There are four myths that rule intercountry adoption:
Gita Ramaswamy, India - 2003
(with permission from the author)
Myth No1: That thousands of children are abandoned by their natural parents. These are the children who need loving homes, hence adoption.
Fact : Most children who come in for adoption are `relinquished' – they are not abandoned. Adoption agencies go in search of vulnerable poor parents and unwed mothers who can be induced into giving up their children. This number is also not sufficient to provide babies for the numbers of waiting parents. Andhra Pradesh, for example, banned relinquishment of babies to private agencies. Between April 2001- July 2003, a total of 285 babies were abandoned all over the state, that is about 10 babies a month. This in a state which had previously sent over 300 children (more than twice the number of abandoned babies in two years) yearly in inter-country adoption. Maharashtra similarly sends over 500 babies in inter-country adoption (ICA) of which over 60% are relinquished babies.
Myth No. 2 : Foreigners want to save our children
Fact : Foreigners want healthy infants below the age of 2 years only. From the months of August 2003 – October 2003, of the 306 children who went abroad, only 16 were special needs children, 25 were older children. The rest were all healthy toddlers. Of 80 intercountry cases studied by the committee of NGOs appointed by the Govt. of AP in January 2002, all 80 foreign parents wanted healthy infants. While a few foreigner want to `save' children of the Thirld World, most want infants to build a family, because there are not enough adoptable children of suitable colour in their own countries.
Myth No. 3 : Adoptees do well abroad
Fact : While many adoptees certainly do well, there is disturbing information that many suffer, largely of misfit of coloured peoples in racist societies.
A study done in Sweden by Anders Lange on 217 adoptees born in India: 24% had been refused employment, 25% had been harassed at the work place, 7% had been refused to hire an apartment, 17% had been badly treated in school, 14% had been harassed by neighbours, 33% had been threatened on the streets, 7% had been beaten physically, 13% had been refused entry at a restaurant, 15% had been badly treated in a shop, 12% had been badly treated by the police, 11% had been badly treated at a hospital and 12% had been badly treated by social workers.  The rates of suicides for adoptees are five times that of ethnic Swedes – a rate comparable only to forced migration and cultural genocide.
Between 1945-2001, of a total of 43,882 children adopted into Sweden, 6,503 are from India.
Adoptees are over represented in psychiatry centers - 170% over-representation in child psychiatry centers, 400% over-representation at mental health institutions, 200% overrepresented for abuse of alcohol (boys) and narcotics (girls), 200% over represented for anoxeric behaviour (girls), 200% over represented as perpetrators of violent crime (boys) and victims of violent crime (girls) and 300% over represented for suicide attempts (boys) 200 % for girls. They are also 240% overrepresented for placement in foster homes, and 260% over represented for placing in youth homes. The studies also show higher unpleasant sexual experiences for adopted girls, higher frequency of early sex, several sexual partners, early pregnancy and abortion, as well as higher substance abuse.
Myth No. 4 : Adoption agencies are charitable bodies.
Fact : Most adoption agencies sell babies for high profits.
This is not a peculiarity of Indian agencies, there is a global trade in babies. `The buying and selling of babies under the guise of adoption is yet another extension of trafficking and an egregious human rights violation. In the case of foreign adoption, several means of procurements have identified to secure the babies…. Shady adoption agencies have also worked to convince impoverished parents to give up their baby so it will be given a much 'better life' in the
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has recognized the problem.
"The Assembly therefore fiercely opposes the current transformation of international adoption into nothing short of a market regulated by the capitalist laws of supply and demand and characterised by a one-way flow of children from poor and emerging states into our developed countries. It roundly condemns all crimes committed in order to facilitate adoption, as well as the commercial tendencies and practices that include the use of psychological or financial pressure on vulnerable families, the arranging of adoptions directly with families, the conceiving of children for adoption, the falsification of paternity documents etc and adoption via the Internet."
