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Choosing Domestic Adoption Vs. International?

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Guest cathyskala

Hi everyone...I'm new to the "Forum" and received a phone call just this afternoon from Abrazo welcoming us as prosepctive adoptive parents.  My husb and I are currently trying to decide whether to proceed with international vs. domestic adoption.  We actually live in Iowa but heard about Abrazo from one of my patient's at work...you just never know where the leads may come from!  Anyway, we're struggling with the decision and are wondering if any of you have any insight into our dilemma.  Finances unfortunately come into play for us, but it sounds as if both programs may be fairly similar...we have been told by the adoption agency here in Iowa to expect $19-20K for the Kazakhstan program and I know Abrazo has mentioned we could expect $13-19K domestically (I'm guessing we would be closer to $19 since we're out of state with the potential for mulitple flights/hotels/car rentals down south).  There are many pros and cons for each program...pros for Abrazo would be potential for adoption much sooner and possibly having a newborn vs. adoption abroad, but we do worry about the potential for our birthparents to decide to parent and the difficulty both financially and with work schedules in the potential for multiple trips to Texas before the birth of the child.   Any input from other out of state AP's?? (Or anyone, we're open to all suggestions!;)  Thanks, Cathy

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Makes perfect sense, right? I think that's why so many of us out-of-towners want our kids to have Texas pride. That's why we invest in the Longhorns gear, Don't Mess with Texas t-shirts, etc. And i

Six years ago when we found out that we could not have kids. We talked it over for a few days and then decided to look at adoption agencies. I spent hours and hours pouring over 100's of adoption agen

Dear Cathy,     I would like to add my thoughts and perhaps some words of encouragement for you.  I too struggled with your same decisions.  At 39, married just 3 years, I started researching and t

Welcome Cathy!!

The best advise I can give is to follow your gut.  We decided to work with Abrazo 2 years ago this month and now have two beautiful children (ages 22 months and 7 months)!  I knew just from the first talk with Angi that Abrazo was for us.

If you would like to talk please feel free to private message me!

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Okay,  we didn't even think of international (thought the red tape would be too much) but have lots of friends who did and who are really happy.  Realize your state may take quite a bit of time for the INS paperwork to come through (Texas is about 4-6 months).  Our social worker has 3 beautiful children from 3 different countries and thought her experience was great...she spent over a month in quatemala and now in Russia - so the only off shoot could be the time in-country to get everything in order.

As for domestic...we wanted to have an open adoption and only went with Abrazo.  Some friends of ours adopted through them over 8 years ago and suggested them to us.  They have been great, but yes, the potential that the BP would parent is always there.  All I can say is that we've experienced so much loss before that this seems less of a threat than years of infertility...but without a doubt the thought is always there.  But on a positive note, in our orientation group of 5 couples (in Aug 03) my husband and I are the only couple still waiting for our baby to be born...in Dec.  That says a lot.  

Best of luck in your decision.

S&L :p

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The way we saw it, any adoption that isn't Meant to Be can fall thru. ( in American adoption or overseas!!!!) We did not know the way to go at first.  Foreign adoption seemed safer in some ways, sure.  But then we heard about people who got promised kids in orphanages that were not  available when they got there. OR countries close down too so you get stuck there longer than you thought. Or you can end up spending way more on the middle men. So in the big picture we thot, better  to stay in the USA, use a license agency to get a baby and get the real medical history besides.  (The open thing wasn't scary once we got in to it.)  And TX was not so far away as another country!!!  So good luck to you. (which ever way you go!!)

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We were planning a Russian adoption when we learned of Abrazo six years ago (can it really have been that long?)  :D  My only advice, besides what has already been mentioned. is that anyone who is considering adopting a slightly older child (for example a child from another country, or a toddler domestically) should be certain to speak with some adoptive parents who have experience with the specific country you are considering.  And be sure to educate yourself about all the wonderful pros of adopting an "older" child.  Additionally there are some challenges (remote, but possible) associated with children who have been in orphanages and you should familiarize yourself with those possibilities as well.

