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International Adoption Cause for Celebration or Cause for Concern?

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Presentation on theme: "International Adoption Cause for Celebration or Cause for Concern?"— Presentation transcript:

1 International Adoption Cause for Celebration or Cause for Concern?

2 Weve got people flying all over the world to adopt babies, while the care system at home agonises about placing black children with white families David Cameron, Conservative Party Conference 2011

3 Themes and context relatively small-scale but symbolically powerful identity nature of family – real parents biological or psychological nature/nurture approved parenting....race/ethnicity nationhood

4 Historical background from ancient times mass child migrations war orphans and refugees from fascism 20 th century formalisation Zelizer - sacralization of childhood – from economic asset to priceless child

5 Modern international adoption transnational adoption has been shaped by the forces of colonialism, the Cold War and globalization (Briggs & Marre) post WW2 adoptions from Europe and Far East Korean war and mixed race children Cold War in Latin America Vietnam and operation Babylift US & western europe (esp Scandinavia)

6 History of Modern IA (contd) the decline of domestic adoption in West rise of transracial adoption from humanitarianism to infertility decline in late 1980s – awareness of abuses; challenges of assimilation; beyond sunshine stories, end of Cold War – Romania and Eastern European adoptions China and one child policy growth in 1990s – N America, Spain, Italy, and Ireland

7 Renewal of celebrity adoption

8 Historical trends in receiving countries - from Selman (2009a)

9 Major sending countries - from Selman (2009a) KoreaChina IndiaRussia ColombiaVietnamGuatemala BrazilKoreaEthiopia Sri LankaColombiaKorea ChileIndiaColombia PhilippinesGuatemalaVietnam GuatemalaRomaniaHaiti PeruBrazilUkraine El SalvadorEthiopiaIndia

10 Standardised rates in receiving countries from Selman (2009b) Number of adoptions Adoptions per 1000 live births Norway Spain Sweden Denmark Ireland Netherlands USA France Australia UK3340.5

11 Standardised rates in sending countries from Selman (2009b) Number of adoptions Adoptions per 1000 live births Guatemala Latvia Russia South Korea Ukraine Haiti Kazakhstan China India

12 Adoption narratives love conquers all(?) – triumphs and doubts campaigners for justice birth parents in IA permanently invisible and silent (Wiley and Baden)

13 Perspectives on international adoption Masson – promoters, abolitionists and pragmatists child rescue v child trafficking judging success – adjustment and identity majority success and the troubled/troublesome minority - Hjern & Lindblad; Verhulst and Versluis-den Bieman; Hoksbergen they have undertaken a long journey to a new culture and class, and they have no return ticket (Dalen)

14 Identity and culture wars the politics of transracial adoption – overcoming barriers or cultural imperialism? feelings of belonging psychic homelessness (Hoksbergen) what is culture and does it matter? culture and family background and country and decorations and songs, all that is fine; but the mother, no Stjerna

15 Globalisation and its effects international adoption and the internet naming rights? diaspora communities searching, genealogy and beyond international adoption communities & self-help intersection of IA and domestic adoption why adopt abroad? does IA stifle adoption in sending countries

16 International adoption and abuses adoption, kidnap and disappearance exploiting disasters and conflicts buying children deception of birth parents - cultural misunderstandings? kafalah in Islam social orphans is global inequality abusive?– patterns of social reproduction and the best interests of children

17 Pragmatism and regulation Recognize that inter-country adoption may be considered as an alternative means of child's care, if the child cannot be placed in a foster or an adoptive family or cannot in any suitable manner be cared for in the child's country of origin (UNCRC Article 21b) Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption 1993

18 Pragmatism..... (contd) central authority/ies & accredited bodies division of labour between sending and receiving countries partial ratification framework limited by resources and local practices EurAdopt ethical rules cle&id=6&Itemid=15&lang=en cle&id=6&Itemid=15&lang=en

19 References and bibliography Bowie F (2004) Cross-cultural approaches to adoption (chs12-17), London: Routledge Dalen M (2005) International adoptions in scandinavia: research focus and main results, in Brodzinsky D and Palacios J (eds) Psychological Issues in Adoption: Research and Practice, Wesport, CT:Praeger Dorow S (2007) Transnational Adoption: a cultural economy of race, gender, and kinship, New York: New York University Press Hoksbergen R (1997) Child Adoption: a Guidebook for Adoptive Parents and their Advisers, London: Jessica Kingsley Howell S (2006) The Kinning of Foreigners: Transnational Adoption in a Global Perspective, New York: Bergahn Books Juffer, F. and M.H. van IJzendoorn (2009) International adoption comes of age:development of international adoptees from a longitudinal and meta-analytical perspective, in G. Wrobel and E. Neil (eds) International Advances in Adoption Research, Chichester: John Wiley Lindblad F et al (2003) Intercountry adopted children as young adults: a Swedish cohort study, American Journal of Othopsychiatry 73,2 Marre D and Briggs L (eds) (2009) International Adoption: global inequalities and the circulation of children, New York: New York University Press McGinnis H (2005) Intercountry Adoption In Emergencies: The tsunami orphans New York: Evan B Donaldson Masson J (2001) Intercountry adoption: a global problem or a global solution, Journal of International Affairs 55,1

20 References (contd) Roby J and Matsamura S (2002). If I give you my child, arent we family: A study of birthmothers participating in Marshall Islands-U.S. adoptions, Adoption Quarterly, 5,4 Rutter M (2005) Adverse preadoption experiences and Psychological Outcomes, in Brodzinsky D and Palacios J (eds) Psychological Issues in Adoption: Research and Practice, Wesport, CT:Praeger Selman P (ed) (2000) Intercountry Adoption:developments, trends and perspectives, London: British Association for Adoption and Fostering Selman P (2009a) Intercountry adoption: research, policy and practice, in Simmonds J and Schofield G (eds) The Child Placement Handbook, London: British Association for Adoption and Fostering Selman P (2009b) From Bucharest to Beijing: changes in countries sending children for international adoption 1990 to 2006, in Wrobel G and Neil E (eds) International Advances in Adoption Research for Practice, Chichester: Wiley Selman P (2009c) The rise and fall of intercountry adoption in the 21 st century, International Social Work, 52,5 Triseliotis J (2000) Intercountry adoption: global trade or global gift?, Adoption and Fostering 24,2 UNICEF Social Monitor (2003) chapter 4 on Intercountry Adoption Volkman T (2005) Cultures of Transnational Adoption, Durham, NC: Duke University Press Yngvesson B (2010) Belonging in an Adopted World: Race, Identity, and Transnational Adoption, Chicago: University of Chicago Press

21 Smolin - The Two Faces of International Adoption adoption scandals, like those in Andhra Pradesh, illustrate the necessity of building such systems of accountability into the global adoption system. Without such systems of accountability, one can virtually never know, when holding an adopted child, whether the child was an orphan needing a home, or a beloved daughter or son illicitly taken from a home. Without accountability, the pretty face of adoption as a loving act that fills a real need in a childs life will, all too often, turn out to be no more than a mask covering over ugly realities of trafficking, profiteering, and needless tragedy.


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