Transracial Adoptees and Their Families: A Study of Identity and Commitment

By Rita J. Simon; Howard Altstein | Go to book overview

11
Intercountry Adoption

Why were 8,327 foreign born nonwhite children adopted by white American families in 1984 when approximately 50,000-100,000 U.S. children in foster care were legally free for adoption (U.S. Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service)? Why were almost 85 percent of the children who were placed by one of New York City's largest adoption agencies foreign born?1 Why is it more difficult for white families to adopt parentless nonwhite children within U.S. borders than children born in Pusan, Korea, or Bogota, Columbia?

Many of these questions can be answered by examining the social characteristics of America's waiting children and the adoption practices of the agencies responsible for them. In the United States, most children available for adoption in 1985 were older, nonwhite, physically and/or emotionally handicapped, or part of a sibling group. To a large extent, intercountry adoption (ICA) can be explained by the fact that so many of these children are nonwhite, predominantly black. It appears that many agencies continue to frown upon and therefore discourage adoption across racial lines. In contrast, the procedures involved for an ICA are comparatively simple, and the results in many cases are remarkably quick. These developments clearly operate in favor of ICA.


BRIEF HISTORY OF ICA

Intercountry adoption is the (unintended) result of efforts by the United States and other Western countries to rescue orphaned children after World War II.2 Religious institutions were largely instrumental in locating permanent homes for these children with adoptive parents in Western countries. The Ko-

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Transracial Adoptees and Their Families: A Study of Identity and Commitment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Part I 1
  • 1 - Where We Are Today: Numbers, Practices, and Policies 3
  • Notes 10
  • 2 - Recent Court Rulings 12
  • Notes 22
  • Part II 25
  • 3 - Looking Back at the Familles 27
  • Notes 32
  • 4 - The Parents' Story 33
  • Notes 56
  • 5 - The Children's Account 57
  • Notes 83
  • 6 - How the Parents' and Children's Accounts Match Up 85
  • Notes 91
  • 7 - Special Families: Problems, Disappointments, Conflicts 92
  • Notes 107
  • 8 - Ordinary Families: A Collective Portrait 108
  • Notes 118
  • Part III 119
  • 9 - Effects of Abortion, Birth Rate, and Lifestyle on Inracial and Transracial Adoptions 121
  • Notes 126
  • 10 - Single Parent Adoption: A Continuing Alternative 127
  • Notes 131
  • 11 - Intercountry Adoption 132
  • Notes 138
  • Concluding Remarks and Recommendations 140
  • Note 143
  • Selected Bibliography 145
  • Index 147
  • About the Authors 151
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