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Dear Cathy,

    I would like to add my thoughts and perhaps some words of encouragement for you.  I too struggled with your same decisions.  At 39, married just 3 years, I started researching and talking to adoption agencies.  I talked with Catholic Social Services, and they told me flatly I was already too old...they didn't work with anyone over 40.  Another agency said I was a poor risk because of a previous divorce, and another because of our religion (ie, the birthmothers wouldn't select Catholic parents for their children in the Baptist bible belt....I'm not making this up.....this is exactly what we were told!!)  So I began to think that a foreign adoption was our only choice.  

   I attended an information session on China adoptions.  The pictures of the beautiful Chinese baby girls left on the doorsteps of orphanages (due to China's one child policy) just broke my heart.  But then there was the paperwork.....not just the agency forms, but also INS requirements, State Department approval, travel restrictions, criminal background checks, etc.   I became very discouraged , because with my tendency to procrastinate, it would surely be another 5 years before I finished all the paperwork and requirements!  I began to believe it just wasn't in my destiny to be a mother.

    Then, in 1997 my husband and I attended an Adoption Fair sponsored by my (then) employer, and we met Elizabeth and learned about Abrazo.  My age, our religion and my previous marital failures no longer mattered.  What mattered most was if we had the love and openness to work within the framework of an open adoption.  We did and.............fast forward to the happy ending, I became a first time mom at age 44,  and my daughter is now a happy and healthy curly haired 5 year old little dynamo!!!!

    So I would recommend going to a Barnes & Nobles or other bookstore, or even your public library and reading all you can about the requirements for foreign and domestic adoptions.  Then, run (don't walk)....or rather fly (don't drive) to the next Abrazo Orientation Weekend.  (there is no obligation to contract with the agency, and you can think of it as a weekend getaway to visit our beautiful city of San Antonio and have some authentic Mexican food.)  :)  

    Whichever path your journey may lead you, I wish you good luck and God's speed!


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  • 2 years later...

How do you decide on domestic or international? I haven't decided. It looks like domestic might be faster- but I can't guarantee that the child will be able to see the birth parents all that often. Emails yet, but real contact.. doubtfully. We get back to the states once a year and then it's to Oregon.

It looks like Texas has good laws and bp's can't change their minds 4 years later - this is good.

I realize that many bp's don't use drugs- but some do. How do you screen to avoiid that?

I don't want to adopt a child with problems that could have been prevented. I understand that sometiimes things happen and you may get problems due to no fault of the parents. That's different. But alcohol and drugs are preventable. Due to my job, I would be severly limited where we coud live if the child had special needs. Most of my employment is overseas and there isn't the support system overseas for either medical care or school systems.

Am I overly fearful or are these legitmate concerns?

I'm likely to choose international to adopt from for a variety of reasons. But I haven't fully decided on it. (Another advantage of international- is that I'm one of the few that doesn't really want a baby. Toddlers are great w/ me. Baby's too, but because I want to know something about the child's health- a little older is okay to me.


Edited by cdgni
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Hi Cathy,

I don't know that I'll be much help but I can share with you (and anyone else who is trying to decide between the two) what ultimately helped me/us decide to do a domestic adoption rather than international (this was before we had even attempted our first IVF cycle though so we weren't even sure we'd be doing adoption but we did make the decision at that point (after lots of research) that if we did go the adoption route, we would do domestic.

The main reason we decided to do domestic was that it was SO important to me to have a newborn - and I knew that the best case scenario if we went international was a 6 month old baby and that was really rare (I think) - it was likely the child would be at least 12 months old. So, we decided to do a domestic adoption. Now, my reasons would be quite different - I can't imagine doing an international adoption but at least now when someone tells me they're considering an international adoption, I can smile and say "Good for you! I wish you all the best" rather than how I used to feel about it. I guess like so many things with adoption, there are many decisions to make that are unique and personal to the person who is making it.

