A Family for Every Child: International Adoption of American Children in the Netherlands

This is an interestng perspective from a Dutch Authority, more on the rising adoptions of American children to the Netherlands.  Frankly, from the sounds of it, many of these kids would be better in a European home/lifestyle than a wacked American one.  Many of these Dutch families so want a child and there is just no children available in the Netherlands.  Very hard especially the infertile couples who try and try . Dutch has very little predjudices like America and is very accepting. 

Hans VanHooffHans van Hooff
Legal Advisor, Fiom and Coordinator, International Social Service (ISS) Netherlands

Summary: Social and political changes are resulting in an increase in the number of American children adopted in the Netherlands.



Recently, the adoption of American children in the Netherlands has received a great deal of public attention. There are several reasons why this trend has caused both concern and heated debate.

The US has traditionally adopted the highest number of foreign-born children. This, of course, begs the question of how is it possible that children, especially infants, from the US are available for international adoption when there is an obvious demand for children to adopt within the country. A second concern is that many American children are still infants when they are adopted internationally. The result is that the biological mother has little time to consider her decision. This is in direct conflict with the spirit of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, to which the Netherlands is a signatory. In response, the minister of justice decided to minimize the number of adoptions from the US by limiting adoption to children with special needs and children over five. A brief overview of the history of adoption in the Netherlands will provide the context for this important change in child welfare policy.

National Adoption in the Netherlands
In 1956, the Netherlands enacted the Adoption Act. National adoption under this act is defined as a complete adoption: severing all (legal) relations with the biological parents. Although adoption is viewed as a child protection measure, it also incorporates an element of family formation. Domestic adoption in the Netherlands has been steadily decreasing since the 1970s. The following statistics illustrate this trend:

Number of Domestic Adoptions:

1970    1,209

1980    259

1990    90

2000    50

2009    25

The decrease in domestic adoptions is the result of several factors: a changed view of single motherhood, the introduction of the Social Assistance Act, increased access to contraception and the emergence and legalization of abortion clinics. In addition, increasing prosperity has resulted in women having children at a later age. However, this has led to an increase in fertility problems. Often, (international) adoption is the only remaining option.

Intercountry Adoption in the Netherlands

Because there are so few children available for domestic adoption in the Netherlands, individuals and couples looking to adopt a child are searching outside the country. However, the Dutch authorities, in the spirit of the Hague Convention, attached numerous conditions to international adoption in the act of  December 8, 1998. Despite this, the number of applications for foreign adoptions has increased considerably. In fact, more than 3,000 couples who have met all the formal requirements for international adoption are waiting for the arrival of a foreign child.

Until 2004, the number of foreign-born adopted children increased in the Netherlands. After 2004 the number of foreign-born children adopted in the Netherland began to decrease. This was due to a decrease in the supply of children available to Dutch families willing to adopt from overseas. Specifically, the decrease in the number of children from China who were available for adoption had a huge impact on the number of international adoptions. Nearly half of all foreign adoptions until 2004 were children from China. However, a review of the current trends in international adoptions reveals that there is a notable increase in the number of children adopted from the US.

Number of children adopted from abroad:

1990    800

2000    1192

2004    1307    including 18 from the US

2005    1185    including 32 from the US

2006    816     including 38 from the US

2007    782     including 39 from the US

2008    767     including 56 from the US

Children Adopted from the United States
Since 2001 Dutch adoption legislation has permitted international adoption by same-sex couples. However, until very recently, only the US allowed adoption by same-sex couples. The result is that many US-born children are adopted by same-sex couples. In the Netherlands, most adoptions from the US are achieved by applying, a “do-it-yourself” method. This means that adoptive parents personally developed contacts abroad rather than hiring a state-licensed agency to assist. However, this option is only available in countries that are not signatories to the Hague Convention. Because the US has ratified the convention, the ability of prospective parents to utilize the “do-it-yourself” method has been eliminated. There are two reasons for this.

First, all international adoptions that occur between Hague signatory countries are administered by the central authority in each country. Second, the principle of subsidiarity of the Hague Convention states that international adoption is not an alternative unless all domestic options are fully explored. This includes the children’s extended family, foster care and domestic adoption opportunities. It is only when a domestic solution is not available that international adoption can be considered.

