to sever the parental rights. So the question is: How many chances do these parents need to get their acts together? The courts and law tend to forget the child is losing precious years of childhood that can never be regained.

When you have so many children lingering in foster care and in need of foster care, then Family Service is forced to allow marginal people to become foster parents. Couple this with the behavior problems children have just from their own parents and then displacement, and you have created a formula for all these problems.

The bottom line is that our Congressional representatives are going to have to admit that the current reunification plan that has been in effect for decades is not working. If so, wouldn't we be seeing better results by now? Perhaps instead of "Parental Rights Laws" we should have "Children Rights Laws" that apply to children who are abused and neglected.

More Americans would be interested in U.S. adoptions if dealing with our own system had a better reputation. It maybe true that dealing with an international adoption ends up being just as tough and more expensive, but people are hopeful going in that it won't be. Because of our own system's history and reputation, people are willing to take a chance on an international adoption being easier. As people are starting to see this may not be true, our own government needs to take advantage of this information and clean up our own system.


Private international adoption agencies tread in very murky areas of the law where little enforcement of regulations is taking place. Currently there is more enforcement of regulations for used car lots than for these agencies who generated $2.3 billion in the USA alone and $6.5 billion worldwide.

In the last 12 months, we have had six agencies closed down by the U.S. Attorney's office for RICO violations (human racketeering and other fraud charges). This last week ROTIA/Child Promise (Reaching Out Through International Adoption) was just closed--for good reason.

There are not many criteria for private adoption agencies to open or apply for licensing. They pay a fee and never usually hear from their state's Social Service licensing division until their fees are due again. Many of these executive directors of agencies have not much education past high school, have never adopted, and don't posses a degree in social work. Nonetheless, they are allowed to pass judgment to their clients or allow the rich and famous to purchase an approved home study.

Falsifying of records is commonplace with private agencies. There are many countries that have closed down their adoption programs because of these agencies' throwing money around for purchasing of referrals of healthy infants in Guatemala, Russia, Vietnam (just had 26 NOIDS issued by the USCIS), and many more.

Groups like Joint Council and Council on Accreditation are on the honor system and run by lobby-paid membership from adoption agencies.


Sorry, TRA, that you don't feel chosen, special, or lucky. Those are the words we use in describing our feelings of our child adopted internationally. Without him, we would be like your parents, would have been without you--childless. No one chooses infertility. We choose to be parents the way our hearts lead after the diagnosis of infertility. Our son is our son, no distinction. We don't "keep score" as I'm sure from the "good life" you had, your parents do not, either. Shame on you for your attitude. If you see yourself as some band-aid, maybe you need some self-esteem help. Or maybe less self-absorption. And your poor parents with the gotcha-day parties. We will continue with ours--the best day of our lives.


I've adopted three times, twice domestically and once internationally.

Both domestic adoptions were through foster care. Both took over a year each and included such ups and downs as a junkie mother being allowed to pitch a fit in the courtroom, the agency attempting to get away with removing the youngest child in a sibling group to place with a married couple, a judge who had "reservations" about a single male adopting, and a social worker who never showed up for two different home inspections. I estimate that the first adoption cost somewhere around $50,000 due to the incompetency of the agency in not making sure the birth mother knew she had no rights. The second cost around $25,000.

Last year I adopted internationally--$14,000, in and out, over and done with in less than six months.

If I were to adopt again--which with eight kids, I don't plan on doing--I would go the international route again. The system in the U.S. is hopelessly broken, overrun by the religious right, and just as corrupt as any international agency.

Children are all the same. It makes no difference whether you adopt in the U.S. or in another country. If a child needs a family, that child is in need and deserves to be adopted just as much as any other child. Unfortunately that leaves potential parents to consider the cost, both monetary and emotional, of completing the adoption. Currently, adopting domestically is seen as more difficult, time consuming, and costly, especially for parents not fitting the "married Christians" mold. All the system is doing is ensuring that needy children in the U.S. are left without enough families to go around, while potential parents go abroad instead.