For example - your concern about drug use by a birthparent - not sure if you were aware of this but there are many, many adoptive parents (us included) that are open to adopting a baby who has been drug exposed and have very few concerns (rightfully so) about the effects of drug abuse on a child. I'm not saying that all drug exposed babies don't have any special needs - I'm just saying that we are aware that just because a baby was exposed to drugs in utero, it doesn't mean they will have special needs or be less intelligent or more hyperactive or etc etc etc than a child who was not exposed to drugs. I'm also not saying we are thrilled about the idea of drug exposure but to us, it's just not one of the things that concern us. Personally, I would be much more concerned about adopting a child who has been in an orphanage type situation and has not received one on one care (i.e. if I ever WERE to adopt international, I would adopt from Korea (based on my limited knowledge of international adoption) because they seem to have this down well and also, from what I understand, the child is cared for by a foster parent from the time they're born until they're placed with their new family - and they pretty much wear the child on their back (I'm into attachment parenting so that scored major brownie points with me) and sleep with their children, etc etc etc - I just thought it sounded like a great experience and it would be the only country I think I would feel comfortable with adopting a child from.

I have a neighbor who adopted twin girls from Russia - I believe they were 2 years old when they went home with her and her husband. They have major signs of RAD (reactive attachment disorder - which is the result of not having basic needs met during their first 2 years of life - they lived in an orphanage). Also, there is practically no information on their birthparents - they were Roma oeople (I'm assuming you know what I'm talking about since you've spent time in Russia) and apparently, there is a high degree of alcoholism - my neighbor feels certain that her daughters were exposed to alcohol while in utero based on some evaluations they've had. Anyway, I know every adoption story and route has its horror stories and we have to decide what is and isn't important to each of us...just sharing my thoughts on what I have observed.

And - my biggest reason for doing domestic adoption (now) versus international adoption is I had such a wonderful experience the first time that I have no need to go through all the hoops involved in an international adoption.

But, like I said - it's ultimately a personal decision and I don't think thinking through everything (like you are doing) is ever being overly fearful. Just make sure you explore some of the cons of adopting international as well - especially orphanage situations if you're considering adopting a toddler (and I'm sure you're already doing this but talk to everyone you possibly can who has adopted internationally and learn, learn, learn from them). Adoptive Families magazine has a wealth of information on international (and domestic) adoption - check out their website Adoptive Families they have a lot of international families who have had beautiful experiences adopting overseas so you'll get to see that there are many advantages of adopting international as well.

:) Lisa

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We did the same sort of research.

International has so many variables, the attachment thing, the fostering thing, what country, how many trips, what are the rules, and most importantly the experience of raising a child. Domestic was our focus because of have the opportunity to have a newborn.

The other thing regarding the open process, I never thought we would be going back and forth to Texas as much as we have in the past year. But, the open process is so worth it. Just knowing the family is such a delight. It is great to see where some of the traits come from and just having the opportunity to one day tell him your big toe looks like your BP. It might seem hard, but it really isn't.

Best wishes during your search for the right plan.

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We did lots of research on domestic vs. international. Like Lisa, I really hoped for a newborn and knew that international would lead to an older child. We also weren't thrilled about having to stay in another country for a month. We would rather be in the good ol' USA for a month. At least here we can speak the language (well usually). :P

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There are so many things that you have to consider when deciding whether to do the domestic or international route. I think some are called to adopt from overseas and some from home. I think there is no right or wrong answer, but instead you just have to see which route works best for what you (are what you are looking for).

There are tons of children in our own backyard that need forever families as well as children overseas. My heart goes out to each and every child that is in this situation! :(

Some people are completely sold on USA adoption(s) while others swear only by international. It is like anything else...everyone's got their own opinion on it.

