The Falling Numbers of International Adoptions

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Russia has banned the adoption of Russian children by American parents. Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and author of Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming Our Families โ€“ and America, explains why the number of international adoptions is on the decline.


Adam Pertman

Comments [29]

David from Fredericksburg, VA

@ Debra from NJ

I think you're being very generous when you call much of what appears here as "thinking."

Jan. 10 2013 12:15 PM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

@ Donnie

I'm not the one making absurd & disparaging remarks about international adoption and adoptive parents.

Do you have ANY direct experience with international adoption? If not, you're just blowing hot air.

Jan. 10 2013 12:13 PM
jane from NYC

I am the mother of an adopted child. I am in favor of adoption. Having said that, my bother was murdered last year by a Russian adoptee. The murderer was adopted when he was five. He killed my brother when he was 18 after a troubled post-adoption childhood and teenage years. My brother had been trying to help this young man, in spite of a clear mental disturbance. The kid (he was a teenager at the time) had molested his biological sister who had been adopted at the same time from Russia. The state had intervened and the kid was no longer allowed to live in his house with his adopted family. When my brother met him, he was homeless. My brother allowed him to live in the other side of his home (a duplex).Why did my brother offer this young man such generosity? Because he felt the kid was redeemable, and needed a chance. The self-stated reason why he killed my brother was because he was under the impression that my brother had made him a beneficiary in his will. So - on the question of Americans not being allowed to adopt kids form Russia: a mixed blessing/curse. The prevalence of serious attachment disorders of these children -- as I currently understand, built into the instructions that are given to the orphanage workers to NOT make eye contact with the children so as to NOT foster attachment; thus, when the kids are adopted, they will leave without remorse -- makes the issue a much more complicated affair than mere politics or compassion for unfortunate children can indicate.

Jan. 10 2013 11:44 AM

@David from Fredericksburg, VA

You left off "THE IDIOT TROLL" from your name.

Jan. 10 2013 11:32 AM
Debra from NJ

David from Fredricksburg - boy, you were right about the "spewage"
Seriously - no one with good intentions needs to justify why/where they adopt from.
Basically joined the conversation to see what the current thoughts are.

Jan. 10 2013 11:30 AM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

@ AS from Manhattan

You left one of the S's off your name

Jan. 10 2013 11:27 AM
Tina from Queens

Whether from US, of from abroad, orphaned or abandoned children would fair better in a home, statistically speaking (for the sake of this conversation, we have to throw out the outliers of those adoptive families that abuse their adoptive children).
Putin,as usual, shows his true Russian colors - he couldn't care less about those poor, unfortunate kids lingering in horrible conditions in the Russian orphanages. All he cares about is to flex his muscles on the international scene. Revenge and retaliation is not unfamiliar for Russian politics. He would rather let those children rot into an abused, alcoholic adults, then give them another chance at life!
If he is so concerned about his orphan population, why doesn't he give (real)incentives to the Russian families to adopt?
Lets see how the first "democratic" Russian president going to solve his orphanage population problem?

Jan. 10 2013 11:26 AM
The Truth from Becky

That caller's excuse is BULL as to why he and his wife went to the west indies to adopt.

Jan. 10 2013 11:25 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To jiogirl

Well said.

Jan. 10 2013 11:24 AM
Tony from New York

Why are these folks being honest about the reasons for adopting Russian children. It is indeed very much about the "suppl" of younger white children. Being offended by the question doesn't change the answer.

Jan. 10 2013 11:23 AM
ek from nyc

I recently got back from South Korea where I had the opportunity to teach at an elementary school for orphans. South Korea is another country that has banned international adoption in the recent year. Although the Korean gov't offers incentives for Koreans to adopt, many Koreans have conservative views about family and there are still so many kids in orphanages (the school I taught at had almost 800 students and that's just elementary school). There is also a huge stigma against single mothers in Korea as well as lack of welfare or support for them.

Jan. 10 2013 11:23 AM

Um, so the caller's question was "why do Americans adopt abroad in Russia when there are so many kids up for adoption in the US? His answer was "we shouldn't pit kids from the US against those from overseas." His additional answer was "we shouldn't question anyone's motives for adopting abroad." So, asking why somebody does something is the equivalent of questioning the motives of why somebody does that thing. Nice logic. And nice followup, clarifying, and focused questioning, Brian. Thanks for the reminder of why I don't donate a penny to WNYC.

Jan. 10 2013 11:23 AM

Being an international adoptee myself, the international adoption industry is broken and is based more on adoption agencies making money than the overall welfare of the child. Mother's are being encouraged to give up their children so agencies can make between 30 thousand and up wards to 100 thousand based on type of child and country. Think about how many people you know, how many people really want to give away their children? The best situation for a child is to be with their birth parents or biological families. Corruption is rampant in third world countries. They don't have the systems in place to make sure children are not being stolen. Also, parents of International children do not have the capacity to understand the racial issues their children are dealing with. A white person can't understand what it is to be non-white. They can try, but overall it is not possible.

Jan. 10 2013 11:22 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Well said AS

Jan. 10 2013 11:22 AM
The Truth from Bebra

Damn shame that there are NO children available to adopt in the US!!!