There are so many kids in this country waiting for adoption. They are not babies, but they need homes.


After reading the two points of view and the comments by readers, I am still not sure which type of adoption is better and which is worse. Hopefully, the U.S. foster care system will undergo a major redesign to both protect the rights of the child and make it easier and emotionally attractive for prospective parents to consider domestic adoption out of foster care. Birth parents should have no more than a couple of chances to change their minds or their lives. Emotional roller coasters are not something a child should undergo at all.

Although I do not want to pass judgment, I'd like to posit one point to potential parents who wish to adopt infants or toddlers only: No matter their age, these children will be your own after adoption. As such, they are yours to love fully, yours to raise and influence in your own way (something that all parents do to their children), yours to care for and worry about, yours to give all the best you can give them, and yours to discipline when needed and tend to their emotional needs when that is necessary (and trust me, that will happen regardless of the age of the child when he or she was adopted).

Don't reserve your unconditional love for infants and toddlers only; older children and teenagers are just as capable of returning your affection as is a baby. As long as they know you love them unconditionally, they will let their defenses down.

Keith Hinkle

Many children need adopting, locally and internationally. Many international children suffer abuse and neglect, too. Unlike in the USA, there are not good systems to take care of the many uncared for children in many countries around the world, and thousands of children in some countries roam the streets and are homeless and helpless. We must do what we can wherever we can to see that children are raised in a loving home where possible. The future of the world depends on it. As the father of an 18-year-old adopted son from the USA, I can tell you that all children need us and deserve a chance for a family. As director of an adoption program that serves children in the state of Tennessee's care, children from the Philippines and couples wanting to adopt domestically and internationally, I rejoice when any sincere family calls and wants to adopt. Praise God for them, for the children's sake.


As a mentor for seven years to a teenage boy in foster care, I have witnessed the emotional distress that results from a mother's carelessness and inability to complete tasks required of the court to get her child back. My mentee was put in foster care at the age of 2. Now he is 18, free, and wants to go home to start his childhood.

I do agree that limiting the number of chances a birth mother has to get her act together might give more kids the chance at a normal life. After a certain age, the accumulative mental damage from being abandoned gives him a very slim chance of being adopted at all.

My mentee, like many foster children, speaks positively about his mother. His mother is a sacred figure to him, and like many foster children, he is protective of her, and he believes she is doing the best she can.

More than anything, my mentee wanted parents to love him unconditionally. Although he desperately wanted a real family, he still hung on to the belief that one day his real mother would come. I do believe that it could have been possible for adoptive parents to have turned his life around, but they would have had to be respectful of the power of his birth mother connection, and this takes a heavy dose of selflessness. My mentee is a brilliant, witty, sweet guy, but all my mentoring might not keep him out of jail in the future.


My wife and I had three kids the old-fashioned way and then adopted two more. All five entered my home as newborns. All five are loved equally, and I pull my hair out in equal measures for all of them at different times. We chose adoption. We had no problem with fertility (three kids in four years).

My three biological kids are white, while my two adoptive kids are African American.

When we first went to the adoption agency, they gave us a two-page checklist of characteristics we were willing to accept: race, age, deaf, blind, club foot, etc., and we were told to check Yes, No, or Maybe. This is a very sobering document, because each time you check No, it means that you are unwilling to be a parent to a particular type of child.

When we gave a yes answer to all races/colors, the agency called us on the phone and said, "You understand that this means you'll get a black baby?" Apparently nobody checks Yes on the African American box. We didn't care what color the kids were; we just wanted a reasonably healthy kid younger than 6 months. Both adoptions are open and we have a good relationship with all the birth parents, grandparents, uncles, etc. The openness has evolved over time--we were pretty skittish at first.

