Special Issue: International adoption & identity

Erika Vives, Opinion Editor

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International adoption has played a role in the United States for decades. In fact, According to the Pew Research Center, the U.S. makes up for 46% of all of the worlds international adoptions. However, that number has been on a sharp decline within the past several years. Most international adoptees come from China, Russia, Guatemala, Russia, South Korea, and Ethiopia. Additionally, the United States makes a prominent adoption impact in 24 other countries.

Although the U.S. leads in international adoption, the drop in adoptions over the past four years pushes one to examine why one may be hesitant in internationally adopting and what they can do to combat that hesitancy.

For some people, domestic adoption is the most ethical route to take. Individuals argue that there are hundreds of thousands of children waiting for a home within the borders of the United States. However, a more clear counter argument provided by The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is that, with the 153 million children worldwide who are orphans, focusing on those who lie only within the borders of the U.S. is selfish.

Moreover, aside from the most obvious reason of being in need of a family, these children have a higher rate of mortality due to child labor, starvation and war. It is evident that for some adoptive families, borders are not a barrier and most certainly not a reason to neglect providing a loving home to a child who needs one.

One of the biggest discussions surrounding adopting out of the country refers to race. In fact, as long as transracial adoption has existed, it has been a widely debated topic. However, like most things, time has greatly influenced the perception of adopting children of other races. In the past, the notion that a child would “stick out” of their adopted family was a very big concern.

While many people who participate in transracial adoption are aware of the difficulties that may lie ahead, it is not always a deterring factor. In fact, many of those who adopt nowadays are required to take training and classes to prepare them for challenges. Parents may also find themselves in support groups to help their child acknowledge their differences and allow them to seek comfort in their individualistic identity.

Just like anything in life, Internationally adopting can present challenging obstacles. However, with the right support and knowledge, it is clear that the process can run just as smoothly as domestic adoption when proper measures are taken.

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