For the past six decades, intercountry adoption has provided a way for scores of orphaned children to have a secure future full of love, hope and quality of life. These children have come from all over the world—Eastern Europe, Asia, Central and South America, and sub-Saharan Africa—primarily into homes in North America, Western Europe and Australia. Opportunities for family stability in their new homes have been accompanied by access to superior medical and mental health care, quality nutrition, and especially for girls, the freedom and opportunity to go to school. One young woman I worked with, “Jennifer” was adopted from Russia at age 15. She told me that according to Russian adoption law, she would have been considered unadoptable when she turned 16, and likely would have been put out on the streets with her only immediate option for survival being prostituting herself. “Priyanka” from India shared with me, “I have been given three sets of parents (birth/adoptive/in-laws) who have loved me enough to provide all of the support a child/young woman could want—my financial, spiritual, emotional and cultural needs have been met and surpassed. This would not have happened if I had not been adopted.”
Today, intercountry adoption to the U.S. is on the wane, having declined from a peak of nearly 23,00 children adopted in 2004 to only a little more than 3,000 last year. There are multiple and complex reasons for this decline, some bad, some good. Countries such as India, China and Uganda are making some positive strides in providing in-country adoption and foster care for their own orphaned and vulnerable children. Although numerous countries have become closed to intercountry adoption in recent years, other nations like Colombia, China and Ukraine remain active “sending countries.”
True, intercountry adoption has long had its detractors. Also, not all couples or individuals are good candidates to adopt internationally. And to be honest, intercountry adoption is not always the best option for a child when quality foster care, in-country adoption or family reunification is available in the child’s country of origin. However, for untold numbers of children who’ve had none of these options open to them, intercountry adoption provides consistent hope, love and opportunity—things that all children need for a healthy, fulfilling life.
*If you are interested in knowing more about intercountry adoption, feel free to contact Dr. Andrews through this site or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org