Whether you adopt from the US or whether you adopt internationally... it warms my heart to know a child in need is finding his/her forever family!!!! Every child regardless of nationality, color, etc. deserves to have a forever family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope you figure out where it is you are supposed to adopt from and take the plunge! What an exciting time for your family!!! Best wishes~


p.s. Some countries do require you travel to them at least once (and I believe Russia requires two trips there), but a couple of countries do not require travel at all. If I remember correctly, Korea and Guatamala (sp?) did not require travel...it was optional. You could either go pick up your child or a nanny could fly your baby to you. Seems like China had a 2 to 4 week trip you had to make. Every countries requirements differ.

Edited by Elaine Overcast
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I have to add our family's situation here. We have an open adoption experience through ABRAZO with our first child. Our daughter will be 10 yrs. old next month. Our second child's adoption (son) was international from S. Korea. We do not have any open contact with his birthparents, but we do have access to communication with his foster family living in S. Korea who loving cared for him from age 3 weeks until he traveled to the U.S. to become part of our family. This is very important to our son and we are thankful to have that connection for him. He is age 7. We were not required to travel to S. Korea. The agency we worked with had social worker travel to S. Korea and escort our son home to us. This worked very well for our family situation. While we waited, we received monthly updates with color photos of our son including all medical records going back to his birth.

As far as the question, which is best International vs. Domestic adoption, I also believe it is whatever situation works best for the family involved. For us, the International adoption was a perfect fit after our domestic adoption working through ABRAZO as our daughter is full Asian and we felt very strongly we wanted our second child to be full Asian also.

Some of the differences to consider in doing an international adoption is the paperwork is very time consuming vs. a domestic adoption. The wait time is sometimes longer for your child to enter your family and of course the biggest difference is with an international adoption, you do not have the opportunity to build a strong open adoption relationship with your child's birth family before, during and after.

To sum all this up, whatever situation works best for your family is ultimately up to your individual family. Adoption is a wonderful option to grow a family. We would not trade either of our children, they are both equally loved and precious to us.

Kim Mathews

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  • 7 months later...

Out of Hong Kong, a sad tale of loving parents desperately searching for their Chinese-born children whom they believe to have been adopted by foreigners: Missing, Presumed Sold.

It again underscores the importance of knowing from whom and where the child you adopt has come, how they found their way to your home and why they were placed for adoption, whether you adopt internationally or domestically... because your child needs you to know these answers, at least, if for some reason there is no possible way of having the privilege of knowing his or her birthfamily personally before taking their child home with you.

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And here's yet another reminder of the kind of deception, fraud and heart ache that openness and honesty in adoption can prevent: Utah Agency Shut Indicted for Fraud in Samoan Adoption Scheme.

Being accountable to children requires accountability between parents... both those to whom those children are born, and those by whom they are being adopted!

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  • 2 months later...

For all the fears prospective adoptive parents harbor about birthparents in domestic adoptions seeking to reclaim the children they placed, here's an even more horrendous possibility that may impact more international adoptions than anybody truly knows...

In an amazing twist of fate, a nine-year-old Indian boy, adopted by a Netherlands family, is undergoing DNA testing, in an effort by the government to confirm that he was the child abducted as a toddler and sold to the orphanage from which he was later adopted. Kidnapped Child Who Was Adopted May Be Returned to Birthfamily The adoption agency is alleging that the orphanage provided forged family consent forms. For more information on the birthmother's reaction, click here.

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These stories always make me sad because they hinder and hurt all adoptions. All kids from here and any country deserve a loving home and family. The sad part is the adoptive parents who want to love a child and the child who needs a family is always genuine, it's all the in between and greed that ruins it in between them meeting and becoming a family. I'm not saying there aren't some bad people out there who knowingly do an illegal adoption, but I think we can all agree most are just singles, couples or families wanting to love a child.

Anyway, these stories always make me sad! I hope they make it as easy on the child as they possibly can, as the child and both families will need much strength. Maybe they can come up with some sort of open contact to help the child adjust.

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  • 3 months later...