These changes in Dutch domestic child welfare law and the fact that the US has ratified the Hague Convention means that prospective parents in the Netherlands may have a very long wait to adopt. However, there are thousands of potential parents who are willing and able to provide a safe, permanent and loving home to American-born children.


Why is it that the Netherlands can reduce domestic adoptions?

Since 1970 to 2009 the domestic adoptions decreased drastically from 1,209 to 25.  I hope this is telling the world that the Netherlands has encouraged and supported families to stay together.  I find it amazing that so few children in the Netherlands are available for adoption and that so many are wanted.

This speaks volumes about America's warehousing of children in foster care and our "throw away" attitude.  America has WAY to many children in Foster Care, and over 130,000 are paper ready for adoption.  Many are older teenagers and sibling groups, nevertheless we have children needing good loving homes. 

No adoption from foster care in the Netherlands

One of the main reasons why domestic adoption in the Netherlands is low compared to the US, is because adoption from foster care simply does not exist. Yet foster care itself does exist, and while the Dutch foster care system is smaller than that in the US system, it's not orders of magnitute smaller.

In 2008, around 22,000 children in the Netherlands were served in the foster care system, while that number is around 750,000 for the US. The United States is around 18 times more populous than the Netherlands, so if the Dutch foster care figures would apply to the US, there would still be some 400,000 children served in the foster care system annually.

No adoptions from foster care in Europe

In Western Europe - with the exception of the UK? - children taken into care are not 'available' for adoption. Parental rights are terminated very very rarely, only in extreme cases.

Since implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child most European countries have made child protection fully child centered which had as result that domestic adoptions - often the result of demand for children - declined significantly. This was especially the case in the Nordic countries and in the Netherlands, Belgium etc. But also in Spain, France and Italy. At the same time the focus became more on foster care, instead of residential care.


What is the Netherlands doing so right, if there are so few children available for domestic adoption in the Netherlands?

And what is America doing so wrong if exporting it's own foster children (for a good price) is the best alternative America can offer?

Don't people see how dangerous selling foster children to foreigners (who are desperate-to-have children) can be?  [ Hint:  "best interest of child" can easily get overlooked if a placement agency is more focused on pleasing the paying customer.... that customer being a foreigner, with cash.]

who is doing what right

Like I said in another comment one of the reasons behind the low figures for domestic adoption is the non-existence of adoption from foster care, although that is not a complete explanation. The figures for domestic infant adoption in the Netherlands are also much lower than in the United States.

There is no reliable information about the number of domestic infant adoptions in the US, but it is estimated to be around 20,000 cases per year. In which case the rate of domestic infant adoption in the US is about 40 times higher than in the Netherlands.

Many factors play a role in that. First and foremost, the number of teen pregnancies in the Netherlands is much lower than in the United States, which not only influences the number of adoptions, but also the number of abortions performed. The age of first sexual contact in the Netherlands is also more than a year later than in the United States, which correlates with the lower teen pregnancy rate.

It's difficult to give a definitive answer to what the Netherlands is doing better, though there are a couple of notable differences. First of all sex education is mandatory and comprehensive, so there are relatively few teen-agers who don't know about human reproduction and its relation to sex. The educational system is also more closely regulated, making it impossible for schools not to offer comprehensive sex education.

Yet the biggest reason for the low teen pregnancy rate in the Netherlands, I believe, has to do with relatively low levels of poverty. Teen agers from all back grounds engage in risky behaviour, but teens growing up in poverty are much more likely to do so; they have a lot less to lose. For teen agers aspiring to go to college, have a career, there are reasons to be more careful. Teens growing up in poverty often don't have such aspirations, so they have much less to lose when engaging in risky behaviour.

Poverty is also the underlying reason why many more people in their twenties relinquish children for adoption in the US than in the Netherlands.

The reason why the United States has so much more poverty than the Netherlands is largely cultural and something that cannot be done much about. As much as the income disparity in the United States would be unacceptable to the Dutch, income equality as seen in the Netherlands would be unacceptable to Americans.

In many ways the Netherlands is much more mediocre than the United States. The Netherlands has mediocre health care, which on average is better than American health care, but top-notch health care in the US is better than top-notch health care in the Netherlands. The Netherlands has a mediocre educational system, which on average is better than the American educational system, but the best colleges in the US are far superior to the best colleges in the Netherlands. The Netherlands offers mediocre career opportunities. On average it is easier to get a well-paying job, but the top is lower than in America.