My message to everyone who adopts internationally: Sit down and be honest with yourself. Adopting a black-skinned baby from the USA is easy and doesn't have to involve foster care or CPS. But you choose to go out of the country to find a white or Asian baby if:

You don't want a black baby.
You want to make sure the birth parents are very far away.
You're willing to pay a very large sum of money, fly half way around the world, and deal with passports and paperwork.

I have a huge amount of respect for those who are willing to adopt/foster kids who have been removed from their bio parents. We were not willing to take that step.


I am the oldest of six adopted kids, all American-born. Seems to me headline-hungry celebs like Madonna and Angelina Jolie could provide a big boost to domestic adoptions if they would restrict their adoption efforts to taking in needy American children. Heck, with the dollars they have, they could afford to adopt and care for a whole friggin' American orphanage full of 'em.


My cousins adopted internationally, believing the myth that American parents will yank their children back.

One cousin adopted two from Romania. Both had mental problems so severe that they had to be institutionalized and made wards of the state. Not the state that they came from, but the state they were adopted into.

Another cousin adopted from Russia. The boy was mentally okay, but the Russians lied about the state of his health. He has hepatitis. His medical condition can't be cheap to treat.

We're the suckers when we adopt internationally. We pay all this money to adopt someone else's rejects, and we won't pay to fix our own kids.


"Someone else's rejects." That's a pretty harsh comment to make about any child whether domestic or international. They aren't rejects. The main problem with the U.S. is the overwhelming need for the open adoptions. I feel that it complicates the whole scenario. International adoption forces the parents to relinquish rights.


As a possible foster-care parent in the United States of America, I find that the problem is too big for anyone to point a finger at.

Fact: There are more than 300 children ready to be adopted in Michigan at any given time. Fact: The number of children around the world to be adopted is staggering to comprehend. Fact: There are not enough foster-care and adoptive families in the world to take care of those who need it.

The big picture is one that some countries have already worked on, family planning and family downsizing. Everyone wants more money for schools, better teachers, fewer people on welfare, better health care--the list is endless.

A little family planning will help fix a lot of that. Fewer children being born means fewer children in schools, means better education. Fewer pregnant teens means better education. Fewer pregnant teens means fewer people on welfare. Better-educated teens will most likely end up well educated and possibly teachers.

Sure, what I looked at was only a small part of the problem, but if everyone on the planet was fixed after having two kids, the world would be a better place. Of course, religious leaders, personal freedoms, and a general outlook on life would all have to change, and I do not think that any of them can agree on what is for lunch, let alone taking on a world problem like this.

I believe both systems are flawed. The local adoption system in America can take as little as three months to as much as four years. International adoptions seem to be quicker, but very questionable.


I think all of the people with the loudest voices against abortion should be adopting. Why don't more churches advocate adopting these children, anyway?


Who is to say that an American child is more worthy of parents and a family than a child in another part of the world? With children, there are no borders. Each family decides what is best for the family, whether internationally or domestically or through the foster care system. We are all called to care for orphans wherever they are, at home or abroad. My own personal feeling, though, is that in America, it is easier to get on with your life when you reach a certain age, where in many of these countries in economic straits, it is much more difficult for a child who was institutionalized most of his life to make it out in the world, without family, job skills, and the stigma attached to being an orphan. In America, it is easier to do this. God bless the children. Don't waste time quibbling over where is the right place to adopt a child from. Just do it.

Peter in ROMANIA

First off, I object to the term "market." That already speaks volumes about the attitudes of the author regarding children and especially children without permanent families. The important thing for every child, and it has been scientifically demonstrated by Dr. Dana Johnson and others to be in every child's best interests, is to grow up in a permanent family no matter in which country that family may reside. I agree wholeheartedly with LMK: "Don't waste time quibbling over where is the right place to adopt a child from. Get every one possible into a permanent family as soon as possible."


Well, I disagree with Dante, and I have numerous pictures to prove it. The vast majority of U.S. adopters who I know have adopted dark-haired, dark-eyed, dark-skinned children. Typical ignorant (and I mean that in the "unknowing" sense) attitude of someone who just doesn't get it.


