Children of Intercountry Adoptions in School: A Primer for Parents and Professionals

By Ruth Lyn Meese | Go to book overview

Chapter 1

Introduction: Who Are These Children?

Intercountry adoption, also called international adoption, refers to the adoption by U.S. citizens of children from other countries. According to Babb (1999), international adoption really began in the United States in 1955 following the adoption of eight children from Korea by Harry and Bertha Holt who later founded the Holt Adoption Agency, a national conference sponsored by the Child Welfare League, and congressional action. At the end of the Korean War in the 1950s and the Vietnam War in the 1970s, Americans adopted thousands of children either fathered by U.S. soldiers or left without families as a result of these conflicts. Intercountry adoptions declined in the 1980s, but shortly after the assassination in 1989 of Nicolae Ceausescu, the Romanian dictator, international adoptions by U.S. citizens once again increased dramatically. After seeing on their televisions hundreds of thousands of children shown living in horrendous conditions in huge orphanages throughout Romania, Americans traveled by the thousands to adopt their children (Bascom & McKelvey, 1997). As the former Soviet Union crumbled in the early 1990s, thousands more children in orphanages were adopted by U.S. parents, and adoptions of infant girls abandoned in the Peoples Republic of China have increased dramatically since 1994.

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