'We as a country have done a poor job of regulating adoption here and abroad', says Adam Pertman, author of the book Adoption Nation, 'We know mothers in Third World countries are given paltry amounts to give up their children for adoption. We don't have a clue how many and how much money is being pocketed by others along the way.'
That adoption has become a commercial transaction has not been denied by anyone. The US Dept. of Health and Human Services, gives out information on various costs of adoption on the NAIC website
Domestic public agency adoption: Zero to $2,500
Domestic private agency adoption: $4,000 to $30,000+
Domestic independent adoption: $8,000 to $30,000+
Intercountry private agency or independent adoption: $7,000 to $25,000+
According to the Evan B.Donaldson Adoption Institute Survey of Americans who adopted internationally, 13% were not satisfied with services, 14% said their adoption cost more than they were told, and 75% of parents said they were asked by their agencies to carry cash overseas, with most carrying $3,000 or more.
A white baby costs $25,000 to $30,000, while the cost for an African-American baby is $4,000 to $8,000. (Komo news, 2002). At the Edna Gladney Centre,
Reports of trafficking the world over Inter-country adoption is now being increasingly recognized as a problem the world over. Over the last five years,
This resulted in entire Russian villages being denuded of children.
The US State Dept. itself has 'strongly urged American citizens not to enter into an agreement with an adoption service provider to adopt in
In Latin America,
The situation was so bad that UNICEF, was constrained to recommend that non-judicial adoptions be stopped until
All pay foster mothers about $80 a month to care for the infants, and the agencies provide the food and the clothing and other supplies free of charge. "I've had to ask myself, do we really have baby factories here? Exclaims Ackerman, the INS officer in charge at the US Embassy in Seoul.
Brazil had several complaints that a local court was allowing foreigners to adopt Brazilian children against their parents' wishes. In the US itself, 42 yr old Denise Thomas was accused of trying to sell her 8 yr old adopted Russian daughter for $4,000 on the Internet. 'Much as you would advertise a car for sale', Arapahoe County Sheriff Sgt. Eugene Reilly said. The husband,Peter Thomas said his wife suffers from a mild form of manic depression, but controls it well with medication. It makes her more susceptible to stress, he said.
`Almost every discussion of adoption in
The UNICEF Innocenti Digest No. 4 on ICA documents the various non-exhaustive ways of abuse of the established norms and laws for ICA :
- Seeking changes in policy and practice by applying highly questionable political and economic pressures.
- Illegally obtaining children for adoption
- Identifying potentially vulnerable mothers and inciting them to give up their future or new born baby.
- Falsely informing the mother that her baby was stillborn or died shortly after birth.
- Exchange of a child for financial or material rewards.
- Offering women financial incentives to conceive a child specifically for adoption abroad.
- Illegally securing permission to adopt by using fraudulent documents.
- Corruption of officials and judges to obtain favourable decisions.
- Taking a child through a third country.
 Cara clearances, www.cara.nic.in
 committee report (with Sangeeta)
 Anders Lange: Diskriminering, integration och etniska relationer, quoted by Tobias Hubinette in International adoptees in Sweden according to statistics and research, firstname.lastname@example.org communication
 tobias, www.goal.or.kr
 Tobias Hubinette, Swedish Adoptees : International adoptees in
 Reuters, Dec. 12, 2001, Alan Elsner, US cracks down on global adoption abuses
 The Evan B.Donaldson Adoption Institute Newsletter Archives July 2002
 I went onto www.abcadoptions.com/guestlong.htm
 IAVAAN, February 22, 2003
 Reuters August, 1999
 Casa Alianza newsletter, May 28, 1999
 Coalition against Trafficking in Women, Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation,
 Christian Science Monitor, October 17, 200
 Babies for sale, South Koreans make them, Americans buy them, by Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive, January 1988 at
 National Post, Anne Marie Owens,
 Denver Rocky Mountain News, 25.5.1999
 where donations from adoption agencies and adopters were solicited