I don't believe the US will ever trade its superiority for mediocrity, even when that mediocrity would on average be superior. So in the end, the US has to accept that it will have relatively poor health, relatively many teen pregnancies, relatively many abortions, relatively low life expectancy, relatively poor eduction, because in the end most Americans will choose to fight for excellent health care for themselves and excellent education for their children, and not settle for mediocrity for everyone.

Finally to the issue of adoption of children from the American foster care system by Dutch people, which after all is the topic of this thread. In the first place, I am not in favour of it. If America cannot take care of its own, it shouldn't be alleviated of that task by people from other countries. It sets a very wrong example. I also think this is a phenomenon that has largely flown under the radar. I believe if more Americans knew about it, there would be much more protest. How can a country so proud of itself and so patriotic allow itself to ship off its children to Europe? So I guess the adoption of American children by Europeans will last as long as Americans are ignorant about it. In the end Americans will probably not be able to live with the cognitive mismatch between living in the greatest nation in the world, while accepting it needs other countries to take care of their children.

Almost choked on this one...

Frankly, from the sounds of it, many of these kids would be better in a European home/lifestyle than a wacked American one

I bet the same pitch is offered to those in Africa, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Guatemala, Haiti, Vietnam, Romania, Russia....

"The kids would be better in an American home than a poor orphange." 

I think improving local living/housing conditions is a much better, smarter move.... but it's a more costly decision.... one that does not bring-in a fraction of the profit international adoption can.  God forbid we think of ALL the local children's needs, (adoptable or not), and not the desperate PAP's.


I just threw and reading that Scott and Karen Banks Focus on Ch

I just threw up my mango smoothie.


Scott and Karen Banks, Focus on Children, Samoan adoption scam, just adopted a child in Utah!  Seems they lied to a civil judge and told him that they had in their possession written relinquishments.  (ex-parte, and fraud here)

This child was one of their clients.  The Banks were running the now defunct Focus on Children adoption agency that really only focused on cash in exchange of questionable orphans.  The federal government shut down the Focus on Children adoption agency because of fraud.  The owners were indicted on 135 federal felony counts.  They left two of their adopted kids from Romania in Samoa, basically abandoning them.

They pled guilty, are on probation, and now we have heard that the children in Romania were not too happy with the parenting skills of the Banks.  Sounds like they are being held hostage by the Banks in Samoa, so that they can not tell the world of their "lives" under the rule of the Banks, or else!!!!!
The Romanian children have no paper work to leave the island, and this is no reality show.
Please tell me how can convicted criminals adopt a child?  With their track record, holy moly. 
Did they have a home study,   how do criminals pass a home study, while on probation and paying into a trust, for their adoption dirty work in Samoa.
I want to have the social worker that Scott and Karen Banks hired to do our home study.

This is a strange story that has been going on a few years

The child in question was adopted by a client of Focus on Children, if I remember right the adoptive mother soon became pregnant and was overwhelmed with parenting.  So they needed some respite because the Adoptive Family was going to disrupt.  The Banks took the child in as their own. 

After the family got their act together and the mother got medical care and counseling - they did visit their adoptive child when the Banks had custody of the child.  The family wanted to sue to gain custody and the Banks fought it. 

They evidently have been allowed to adopt the child for some reason,  There is much more to the story it is all over the Internet but this is the just of it.

Frankly, I still think they should have seen jail time and paid restitution to the families in Samoa that they destroyed.  As for their cowboy rustler, he should be strung up by his #(@($(.

Does the Netherlands government subsidize adoptions?

Most European countries: Spain, Italy, etc., the government pays the fees for adoption and supplies a government social worker that assists the families.  The reason I was told in Spain and Italy was because they have a 0 Zero population growth.  Their governments also provide a multitude of support, that Americans have a hard time finding for their children. 

Top level child psychology, support for families counseling, medical, etc., 

Does the Netherlands government subsidize adoptions?

The Dutch governments support adoption families with 3.700 euro per child when the child is arrived in the Netherlands. What we call, arrival incentives. Besides this, the Dutch government allows additional adoption fees to be paid in cash to children homes and so-called orphanages under the ruling of the OECD guideline of 'facilitation payments' see also an earlier article about this at PPL,'Dutch government accept bribes to get Haitian children'.