There are a couple of points that need to be highlighted from both sides of the story. From the pro side, Soronen's comment: "We are stepping over the children in our own localities to find infants abroad." From the con side, Aronson's comment: "There are 150 million children without parental care living in the world. They all qualify equally as needy." These and other comments from both sides infuriate me. To restate: We have the kids in need here (U.S.). There are the kids in need elsewhere (international). As an American, I wanted to adopt one of our own, here, as there are frequent pleas from the authorities, stating the need for parents to adopt these kids. Could I? No. Was there even going to be any investigation into my background? No. And those hypocrites turn right around and put out more pleas for adoptive families, saying there aren't enough. They refused to investigate the possibility that I just might be suitable. What was I to do? I was accepted for an international program, passed the investigation, and adopted a child internationally. (Yes, the child had delays. Ten years later, the child has more than caught up, and is being considered for membership in the National Honor Society.) Next step: I want the child to have a sibling. Again, I try to go through the system here, thinking that the fact that I am now a successful adoptive parent might enable me to help one of our own in need. Here. The reaction: No. Same story. Regardless of experience. And still the hypocrites beg for more adoptive parents. Again, I was accepted for an international program, passed the investigation, and was matched with another child--a sibling for my child. We traveled and met the child. Imagine the devastation that the three of us experienced when Romania closed international adoptions--including those in process and nearing completion, in effect spitting in the face of more than 1,000 families. So now, neither a U.S. child nor a child overseas has a permanent, loving family. The lame mantra from the "authorities": "the best interest of the child." So the "best interest of the child" means living in limbo in foster care or an orphanage. It means keeping people apart who love each other. What greater sin could there be than to deny someone the opportunity to help and love another human being who wants to in good faith? International hypocrites. Romanian hypocrites.American hypocrites. The children are living in hell while the authorities have their nice jobs in the ivory towers. The children need permanent, loving homes. For those who prevent well-meaning people from helping and loving others, there is already a home ahead--in hell.


Prior to my inter-country adoption seven years ago, I investigated adopting in the U.S. through our foster care system as a single mother. Although I was not looking to adopt a baby, I did want the privilege of experiencing the toddler years. Each child referred to me was over the age of 7 and had a history of three or more serious issues: sexual abuse, physical abuse, severe developmental delays, severe psychiatric issues, a severe physical disability, or was part of a sibling group and I would have had to adopt three or more children. A serious point that needs to be made is that although state health care insurance would be provided for the child until 18, the doctors who accept this insurance are limited and not always those who are best qualified to treat these issues. Additionally, as a single parent, I would have limited time to deal with weekly assorted doctor's appointments on a long term basis and the subsequent long term behavioral and emotional issues and/or physical and psychological therapies that come with these diagnoses. Sadly, in all countries but in particular the U.S. in this discussion, we continue to force abused children to remain with their biological, dysfunctional, and abusive families until they face great odds of ever overcoming the permanent damage that has been inflicted upon them. While I have an immense amount of respect and admiration for any parent who chooses to adopt within our foster care system, I deeply resent anyone telling me where I should have adopted my child. I find that those who do question why I didn't adopt from the U.S. are not adoptive parents and would never consider adopting a child from our state care system. For the record, my daughter is dark haired and a Hungarian/Romanian Roma (gypsy). The bottom line is every child deserves a permanent family--no matter what country they're from or where their prospective parents may reside. And we need to tighten our own laws so that those parents who are found to be abusing their children have their rights severed immediately and are not given repeated opportunities to permanently damage their children.


The American public buys into the paternal imperialistic point of view of white Westerners and their brainwashed people of color-followers, that Chinese orphans must be saved from the horrors of Chinese culture, the Communist government, and the totality of us so-called heathens.

In reality, this is institutionalized racist imperialism, much like what the missionaries did in the past and what Western governments did to the aboriginal peoples in North America, South America, Australia, etc.