If you hadn't previously heard of "Dr. Evil" and the illicit adoptions of Vietnamese children: click here.

Just more proof that the Hague Treaty can't be ratified by too many nations, soon enough! (And sadly enough, the U.S. has been one of the biggest to not join, for wayyyy too long!)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's an important article to consider if you're trying to decide between domestic adoption and international: READ THIS. Text is printed below in case the link goes bad.

International Adoption: Opening Pandora's Box, by Peter Dodds

There is no greater sorrow on Earth than the loss of one's native land.

---- Euripides, Meda, v. 650-651

I was born to a German mother and a German father on German soil, one of thousands of German children adopted by Americans during the 1950s-70s. I have chronicled my life's experiences in the newly released book Outer Search\Inner Journey: An Orphan and Adoptee's Quest, the first book on international adoption written by a foreign born adoptee.

One of the purposes I had in writing Outer Search\Inner Journey was to provide insight to all participating in the international adoption process--social workers, mental health professionals, parents, policy makers, lawyers--by shedding light on the harm caused by uprooting children from their native cultures and heritages.

International adoption isn't the answer to improving the overall plight of children in developing countries. Even the strongest supporters admit the movement of adoptees across international borders represents only a tiny fraction of the neglected, abused and abandoned children in these countries. And supporters of international adoption are quiet about the children who are not adopted and left behind.

If parents choosing foreign adoption have as their primary motive a desire to save children, they need not look abroad. A concern associated with the delivery of domestic child welfare services is that children available for adoption in the United States are being bypassed in favor of foreign children. International adoption increases the pool of domestic children needing a permanent family.

Unfortunately, international adoptions are seen by most Americans as a solution for families needing children rather than children needing families. The purpose has shifted from the humanitarian one of providing families for abandoned children, and increasingly becoming a way for the childless to satisfy their desire to have children. The well-being of children has taken second place to the desires of those seeking to adopt.

A disturbing picture

Most of what is written in the United States about this subject comes from the perspective of American adults who are connected to the international adoption industry. So it is difficult to find literature that objectively discusses the consequences of removing children from their native lands. But fragments of information have surfaced, and when pieced together a disturbing picture emerges:

Ø In July 1997, Renee Polreis of Greeley, Colorado, was convicted of beating her 2-year old son to death, a boy she adopted out of a Russian orphanage. She said she feared for her life and called him a "demon."

Ø In June 1997, Richard and Karen Thorne of Phoenix, Arizona, were arrested at New York's Kennedy Airport on arrival from Moscow: Passengers and crew reported seeing the Thorne's abuse the two 4-year-old Russian girls they had just adopted, striking them in the chest, face, and head with such force that the girls screamed and cowered throughout the flight.

Ø An A.P. article dated 97-08-01 discussed the plight of thousands of British children living in orphanages and sent to live in Canada, Australia and New Zealand during WW II and decades afterward. "They (British Government) should just admit they were wrong, that it was not right to remove us from our homes and heritage, " said Shiela Pearce a spokeswoman for an organization of adult British orphans shipped to Australia. The Catholic church has acknowledged that children sent to Australia may have been damaged by their experiences but there has been no similar statement from British authorities.

Ø A June 23, 1996 article of the New York Times titled, "When Children Adopted Abroad Come With Too Many Troubles," highlighted problems American parents are experiencing with children they've adopted from eastern Europe and Russia; children unable to adjust emotionally or socially to their new homes.

Ø In 1986, the National Association of Black Social Workers issued a position statement opposing the adoption of Black children to non-Black families arguing Black children who grow up in ethnically different families suffer serious identity conflicts and barriers to socialization. North American Indians have formed organizations to repatriate children severed from their tribes through adoption.

Concerns of countries surrendering their children to foreigners

Damien Ngabonziza, Programmes Officer at the International Social Services located in Geneva, Switzerland summarizes the major concerns:

Ø African countries generally view intercountry adoption as a form of neocolonialism and do not, for the most part, sanction the adoption overseas of native children.