United Adoptees International

Famous last words

"The kids would be better in   ..."

If I had a nickel.

okay from someone who lives in the USA

You would not want the American government running anything in your life, trust me...

Most of the main problems in my son's life have come from a very messed up social services system and crappy ass school system.  If you want to see USA gov. run health care look at the care Native Americans and Veteran's get (really poor care in many cases)

Nope, were are not socialist and many don't want to be....

I don't think sex ed would help anything, and if the gov, dished out more comprehensive sex ed it would suck as well.  I think just about everyone gets a really go idea about how babies are made (there is another really big problem in the USA though I agree, that really isn't is sex ed issue, but a self worth issue for girls/young women... see many think the only way to get a man is to dish it out and in many community as young as 11 it goes on all the time....) 

Depending on the state birth control is free and pretty easy to get...

Don't most Arabic countries have 0 adoption rate?  because they don't allow it, it is your lot in life if your parents die or abuse you so your can't be adopted...

but no, IMO, I don't think the USA should be shipping its children anywhere

Adoption from foster care is important if only to get dumb ass social workers out of the children's lives.... 

And I swear I read on this site somewhere about the high suicide rate of black children placed in white European countries because they were treated like some kind of freak in their community... 

Suicide rates

And I swear I read on this site somewhere about the high suicide rate of black children placed in white European countries because they were treated like some kind of freak in their community...

What are your stats on "black children" and suicide in general?

Which community are you talking about? People belong to more than just one community.

If you want to see USA gov. run health care look at the care Native Americans and Veteran's get (really poor care in many cases)

Or Medicare, which a lot of government-off-my-health care types somehow want left intact .

Or being denied coverage from private insurers after paying out the nose on premiums for years. Come on, we can do better than this level of analysis.

Rinda, then what is the solution?

If we cannot make government accountable, do you think contracting out the work to outside agencies is any better?  Look at Blackwater? Look at the endless private adoption agencies throughout the USA that have lucrative contracts with their state and local county governments?

What is the answer?  I don't think the government should duck their responsibilities to the cheapest bidder on their contracts either. 

12 years ago the USCIS Field Agents (formerly the INS) conducted all the homestudy requirements for international adoption.  Then someone got a brainy idea to contract the work out and change the laws to our free enterprise so the private agencies could "feel the love" or in this case (share the wealth)  the government didn't want the task of overseeing this or hiring SW to do this.

Adoption agencies realized that regulations were lax - and profits were high in adoption.  As a result by 2004 International adoptions swelled in the USA to over 22,000 a year.   Money was free flowing and no one was watching the store.  

As always, fraud happens when services are jobbed out (our services to taxpayers)  and no one accepts the blame - because no one is accountable anymore. Such as why this country has a Medicare FRAUD debt of $60 Billion by bogus companies billing our governement for services never performed.

We need more checks and balances in a capitalistic society, things will get out of hand when money flows freely and profits are high.  WHO(M) pays for all of this?  Sadly the American Taxpayer who is generally the middle class who are slipping into lower income brackett yearly because government isn't protecting us. 

I say lets put the health and safety of all Americans before profits or cost saving measure. 

Lastly, I never meant that American children would be better off leaving our country and adopted out.  I do believe that some of the nut case Americans that have been allowed to adopt and get paid for a fost to adopt aka contracted outsourced orphanage (this is all a Foster home is)  these children might be better off in a loving, stable European home. 

According to that article the Dutch will now have a harder time adopting from the USA, with all of the restrictions. 

found it

found it http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/40246 it was myth #3 I think talking aboud Sweds... maybe like is perfect in the Netherlands and we could all move there (including the living parents and sibs and grandmas, grandps, and cousins they are taking the children away from when they move to another country....)

I am sure it would be swell...  I myself always thought New Zeland sounded cool; on the shows on TLC they seem to really take care of their people

the big difference between foster care and adoption

when the adoption is final the suck ass social workers are out of your life :)

no more threats to have kids who have been in your house 3 years removed because you took them 18 miles away from home to see wild ponies out of state

no more threats to have kids removed because you raised hell at school because some teacher demanded your active 6 year old be placed on speed

no more threats to have kids removed because you refused to participate in reactive attachment disorder therapy (you know holding the child down on an air mat and giving them a baby bottle)

and I could go on for pages


All of it is a racket

Rhetorical question, but what part of the care cartel is NOT a racket?

