The Thinking 

A Voice Against International Adoption

July 3, 2012


Angelina Jolie, the glamorous face of international adoption


I read with great interest your April 5th story, titled “The Confession of Joyce Maynard.”

I was adopted from a German orphanage by an American couple, one of about 10,000 German children adopted by U.S. citizens during the 1950s-1970s. In this television interview, I describe international adoption from a unique perspective — that of a foreign orphan adopted to America — and the harm caused by uprooting children from their native countries and cultures.

Laura writes:

Thank you for writing.

I have never seen anyone so forcefully state the case against international adoption as you have.

Some of the posts I have written on the subject can be found here, here, here, here, here, and here. Feminism and the sexual revolution are both major factors in the rise of international adoption because they have encouraged delayed childbearing, with its attendant rise in infertility, and abortion. The widespread denial that race and ethnicity are major aspects of human identity is also to blame.

I differ with you on your point that poverty and high birth rates are in themselves causes of international adoption. However, I look forward to reading your book and your argument in full.

Peter Dodds’ website is here. Of particular interest is his keynote address to an adoption conference in 1998. In that address, he stated:

As I read through international adoption literature in the United States, what strikes me most is that the voice of the foreign born adoptee has yet to be heard. Literature describes “how to adopt” a foreign child and actions that adopting parents can take to bridge barriers separating them from their child. The word “bridge” indicates there is a chasm. What is this chasm? For internationally adopted children, the chasm represents lost language, heritage, culture, history and country.

What is written about international adoption comes from the perspective of adults, American adults, so it is difficult to piece together a picture of consequences international adoption has on the foreign born adoptee.

He also suggests alternatives to international adoption and recommendations for how the practice might be improved.

—- Comments —-

Hurricane Betsy writes:

People desperate for a child just don’t think about any pain or need except their own. It’s all about them, not the child. They think (when they bother thinking at all) that all a child needs is a comfortable home, good food, all the opportunities in North America for “success” – and, of course, nice, kind parents, just like themselves.

On the other hand, in Canada, quite a few aboriginal children who have been fostered out to white families, where at least when they are young do very well, are returned to their parents for cultural reasons and you know what happens? Abuse beyond description, and even murder. So there you go. This has occurred so many times, not just once or twice.

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