Ø Sending countries without strong child protection laws and welfare policies are among the most vulnerable to the black market sales and trafficking of children. There is a widespread view in Latin America, for example, that international adoption takes the most desirable adoptees in terms of age, health and racial heritage, and leaves hard to place children in their countries of origin.

Ø The adoption of a comparatively small number of children in a large population of desperately needy youngsters is too often seen as a panacea, and it ignores the wellbeing of the majority.

Ø Intercountry adoption does nothing to solve the problem of high birth rates nor poverty, two of the root causes of international adoption. There is little evidence that intercountry adoption significantly enhances development of child welfare services in developing nations.

Ø Intercountry adoption is fraught with difficulties arising from differing cultural values and relationships regarding access to one's roots, contacts with birth families and ties to the country of origin.

What does the research say?

The current state of research based on follow-up studies is fragmented. The studies have been criticized for: the short time frame they encompass; the Eurocentric constructs employed; inadequate sampling methods; questionably low response rates; unwarranted extrapolation from one situation to another; substantial disagreement on the criteriological problem of whether a qualified "success" is actually a success?

What is the impact of international adoption on the adoptee?

All children adopted internationally face physical and emotional upheaval. First there is the trauma of departure accompanied by separation and loss. Language plays a critical role in the beginning period of adjustment. Initially, most children have little proficiency in English and the majority of the adoptive parents do not have language capabilities to converse with their children. The children have left behind everything familiar, and encounter everything new and different but their expression of grief is not understood by anyone! It is only natural for them to resort to physical expression of their grief and anger--like self-hurting behaviors, aggressive and hostile behaviors, and crying.

Later in life, the greatest obstacle for transition to emotional well being for the international adoptee will be the process of identity formation. For internationally adopted children, this task of forming, clarifying, and reclarifying their identity is an ongoing process that must also include ethnicity. These cross-racially, cross-culturally adopted children become aware at very early ages that they are different from their adoptive parents.

Dr. Juliet Harper is Senior Lecturer on Psychology at Macquarie University in Australia and a child psychotherapist. She has done work with adoption disruption, where the adoption is terminated, with families who have adopted internationally.

Dr. Harper looked at the disruption from the child's point of view. Although most children had quickly developed English, their vocabulary was very concrete and problems in comprehension tended to be masked by their apparent verbal fluency. She found the children had been inadequately prepared for adoption, having little idea of what was expected of them, and they were not able to respond adequately to parenting offered by the adoptive parents. Other reasons for the disruption from the children's point of view were that they did not like the family or felt rejected by the family, did not want to come to Australia and always felt different.

International Adoption and Corruption

International adoption has become an increasingly competitive and lucrative enterprise, with intermediaries charging between $5,000 to $30,000 and more for their services. It is now a multi-million dollar a-year business. Organizations and people involved with international adoption have enormous sums at stake and big money can open the door to trafficking children. A major concern is the increasing commercialization and lack of adequate safeguards, resulting in criminal abuses, abduction and sale of children.

Given the preferential demand for healthy infants in the United States adoption market, an important policy issue is the extent to which the practice of international adoption results in pregnancies for profit, coercion of birth parents, and the corruption of child welfare services.

International policies in effect regarding international adoption

In 1992, with growing concern about international adoptions, a meeting of child welfare experts was held in Manila, Philippines on "Protecting Children's Rights in Inter-country Adoptions and Preventing the Trafficking and Sale of Children."

The Manila conference recommended that if a child cannot be raised by her or his parents, care within the extended family, with support if necessary, should be the next goal. If this is not possible, efforts should be made to secure domestic adoption. Only when all such alternatives have been exhausted should international adoption be considered.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 2 September 1990. It is regarded by most child rights experts as the standard by which adoption procedures should be judged. International concern to safeguard the rights of children offered for international adoption is reflected in renewed efforts to provide suitable alternatives within the child's home country and to be considered only when all possible means of giving children suitable care in their own social and national setting have been exhausted.