When the adoption is final, and no more SW's on the case

Have you read some of our abuse pages?

Let me throw just a few names out there.  Whether salaried by the state or some private agency, someone wasn't doing what they were paid to do.... and that is ensure child-safety.





Updates needed

I don't think sex ed would help anything, and if the gov, dished out more comprehensive sex ed it would suck as well.  I think just about everyone gets a really go idea about how babies are made (there is another really big problem in the USA though I agree, that really isn't is sex ed issue, but a self worth issue for girls/young women... see many think the only way to get a man is to dish it out and in many community as young as 11 it goes on all the time....) 

Sex ed is a joke.  What's needed is a program that teaches kids about real-life experience, and the consequences each action brings.  When it comes to sex-ed, we need to ask, do we want to deter/prevent STD's and pregnancy, or do we want to deter/prevent poor parenting?  I would like to think we, as a tax-paying society, would like to deter/prevent all three.

If 11 year olds are seeking the comforting arms of a sexual stranger, what is that saying?  Think about all that's missing.  Sad, isn't it?

But let's dare ourselves to go beyond the baby-making basics, shall we?  It's not enough to know how to make a baby.... one needs to, at the very least, recognize decent parenting, so it can be tried and emulated, donchya think?  I know in my own case, when I got pregnant at the ripe age of 24, I knew... if not for Nursing School, I'd be diving into the seas of parenting (or shit's creek, as it often feels) without a boat or an oar.  What was I going to do, use my parent's example:  when times get tough, throw the crying child away (?)  Thanks to nursing school, I learned not only what to do, but I learned what NOT to do... critical points when caring for yourself and/or another person.

Still, there are other not-so-subtle messages being sent to teens learning about sex-ed, biology and an "unwanted pregnancy".

A few weeks ago I overheard an interesting discussion between teen girls.  The topic was:  if you found out the baby you were carrying was deformed, what would you do?  The choices?  Abort or adopt.

What happened to the third option:  keep the child, and find a way to provide?  Oh, wait... that would require parent/extended family involvement.  I forgot, Americans struggling to afford decent health-care are not for that option... thank God for adoption!

Of course sex ed is a joke

...especially for those of us more interested in same-sex sex than breeding for fun and profit. Every year the same old crap, which has nothing whatsoever to do with non-hetero "sex ed".

Oh but start including same sex in "sex ed" and the same old perps lose their same old shyt, oh heather has two mommies the world is coming to an end, ohh men in a dress or women in pants parenting their own bio children or adopting or fostering oh what about child abuse, blah blah...

What happened to the third option:  keep the child, and find a way to provide?  Oh, wait... that would require parent/extended family involvement.  I forgot, Americans struggling to afford decent health-care are not for that option...

They must have been class-anxious whites. Generally, Black people do not have a problem with this third option, unless it's the nutball rightwing Pentecostals or Charismatics. Rather infamously so, since matrilineal single-mother-headed households are the top stereotype that makes our "households", therefore, all of what nonBlacks percieve as "Black culture", as looked down upon as inferior.


Dutch has very little predjudices like America and is very accepting.

Never been to .nl personally, and would love to go someday.

But I have to doubt the veracity of this statement, given their nasty history of colonizing up the planet.

No more colonizing than others

Same could be said for Great Britain, America, Spain, Portugal, France, Russia..and a handful of other countries.

The Dutch have long been good about colonizing an area but leaving it in better shape, you might be thinking of the Dutch Boarers in South Africa who many intermarried with native African Americans, or the Dutch who had areas of Japan as a colony and brought many Japanese to the Netherlands.

I have met 3 individuals who were Japanese features (Asian) but have Dutch last names.  The Netherlands might not be perfect but what country is? 

No, but the thread is about .nl

Not any others.

I'm thinking mostly of Indonesia, and yes along with the Transvaal types, as well as what they did in India and so-called/misnamed "west Indies".

The Netherlands might not be perfect but what country is? 

Its history is what it is. That can't be helped. Perfection is not the issue, afaic. Perfection doesn't exist.

The Dutch have long been good about colonizing an area but leaving it in better shape

Better shape? Nicer conquerers than others? Nah, not buying it.

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