Recently, a heartwarming article about adoption was published in US News and World Report. Shaun and Anna Lokey have three biological children; however, Shaun was also interested in adoption. Anna says in the article that she was not sure about the idea because of failed adoption in her family as a child. She was also ambivalent about her abilities as a mother.
Over the next few years, Shaun revisited the idea with his wife. In the article, he told her that parents do not have to be perfect. They just need to be loving and willing. It was enough to convince Anna. Not only did they adopt a child from China, but they also adopted two more. There were some adjustments; however, the family of eight are flourishing, reports the article. The Lokeys are strong advocates of adoption, whether domestic or overseas.
The article shared that China is still the top country from where Americans adopt children. Some countries, such as Russia, have tightened their regulations on foreign adoptions. Meanwhile, the article mentions that domestic adoption is still going strong in the United States. In a current article from AdoptUsKids.org, adoptive father Bob Cole describes his life as “blessed” with his experience of over 40 years.
One of the reasons that this article touched home for me is that our two boys are adopted. Even though we got them as older children, they could not be any closer to our hearts than if we gave birth to them. Like the Lokeys, we certainly had our reservations at first. However, we could not have children of our own and desperately wanted to be parents.
We always say that we needed our boys as much as they needed us. Has life been a bowl of cherries? Of course not! There have been some obstacles that we had to overcome as a family. Children who come from the foster system are often so broken, it takes a lot of time, therapy, and love for them to heal. We are happy to say that we are another adoption success story like this article.
The rate of overseas adoptions by American families is declining, according to a recent report in the New York Times. Because America has, for the last century, been the number one country for overseas adoptions in the world, this news is not pleasant for the global adoption system. A number of factors have contributed to the sharp decline in American overseas adoptions including strict stipulations put in place by foreign governments that desire to promote domestic adoption over overseas adoption, foreign adoption agencies that have been shut down due to the deceptive actions of a small percentage of agency workers, and widespread corruption in some countries.
Stipulations in Foreign Adoptions
Many stipulations in government adoption procedures have procured Americans from finalizing overseas adoptions during the last few years. Countries like Ethiopia are currently from a drastic increase in the legislative measures that have been enforced regarding overseas adoption. These legislative procedures are often put in place to protect the rights of domestic adoptees to the first selection of children, but these measures often serve to place an indefinite halt on the adoption of American overseas families.
Adoption Agency Shutdowns
The Ethiopian government is also an example of a government facing severe legislation due to agency shutdowns. The country’s orphans are suffering due to incompetence on behalf of certain agency officials. In one section of the country, agency workers were caught lying to caregivers about the adoption process by saying that children could be placed in the adoption facility for a period of time while they were educated. Violations in adoption agency procedures like this one can cause an entire country to face terrible consequence. Abandoned orphans who need a home suffer worst of all.
Corruption in Adoption Procedures
Corruption plagues many countries in almost every area and the adoption agency is, unfortunately, not immune to its negative consequences. Because of the corruption that occurs with money being exchanged for children, many countries have been complete banned from adoption procedures within the United States.
Global rates of intercountry adoption, adopting children from other countries, are taking a nosedive, according to Peter Selman, expert in intercountry adoption who works for Newcastle University.
Since 2004, the numbers have dropped by more than 200 each and every week. They’ve halved since 2004. Italy has managed to maintain its adoption numbers, being the only country in Europe to do so.
One of the key factors playing a role is strict US adoption laws, which allow US birth mothers to choose their adoptive parents. They are far more likely to choose an American over someone from another country.
Another factor is the 1993 Hague Convention, which is set up to guard against abuses and further regulate intercountry adoption. Countries that sign up have to follow strict guidelines that may include passing on adoption requests from certain countries it would have previously approved. Ireland signed up for the convention in 2010, which adds another western country to the list.
Prospective parents in Ireland looking to adopt now can’t look for children in many of the countries that would have previously been considered and now have to look to countries like the US, which as mentioned previously, doesn’t often ship their children out of country.
It’s also possible that these numbers are just tied with declining birth rates. As the adult working population spends more time at work, the desire to have children goes down. Couples that may have previously been interested are no longer interested, especially with the mounds of paperwork and time it takes just to get approved for an adoption these days.
There are also scientific advancements in fertility treatments. Couples that may not have been able to previously have children can now in some cases find success. All of these factors can contribute to these declining rates, and it doesn’t seem that they will soon make a recovery.
Adoptive parents face many barriers to a successful and mutually beneficial adoption process, including the enormous amount of money required to finalize the adoption. Many Americans are struggling to determine why international adoptions have become almost three times more expensive than domestic adoption. In a recent New York Times article, a contributor discusses the possibility that foreign governments are adding undue and unnecessary restrictions to the foreign adoptive process in an effort to limit the number of children adopted to other countries.
There are an estimated 140 million orphans currently living in the world with thousands of new children being orphaned on a daily basis. People with generous hearts who wish to alleviate this world wide problem are often met with hurdles that should not exist in the adoption process. While an adoption should, in ideal terms, consist of a legally binding agreement between two or more persons transferring the rights to the child from one parent or governing body to another, it is often a process riddled with difficulties.
Government officials in several countries including the United States and Canada have been attempting to limit the interference that some governments have in the international adoption process. Many governments limit these adoptions in hopes that the children born in these countries will be educated as citizens of these countries. This way, these countries can benefit on the productivity of both natural citizens and orphans alike. Several members of the United Nations have argued that this position is cruel and is not considerate of the well being of orphaned children. While many parents in wealthy nations would like to use their considerable resources to care for orphaned children, legal red tape and endless stipulations often prevent them from doing so.
As a response to the legislation passed by countries like China to place limits on international adoption, UN officials have developed an international effort to pair orphans with supportive families from around the world who desire to adopt internationally.