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Black American infants find homes overseas

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 18 2013 4:00 a.m. MDT

Want to adopt a healthy infant whose family history and medical background is known? Black American children are meeting the needs of would-be adoptive parents overseas.

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Want to adopt a healthy infant whose family history and medical background is known? Black American children are meeting the needs of would-be adoptive parents overseas.

"While the number of international adoptions is plummeting — largely over questions surrounding the origin of children put up for adoption in developing countries — there is one nation from which parents abroad can adopt a healthy infant in a relatively short time whose family history and medical background is unclouded by doubt: The United States," writes CNN's Sophie Brown.

The children most likely to be available for international adoption are those with special needs, older children or even sibling groups. But Susan Cox, vice president of policy and external affairs for Holt International Children's Services, which helps Americans adopt from 12 countries, told the Deseret News that dark skin can make one what she called "a waiting child" and therefore adoptable. The United States allows adoption of American children by foreign families if willing American parents aren't found. Black biracial American newborns, for example, sometimes find new homes in Canada, Israel and Europe.

Adam Pertman, director of the Donaldson Adoption Institute and author of "Adoption Nation," told CNN that many birth mothers believe their black or mixed-race children will face fewer race issues in the Netherlands than in the United States, for example.

"In the United States, as much as Americans want to believe it's not true, we are still a country where there is a least some degree of racial prejudice. The birth mothers' perception of Holland, in particular, was that the same was not true in Holland. There's that feeling that maybe we can escape those issues if (the child is) somewhere else," he said.

It's not a new trend, although it has reportedly continued to grow even as other international adoptions have decreased in number. In 2005, People magazine was among many publications that noted hundreds of healthy American babies each year were being adopted outside the country. At the time, it was primarily by people in Canada.

"Americans have long been used to couples in the U.S. adopting children from overseas. But few realize that each year hundreds of children — nearly all African-American or biracial — leave this country to be raised by foreign parents," Anne-Marie O'Neill wrote.

The State Department has said that Canada tops the list of countries adopting from America. In 2010, 148 U.S.-born kids found homes there. The Netherlands is second.

EMAIL: lois@deseretnews.com, Twitter: Loisco

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