It would not be too far fetched to believe that there is some neo-conservative think tank that initiated and facilitated this practice to utilize these children sometime in the future, when they grow into adulthood.


Why adopt from "Third World" countries? For many of these children, it is a matter of life and death. State-run institutions simply do not have enough money for these children. In fact, there are still many children in these countries living on the street--many who are malnourished, many who are unable to go to school even if they wish to do so. There are many who are forced to work at such a young age because it is the only way they will survive.


We have adopted both internationally (Romania) and domestically (through foster care). I can honestly say that it was much easier to adopt internationally than it was to adopt through the foster care system--both pre- and post-adoption. The foster care system had us jumping through hoops constantly. It took more than two years of meetings and court dates missed by the birth mother before a judge finally said "enough" and terminated her rights. As far as the health and well being of the children, our internationally adopted daughter and our foster care son--both of whom came to us at the age of 2.5 years--were both scarred mentally and emotionally by their time in the system. Both have learning problems and both have social problems, but the biggest problem is our son's attachment issues, which stem from his having been moved five times in the first 2.5 years of his life.

So, international vs foster care. You do the math.


With only 114,000 children available for adoption and with roughly 90 million evangelical Christians in the U.S., I would think there would be a waiting list a mile long for each of these kids. And even with a good portion of those kids' being black, it should cut the list down to about a quarter mile per child. And with special needs, you'd think a whole church would take them under their wing. What am I missing here? And they say this is a Christian nation.


We (my husband of 20 years and I) tried to adopt an older child in the state of Alabama. We started the process more than five years ago. My friends who started trying to adopt from China at the same time we started have their second child now. I was willing to take an older child; my friends wanted infants. I could rant for hours about the red tape, but instead I will give you one short example. When parents are approved to adopt in Alabama, their names and vital information is written on a 3"x5" card and put in an old library catalog file drawer in Montgomery. When one of the two adoption coordinators in Alabama starts looking for a parent to match with an available child, they drive to Montgomery and flip through the paper file catalog. Is it any wonder that kids wait for years while good parents wait for years also?


When we adopted our sons, we simply wanted what every couple who intentionally conceives wants: babies. We weren't heroic; being infertile didn't make us any more prepared to take on the special needs of older children than couples who conceive. Did I wish we felt able? Of course, but we admitted our limitations.

To imply that all adoptive parents should take special-needs children from the U.S. foster system is as ludicrous as implying those who conceive should also adopt a foster child. That's a dangerous presumption of abilities.


We are part of a fos-adopt family program that works with foster children and with the potential to adopt. I wish I could tell you the stories I know or the things our family has dealt with. I've testified at our state level to make changes to the system and help these children we love. There are no easy answers and as any judge will tell you, no case is the same. We are doing our best to protect the parents' rights and children's rights, and stay out of the fire that selfish individuals put into laws. I could not tell you how many times my wife and I have cried and prayed for the children we help and how sometimes the system works or fails. We have to remember that we are human, and as such, we make mistakes. We hope and pray love will strengthen those who will become foster parents, those who help them, and the families who have lost these children, for I know their hearts are in pain, too.


My thoughts have considered many things reading these comments. We are foster parents, and I found this looking to see if the U.S. considers its fatherless children orphans. Personally, my heart is for the children here, and at the beginning of our foster care journey, we had many conditions set for what we were willing to accept. After four years and 40 children, we have eliminated those conditions. We came to foster care after emptying our nest, and loved the emptiness. We have five of our own children, 16 grandchildren, are in process of adopting two of our foster children. We have two boys who are brothers who still hope for reunification, and every day is a struggle. We know that reunification is not in their best interest. But we want to impart hope and a future to them, so they will be better equipped regardless their outcome.


I think people should not adopt overseas. This is because if these people continue to adopt overseas, the foster homes in America will get overcrowded and some children may get thrown out. People go for overseas because they think that it would be cool to have an Asian kid. But if you're not home-tutoring an overseas adoption, chances are these children will get picked on and bullied by racist students.