The United States is one of only six countries yet to sign the Convention along with Somalia, United Arab Emigrates, Cook Islands, Switzerland and Oman.

What can Americans do for neglected foreign children without adopting them?

Those who desire to help children in economically deprived or war-torn countries have alternatives to international adoption. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is an organization that serves to provide resources so that countries can gain the means to care for their own children.

In 1993, stemming from events unfolding in Bosnia and Rwanda, UNICEF published a comprehensive guide for providing services to children in conflicts. The guide makes a number of recommendations for protecting children including placement decisions for the care of children should assure long-term, nurturing relationships; children should be cared for within their own families, communities and cultures, and their language, culture and ethnic ties preserved.

Another organization is World Vision, an international partnership of Christians that has grown to be the largest privately funded Christian relief and development organization in the world, helping children and families in more than 100 countries. World Vision is not an adoption agency and does not facilitate adoptions. It works to help children become productive citizens in their own countries through child sponsorship programs.

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I was curious to how old this article is? I know we (the USA) has joined the Hague Convention the dates seem very outdated. Even the one line in this article says the results of their own study were:

What does the research say? The current state of research based on follow-up studies is fragmented. The studies have been criticized for: the short time frame they encompass; the Eurocentric constructs employed; inadequate sampling methods; questionably low response rates; unwarranted extrapolation from one situation to another; substantial disagreement on the criteriological problem of whether a qualified "success" is actually a success?

Also, the article seems very UNICEF inspired. UNICEF has tried and has been successful in closing many programs (Romania being one of them). http://mfile2.akamai.com/22743/wmv/carlton...8f3765a805a.asx These countries now have more orphans and worse conditions then when UNICEF entered them.

This is a post from a website on how UNICEF actually works and damages international adoptions, which for some children, mean life and death.

UNICEF’s official position would not in itself be a cause for concern. It sounds quite logical and hard to debate. However within it lies the question of implementation, pragmatism, reality, and idealism. In addition, it is worth noting that it was only in the last couple of years that UNICEF’s official position admitted that ICA was preferred to long-term institutionalization. To illustrate my point, it is hard to debate that it is best for a child to stay with his biological family. From there is it best if she stay within her country of birth. And after that, ICA should be considered. Sounds good, but let’s illustrate where the problems lie in the details.

1.) Stay with biological family – should a birthmother have the right to say that she does not wish for her child to grow up within her biological family. Should UNICEF pressure countries to pass legislation that would remove a woman’s right to develop an adoption plan? What if she knows her family would want to keep the child but not provide a safe, stable, loving environment?

2.) Stay in country – So just how long should a country, under law, have to search for a hypothetic domestic family to adopt the child? What happens to the child in the meantime? What if the country offers no good foster or institutional care?

The main issue with UNICEF’s position and formal lobbying efforts are that they are based on one universal standard that does not waiver or give consideration to the uniqueness of each country. Impoverished nations with poor government infrastructure, absent of social programs, do not have the ability to implement the UNICEF ICA model and end up with a clean, functioning system. Instead what we have seen time and time again in countries like El Salvador and Honduras is an end to ICA with no evidence of an increase in family unification or domestic adoption. This is what UNICEF calls “success”.

Those are the main issues with their formal, above-board position. The other strong points of contention are their more covert operations. I cannot say whether these tactics are endorsed by the HQ or just the actions of rogue in-country staff, but UNICEF representatives have been involved in activities such as instigating false media reports, spreading lies such as organ harvesting, trying to dissuade social workers from processing adoption work, and what could easily be construed as bribery. People can choose to believe or not believe these claims as they are very hard to prove. What I will say is that there have been more than enough false stories in the press with UNICEF officials quoted, reports from people I know who work on humanitarian causes, and more to lead me to these conclusions.

