International Adoption

December 6, 2011 • Volume 5, Issue 23
Are limits on foreign adoptions hurting orphans?
By Alan Greenblatt


Francesca Polini and her husband Rick of West London has adopted two Mexican kids (AP Photo/Rex Features)
After being told they were “too white” to adopt an interracial child, Francesca Polini and her husband Rick, of West London, were able to adopt Gaia, 3, and 11-month-old Luca from Mexico. Polini wrote a book about their adoption experience and established an organization, Adoption with Humanity, to oppose caps on interracial adoptions in Britain. (AP Photo/Rex Features)

The number of foreign orphans — usually from developing countries — adopted by families in wealthy countries has plummeted in recent years. In 2010, only 30,000 of the world's nearly 18 million orphans were adopted by parents from other countries. Nations such as South Korea, Brazil, China and Russia — which traditionally allowed thousands of children to be adopted overseas — have drastically restricted or shut down their foreign adoption programs, in part because of fears that the huge amounts of money spent by prospective parents and adoption agencies — up to $100 million a year — have led to bribery, fraud, trafficking and kidnapping. The Hague Convention, an international treaty to regulate international adoptions, has been endorsed by many countries, with mixed results. Adoption advocates say the crackdowns mean that up to 2 million children still languish in sometimes squalid institutions, many of whom will end up living on the street after leaving their orphanages.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Adoption and Foster Care
Dec. 06, 2011  International Adoption
Apr. 22, 2005  Child Welfare Reform
Sep. 10, 1999  Adoption Controversies
Jan. 09, 1998  Foster Care Reform
Nov. 26, 1993  Adoption
Sep. 27, 1991  Foster Care Crisis
Dec. 11, 1987  Independent Adoptions
Nov. 16, 1984  Issues in Child Adoption
Jun. 27, 1973  Child Adoption
Nov. 09, 1951  Child Adoption Safeguards