Jan. 10 2013 11:22 AM
AS from Manhattan

Middle class Americans running around the world getting "exotic " kids and adopting them and acting like they care about Russian kids in orphanages.. They dont give a damn about the kids here in the USA. Why do we pit kids against each other ? CHina and Russia are supposed to take care of their own and so should we. The state of young children in the USA ( minority ) needs al this "love and care " I think there is a lot of phony racism in this excuse. White people want exotic asian or russian or even african kids rather than black kids from the USA

Jan. 10 2013 11:19 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

hmm, JG, there is no such thing as a well run orphanage - in Dickensian times or now.

I rather a child be treated as a "pet" by a loving couple than a "zoo animal" or "gulag prisoner" by an institution.

Jan. 10 2013 11:16 AM

Most prospective parents who choose international adoption over US adoption is the process was easier. In the US the biological mother can change their mind within 6 - 12 months. Giving a child back is unthinkable to many. The money goes to the agencies/countries.

Jan. 10 2013 11:15 AM
Debra from NJ

1. Brian, please don't say "supply/demand" when referring to children who need to be adopted. It's creepy.

2. jgarbuz - No one said that the kids are "pets". Why should people be responsible for making their own children. Most anyone can do that, but don't make good parents. Some people make good parents but don't have the opportunity to "make" them. Wouldn't a "true" orphan be someone who is abandoned by their parent?

3. Victoria - yes yes yes. Very good points.

4. Gene - it's very difficult to adopt in the United States.

I am so fortunate to have my child and I am so happy that 15 years ago that I was able to travel to China to meet my daughter. The delight of my life.

Jan. 10 2013 11:15 AM
Julie from NYC

There are so many American children of all races who need adopting. Why are you going overseas??

Jan. 10 2013 11:14 AM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

Why not adopt in the US?

High occurence of mother's changing their minds (often to get more money from someone else). The sperm donor or relative of the sperm donor crawling out of the woodwork after adoption.

Jan. 10 2013 11:13 AM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

@ jgarbuz from Queens

Wow - you'd make a fine dictator or Pat Robertson type televangelist.

Jan. 10 2013 11:10 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

From Wikipedia - Orphanages

"An orphanage is a residential institution devoted to the care of orphans โ€“ children whose natural parents are deceased or otherwise unable or unwilling to care for them. Natural parents, and sometimes natural grandparents, are legally responsible for supporting children, but in the absence of these or other relatives willing to care for the children, they become a ward of the state, and orphanages are one way of providing for their care, housing and education.

It is frequently used to describe institutions abroad, where it is a more accurate term, since the word orphan has a different definition in international adoption.[1] Although many people presume that most children who live in orphanages are orphans, this is often not the case with four out of five children in orphanages having at least one living parent and most having some extended family.[2] Most orphanages have been closed in Europe and North AmericaF. There remain a large number of state funded orphanages in the former Soviet Bloc but many of them are slowly being phased out in favour of direct support to vulnerable families and the development of foster care and adoption services where this is not possible.

Few large international charities continue to fund orphanages; however, they are still commonly founded by smaller charities and religious groups.[3] Some orphanages, especially in developing countries, will prey on vulnerable families at risk of breakdown and actively recruit children to ensure continued funding, orphanages in developing countries are rarely run by the state.[3][4]"

Jan. 10 2013 11:09 AM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

I can't wait to hear the incredible ignorance to spew forth.

Jan. 10 2013 11:07 AM
John A

Putting my name beside the first two questioners here.
Those would be good to answer.
Where's the money gone?
What about US adoptees?

Jan. 10 2013 11:06 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I am against adoption on principle, except in the case of true orphans, where both biological parents are dead. It is the responsibility of people who want children to make their own. If they cannot, because they have delayed marriage too long, or for biological bad luck, then they should be restricted to adopting only true orphans.There is nothing wrong with children growing up in well run, caring orphanages. Those who for whatever reason give up their child should do so to such well run orphanages until the biological parent changes her mind. I don't believe children are pets. Those who need the companionship of pets should adopt dogs and cats from shelters. I am against the severing of biological bonds except in the most heinous and stringent of cases.

Jan. 10 2013 11:01 AM
Victoria Zunitch from Forest Hills

There are still millions of true orphans languishing in institutions around the world. We must fight corruption and kidnapping and baby-selling and at the same time quickly provide permanent families to every orphaned or abandoned child as quickly as possible. One day in the life of a baby is a lifetime.
Ask yourself, if you are a birthparent: how do you think it would have affected your child's life had he/she spent the first year or more of their lives in the equivalent of a low-quality nursing home with a staffing ratio of 15 or more to one?

Jan. 10 2013 10:32 AM
Gene from Bronx

Why are prospective parents looking to other countries to adopt children? Is there something about the process or cost of adopting American children that discourages families from adopting children in the US?

Jan. 10 2013 10:02 AM

The decline is not a true representation of what is going on. I have been waiting for a child from China for over 5 years. Recently my agency "sold" my application to another agency who is trying to extort more money out of me. I plan to contact the Attorney General's office to report it. I also had an application in for Ethiopia several years ago. A year after submitting the country decided to cut its program by 95%. It is ridiculous how agencies in the US are taking financial advantage of families whose sole goal is to love a child. Before you report on a "decline", get your facts straight. The program is becoming increasingly difficult. Agencies are struggling to pay their bills. Prospective parents are being taken advantage of, and the real victims are the thousand of children who are not finding homes.

Jan. 10 2013 09:09 AM

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