Precious Carter

Precious Carter

Professor Barnes

CRT 100-057W

Should international adoption be promoted?

            Adoption is a controversial social issue that has recently been amplified on social media due to adoptees speaking against interracial adoptive parents who glamorize adoption. These misleading viral videos are fairytale depictions of the complex, immoral and unethical results of the adoption process. International adoption should not be promoted for several reasons; it is time the ugly truth be told.

Over the past decade, international adoption has been declining due to child trafficking, illegal displacement, adoption fraud, and scams. The lack of oversight has caused foreign countries to ban or enforce stricter laws to ensure the safety of children. In the United States, it is estimated that 135,000 children are adopted each year; 14% of those adoptions are children from other countries.

In the early 2000s, intercountry adoption globalized through media, and the controversy surrounding Angelia Jolie’s adopted son Maddox sparked an interest in investigating the ethical practices of private agencies. A Cambodian child welfare worker revealed that Angelia’s son was not an orphan; his extremely poor mother was coerced financially to place her son. Lauryn Galindo facilitated hundreds of adoptions from Cambodia; she also managed the placement of Maddox. In 2004 Galindo was charged with child trafficking but pleaded guilty to money laundering and visa fraud. According to the article published by the University of Alabama, “Adoption agencies are not legally required to be accredited, and many faith-based agencies are not. Only 303 organizations are accredited per international standards of the roughly 3,000 agencies that perform adoption services in the United States.” (

Developing countries like China, Haiti, Ukraine, and Ethiopia lead in the baby sending industry. Because of wars, natural disasters, and poverty, there is overcrowding in orphanages. The lack of resources forces the governing party to contract with agencies worldwide to industrialize placing children in homes. In these weak economies, children are commodities because of financial instability; family preservation is not an option, abortion and birth control are not legal or affordable, and orphanages do not have to funds to house and feed displaced children. These nuances are the causes of corruption and abuse within institutions abroad; monetary gains are prioritized over what is in the child’s best interest.

Prospective adoptive parents spend thousands of dollars hoping to be matched with a child to grow their families; most of the parents prefer to receive a healthy baby. Orphans of foreign countries experience unimaginable complex trauma. Medical, mental, and family health information are not documented or redacted to secure custody of the child. Many parents have been conned, believing that their adopted child is in good health, forcing them to re-abandon their children because of behavior issues. For example,

Reuters analyzed 5,029 posts from a five-year period on one Internet message board, a Yahoo group. On average, a child was advertised for re-homing there once a week. Most of the children ranged in age from 6 to 14 and had been adopted from abroad – from countries such as Russia and China, Ethiopia and Ukraine. The youngest was 10 months old. (Twohey, Megan)

The lack of humility for adoptees, specifically international ones, is astounding. Regulatory policies on international adoption are ineffective due to post-adoption follow-up, making it possible for children to get lost in the system.

           The Hague Convention was established in 1907; as of today, 117 countries are participants; it wasn’t until 1993 that international adoption was included in the treaty. Adopting from partnering countries safeguards parents and children from fraud, corruption, and trafficking. Guidelines are strictly enforced; the child’s orphaned status has to be proven by interviewing the birth parents, medical and family history must be provided for approval of adoption. This process is costly and time-consuming for adopters eager to have a child. Hague adoption convention has been met with criticism due to countries that are non-participants; as stated, “A country becomes fashionable,” says Susan Jacobs, the U.S. State Department’s special advisor for children’s issues. “People go to the countries where it’s easiest to adopt, where the rules are lax, and they can do an adoption quickly and perhaps get a baby.” (Greenblatt, Alan). These loopholes challenge principles of systems set in place on how to govern international adoption; all children deserve stability and a loving home; what can be done to guarantee that?

           In closing, the United States needs to hand down restrictions until all adoption agencies are accredited. Organizations foreign and domestic should be audited routinely for corruption if found guilty of fraud; contributors should be criminally charged, and institutions should be heavily fined. Families affected by exploitation should be compensated financially and supplied aid to support children categorized as failed adoption due to not disclosing mental health issues; no child should be rehomed. Adoption is an industry that capitalizes on the world’s most vulnerable people, generating billions of dollars annually; more could be done to aid orphanages and displaced children.


Mtown97, Author. “Orphan Fever: The Dark Side of International Adoption – UAB Institute for Human Rights Blog.” UAB.EDU, 13 Mar. 2018,, Megan. “Americans Use the Internet to

Abandon Children Adopted from Overseas.” Reuters.Com, 9 Sept. 2013,

Greenblatt, Alan. “International Adoption.” CQ Global Researcher, 6 Dec. 2011, pp. 573-96,

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