I understand international adoption is a controversey among a domestic adoption website and in general to some people, but being blessed by international and waiting to be doubly blessed again through a domestic adoption I try to see them both for the positive aspects to the children (plus, there is a link just for this topic :) ). I have undoubtedly learned so much more through this current adoption and I would be leery to go international again, but for those it feels right for, I wish them nothing but the best. It is just sad to know any children live in such dire situations. It'd be nicer if the world was just a much more perfect place :( I'm also feeling blessed to have the comfort that comes from adopting from home, in the form of openness and open adoption. We are so blessed to have been lead here and are happy and thankfulto be right where we are! :)


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In my opinion it should not matter wether you adopt domestic or international. It is whatever feels right to you. The fact is their are children in the US who need parents and there are children abroad who need parents. Point blank. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Neither one is perfect or totally wrong. I don't understand why we try so hard to make one or the other look bad. It is just like every time we hear something bad about domestic adoption it is palstered ALL over the news and everybody hears about it. That is the same when we post everything bad about international adoptions. I just don't get it. It's just not right!!!! Yes domestic adoption "MAY" be better for a child in the long run IF they are in an open adoption. That isn't always the case. They still suffer loss and there are still problems. You work through your difficulties,deal with it and move on. No matter what it isn't going to be perfect. Kids are always going to have questions,doubts,fears,concerns,idenity issues etc... My biological children I am raising have these sometimes. I think we need to stop trying to make one seem better than the other and try to support it in general. It is ADOPTION and it is a GOOD THING. It is only bad if we do it illegally or for totally selfish reasons. All the bad talk about international adoption upsets me. Just like bad talk about domestic adoption upsets me. Why do we have to do it at all? It just doesn't seem right coming from an ADOPTION forum. Domestic or not. It just isn't right.

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I think we need to stop trying to make one seem better than the other and try to support it in general. It is ADOPTION and it is a GOOD THING.

I agree, Jada. I believe in to each his/her own :lol: For Brian and me (more me), domestic adoption is for us :)


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I agree that neither type of adoption should be seen as better or worse. The article that Elizabeth posted seems to pick quotes to make international seem worse. FOr example:

International adoption isn't the answer to improving the overall plight of children in developing countries. Even the strongest supporters admit the movement of adoptees across international borders represents only a tiny fraction of the neglected, abused and abandoned children in these countries. And supporters of international adoption are quiet about the children who are not adopted and left behind.

Even though adopting one child won't solve the overall plight of children in that country, it will change the future of that child and giving a child a bright future is a worthy endeavor. Most of us can only hope to change things one child at a time.

That being said, we are thrilled with our domestic adoption and will hopefully adopt domestically again. It has been the right thing for us.

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Even though adopting one child won't solve the overall plight of children in that country, it will change the future of that child and giving a child a bright future is a worthy endeavor. Most of us can only hope to change things one child at a time.

I completely agree. :)

Me, too!!!

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Neither one is perfect or totally wrong. I don't understand why we try so hard to make one or the other look bad. It is just like every time we hear something bad about domestic adoption it is palstered ALL over the news and everybody hears about it. That is the same when we post everything bad about international adoptions. I just don't get it. It's just not right!!!!

Not right, but it sure does make for catchy headlines and juicy gossip.

That's all I hear when people find out that we have an open adoption, "Aren't you afraid of...". I'm sure that's all internationa adopters hear "Aren't you glad that....didn't happen?"

I think that adoption is frightening to the general public. People act like infertility is catching, or some kind of disease to be pitied. Worse than pity, is the, "Oh, that's such a wonderful thing you did" routine. BARF! I created my family differently from yours, but not with different motives! I just want to be a MOM, not a SAVIOR.

It upsets me that the adoption community doesn't pull together more. We all created families through adoption. It doesn't matter if we went across country borders or across county borders, it's still adoption, and it's a wonderful thing.

We can't expect the general public to start "getting it" until we ourselves "get it" and pull together to defend our families and the way they were formed.

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