Sending and Receiving Children: Adoption of Children from Foreign Countries Essay

In Mary Roach’s book, Stiff, The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, she describes how upstanding anatomists would pay “body snatchers” to dig up graves and retrieve bodies for “dissection” (44-45). The anatomists never saw anything wrong with digging up the bodies, dissecting, and desecrating beyond recognition, then throwing the bodies literally to the vultures. This disrespect of bodies still occurs today on a different scale, all over the world. Some countries in the world today are not as fortunate or as developed as the United States is, which makes raising a family more difficult than Americans can imagine.

Families sometimes have to give up their children for money to survive or their children are kidnapped from them to be put up for adoption (Graff 2). In Roach’s footnote she makes a valid point; “how could people of the nineteenth century have allowed teeth from cadavers to be put into their mouths? ” (45) The same point is made today with adoptions, how can Americans know what is going on concerning foreign adoptions and still pay almost $35,000 for a child from abroad. “They possibly didn’t know and probably didn’t care” (Roach 45).

American born orphans number in the hundreds of thousands, so by adopting abroad a couple takes away an American child’s chance at a family. Inter-country adoption is not ethical unless every means to adopt an American born child is tried so that U. S. born children are given a chance at family. In the U. S. , adoption is a major controversy, especially inter-country adoption because parents seek out foreign children in a humanitarian effort or simply because they cannot have children of their own. Some individuals do not see these reasons as valid to consider adopting abroad so arguments are raised in opposition.

There are several issues that come along with adopting from a foreign country that couples do not think about. One main issue is that some children are not orphans at all; they have either been kidnapped from their homes or they were given up for money to be put up for adoption. “Many international adoption agencies work not to find homes for needy children but to find children for Western homes” (Graff 2) and that corrupts the entire process of saving a child in need. At least in most cases in the U. S. , the adoptive family will know a majority of the child’s ackground and will not be contributing to, what is sad to say, a “demand-driven [adoption] industry” (Graff 2). Inter-country adoptions are less regulated than U. S. adoptions and that is appealing to some couples, but opens up the door for more problems. According to the Department of Children and Family Services, the adoption process can take around three months to complete and sometimes longer if there were any issues along the way (Paulsen 13). When dealing with foreign adoptions the process is shorter and is much easier to complete and be paired with a child, so the easy route is taken more often than not.

With each adoption the children will carry with them their experiences from the orphanage or the foster home they were living at. In an article by Chloe Lancaster and Kaye W. Nelson called “Where Attachment Meets Acculturation: Three Cases of International Adoption,” three mothers of eight children adopted from China were asked about life after the adoptions and one of the themes from their experiences was that the child was having psychological problems dealing with new surroundings and a new world.

The children would struggle with educational development and sometimes even slower physical development when dealing with older adoptees. And these “psychological impairments” (Lancaster 302) have a large effect on attachment issues with the adoptive parents and even the children making friends. The children’s entire lives have never been constant; life has just been countless different homes and disappointments, which just adds stress and grief to the transition into a family. If considering inter-country adoption, it is widely advised to consider long and hard about the decision.

When adopting abroad chances at an infectious disease being brought into the U. S. that is treated here, but not in that child’s home country are significantly heightened. “Immunization records for internationally adopted children are often unclear, incomplete, or even missing all together” (Staat 1209). That is a dangerous fact. International adoption can potentially cost more than its worth because a child that is should be immune, for example from polio, could develop the disease and the adoptive parents could have prevented it with the correct information.

With the development of polio in that child it could have a snowball effect on others due to the disease growing immune to the vaccine and then a disease we had taken out in the U. S. , is back. As U. S. citizens, responsibility is high upon people to clean up the U. S. before going somewhere else to help out there. All the negativities of inter-country adoption do surpass the positives, but there is nothing like actually getting to provide a home for a child who has never had one. The United States is a culture rich society with many different races and cultures practiced everyday.

As a first world country the U. S. has a responsibility to second and third world children, to help them in any way possible. Also with inter-country adoptions, the children bring in their culture to the country. They may need to learn English and so they would end up being fluent in two languages; which is a plus in today’s world. Most couples feel like they are more prepared to deal with cultural issues than other problems that are encountered (Paulsen 13). In many cities there are cultural societies set up for people to come and take part in the culture’s ways and beliefs.

The groups are a large way that children adopted from abroad can still be apart of their culture and that helps with the child’s acculturation. Also a big point with inter-country adoptions is that families are bringing in an underprivileged child into the U. S. , where there are more opportunities at a better life for them. Some last positive points about inter-country adoption is the process is significantly easier to adopt abroad, there is a small amount of U. S. born infants, and skepticism about having and “open” adoption with the birth parents (Hollinger 42).

Couples, when they decide to adopt, normally want the process to be quick and painless without any hindrances, which makes inter-country adoption more appealing. In 2008, according to a chart of statistics about “Immigrant Orphans adopted by U. S. citizens by gender, age, and region and country of birth,” United States’ citizens adopted 17,229 children from foreign countries. In a study commissioned by the National Adoption Day Coalition called “Foster Care Adoption in United States: a State by State Analysis of Barriers & Promising Approaches,” the U. S. ad 129,000 children in foster care, not counting orphanages, waiting for a family to adopt them. Adoption is not an easy decision to come to; lives will be changed and sometimes not for the better. When supporting adoption from abroad consider all the pros and cons of the situation and really consider what is benefitting from the decision. “Recognizing that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding;” (375) a quote from the Preamble of The Hague Adoption Convention helps reiterate what is at stake.

Just because adopting from abroad seems like the humanitarian thing to do, really do the homework on the situation so that the best choice is made for the family and the child. It comes with physical and mental stress, so make sure that the challenge is ready to be met.

Works Citied:

– Lancaster, Chloe, and Kaye W. Nelson. “Where Attachment Meets Acculturation: Three Casesof International Adoption. ” The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples andFamilies. (2009): 302-311. Print. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Nov. 2009. – Miller, Laurie C. , Wilma Chan, Robert A.

Reece, Linda Grey Tirella, and Adam Pertman. “Child Abuse Fatalities Among Internationally Adopted Children. ” Child Maltreatment(2007): 378-380. Print. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Nov 2009. – Hollinger, Joan Heifetz. “Intercountry Adoption; Forecasts and Forebodings. ” AdoptionQuarterly (2004): 41-60. Print. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Nov 2009. – Graff, E. J. “The Lie We Love. ” Foreign Policy (2008): 58-66. Print. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Nov 2009. – Staat, Dana D. , and Michael E. Klepser. “International Adoption: Issues in Infectious Diseases. ” Pharmacotherapy (2006): 1207- 1220.

Print. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Nov 2009. – Roach, Mary. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. New York: W. W. Norton &Company Inc. , 2003. Print. – Paulsen, Charlotte, and Joseph R. Merighi. “Adoption Preparedness, Cultural Engagement,and Parental Satisfaction in Intercountry Adoption. ” Adoption Quarterly (2009): 1-18. Print. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Nov 2009. – Schmit, Annette. “The Hague Convention: The Problems with Accession and Implementation. ”Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies (2008): 375-395. Print. Academic SearchComplete. Web. 12 Nov 2009.