Thoughts on international adoption

Last week I posted about E.J. Graff’s article, “The Baby Business,” in which Graff described some countries’ practice of international adoption as “all but free of meaningful law, regulation, or oversight.” Since then, adoption professionals have been responding to the article, including a response by Dr. Jane Aronson. For anyone not familiar with Dr. Aronson, she is CEO and founder of the international organization, Worldwide Orphans Foundation. She is also a pediatrician, known in the adoption world as the “Orphan Doctor.”

In her response to “The Baby Business,” Dr. Aronson states that governments would best serve their children by focusing efforts on addressing what Aronson calls the “international orphan crisis,” a crisis whose magnitude is far more devastating than any earthquake or volcano. Instead of creating more punitive and bureaucratic regulations around international adoption, Aronson says governments should address the underlying reasons why parents relinquish their children for adoption in the first place. Funds should be committed to creating infrastructures designed to keep families intact. Such infrastructures include, but are not limited to, social services, medical care, and free education.

Otherwise, says Dr. Aronson, “…we are effectually ensuring that families will be torn apart by poverty, illness, ignorance and fear, and that children will be abandoned to orphanages or a life on the streets or in brothels. This would be the case even if there were no…international adoption.”

Dr. Aronson ends by quoting Principle 2 of The United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child: “The child … shall be given opportunities and facilities, by law and by other means, to enable him/her to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity.”

As an adoptive mother, I agree strongly with Dr. Aronson. The number of children adopted internationally represents a miniscule percentage of the number living without the right to grow up in conditions of freedom and dignity. Isn’t that what we wish for all children?  To read Dr. Aronson’s entire article, click on the link here:



4 Responses to “Thoughts on international adoption”

  1. thanks for sharing. I am blessed to have your insight and knowledge in this crazy journey. It reminds me of situation of the Russia Child that was sent back. The Russia government was outraged, but why weren’t/are they not outraged at the fact that their systems may be causing such traumatic behaviors. Of course I do not believe what she did was right.

  2. Jessica says:

    Kelly, I remember so well what it felt like to be exactly where you are in the process. Exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Some consolation, I hope, in the fact that you are not alone. Hang in there. xoxo

  3. Cecile says:

    Dr Aronson’s words are words of common sense which all seems to be forgotten whenever anyone mentions the words international adoption. There is a global orphan crises and everyone seems blind to it. The world needs to wake up to the 145 million children who are growing up without love, security, comfort or the tools to become fully functioning adults. These children will go on to bring children into the world who few will be able to look after and the vicious cycle will continue. I agree with Dr Aronson, governments need to swollow their shame and address fundamental problems – and accept that inter-country adoption is a positive option for children to meet their rights and fulfil their potential.

  4. Jessica says:

    Cecile, very well said. Thank you.

Leave a Comment