Think, all you adopters, think.


February 16, 2008 07:49 AM:
"Overseas adoptees know we are third choice, no matter how many gotcha day parties are thrown. Parents want their own children. Second choice--domestic adoption. Third choice--turn to the Third World. Adoption was supposed to be about finding families for children. Now it's all about finding babies for infertiles. Don't get me wrong, I love my adoptive parents and had a good life, but I know what the score was. I was not chosen, special, or lucky. I was next in line as the band-aid for their infertility."

I wanted to write you--I can understand the anger and loss of culture you must feel being adopted internationally. Not all international adoptions are due to infertility. We had two children through traditional biological means and now a third from adoption. We did choose our child--a list of children with special needs. I am sorry that you feel your family would not have wanted you had they had a biological child. I think this is a real issue you should discuss with your parents or at least a friend. Adoption is complicated. I am sure your parents would not trade you for another child ever--adopted or biological. I think it would be good for you to read 20 Things Adopted Children wished their parents knew. Also have your parents read it. It is very painful for an adopted child to face the realities and the early losses they experienced. I do believe your honesty and your experiences can be a great benefit to other adoptees and that you may want to join a support group.

Take care and best wishes a healthy future.


I second everything Dr. Aronson says and add this: My decision to adopt from Russia was deeply personal. When someone gets pregnant, does Ms. Soronen tell them they should adopt from the U.S. instead of creating another biological child? I believe the attitude like hers displays discrimination against adoptive parents as second-class parents. How one creates a family is a deeply personal decision. Making decisions to adopt on a "social work" agenda basis is no favor to the child. Leave adoptive parents alone. We have enough issues to deal with without the resentment of people like the Ms. Sorenens of the world.


I may only be 12, but what struck me when I read your comments is: These children are children--they aren't animals. You can't just say that we don't know what to do with them. They are people, and even if they are different nationalities, all want a thing in common: to be loved. You may think I'm soppy bringing up love and all, but it's true, even the most sullen, rejected, and depressed teenager will want some kind of support; it isn't so that people only adopt babies, or at least it shouldn't be. A baby, you might think, would be more able to accept being adopted because you have nourished the baby its whole life, but what nearly pushes me to laugh is the fat that it might be like that, but older children will mostly always except it too. I have met adoptive children my age who have spoken of adoptive parents as I quote "guardian angels who swept me out of no more hope." This child is 13 was adopted at 12. The misunderstood adoptive children in America and everywhere else deserve adoption, and if the American system is so bad, then why doesn't somebody step up,change it, and make it more child friendly and simpler. None of this probably made sense, but I enjoy debating and I would like constructive criticism.

KerryLynn and Katie

We think it all depends on what type of person you want. Some people can handle an older child who may have emotional problems, whereas some parents are better with raising a baby from birth. We believe that as long as you're adopting a child from somewhere and loving them as your own, then we see no problem with it.

Jenny R

Adoption was first choice for us, and Ethiopia was the first country we thought of. Not because of celebrities adopting, or any other reason. We looked at many different countries and Ethiopia just stood out. We liked their Christian background, we liked their family structures. We researched agencies to find one that we knew took many safeguards to ensure our adoption was ethical. We found our 6 year old daughter this way. Her father died of aids and her mother was very sick. In Ethiopia if a child has parents with HIV they are considered an orphan.. We met her birthmom in country and her aunt. We write to them, and call them. We didn't try to 'save' a child from Ethiopia. We knew we had room for a child, we loved the way Ethiopia's people love their children, we love their culture. Most people that judge international adoption have no experience. They hear a few horror stories and assume those are the normal occurrence. It breaks our hearts that our daughters birth mom is dying. We donate money to charities regularly, and no-it is not for the tax deduction. We really want to help. So maybe if everyone that is against adoption would get personally involved with adoption, and with the needs of a third world country we could come up with more solutions and help for others.

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