What's the impact on the kid when celebs like Scarlett Johansson, Ryan Reynolds adopt from abroad?

By Rosemary Black

June 29, 2010 / Daily News

The newest trend among celebrity couples: adopting kids from abroad.

Actress Scarlett Johansson and her actor husband Ryan Reynolds are the latest Hollywood stars who hope to become parents by bringing home a child from another country. The couple wants to adopt from Ethiopia or Liberia, according to the Daily Express. Meanwhile, Jennifer Aniston is considering adopting from Mexico, and her ex, Brad Pitt, and his partner Angelina Jolie are reputed to be “in the process” of adding another adopted child to their brood, which so far includes kids from Cambodia and Ethiopia.

But is the glamorous life as a celeb’s child better than what the adoptee might have had in his homeland? Save the Children’s Daniela Reale told the Daily Express: “There is strong evidence that the best place for any child is in his or her home country.”

That’s debatable, says Victor Groza, Case Western Reserve University social work professor, who has done extensive research on adoption. On the subject of inter-country adoption, he explains, the Hague Convention stipulates that every effort should be made to preserve families. If that’s impossible, a domestic adoption is the next best solution.

“But these steps are bypassed because of the money and the prestige that a celebrity brings,” Groza says. “Having Scarlett Johansson come to your country to adopt is prestigious.”

While there are tremendous economic advantages for internationally adopted kids, they miss out on the cultural identity they would have enjoyed had they stayed in their home country, Groza says. “They have missed a part of their life that they could have had, which is belonging to a kinship group,” Groza says. “The future resource of any country is its children and if you have a massive drain of children, what does it mean for that country?”

But Becky Fawcett, executive director of HelpUsAdopt.org, says the advantages of being adopted internationally outweigh any drawbacks. “Getting these children to America means the difference between life or death in many cases,” she says. “Adopting a child from an orphanage overseas means that child will have a future.”

If Johansson and Reynolds’ adopt from Africa, chances are that their baby wil also get a sibling. The ‘Lost in Translation’ star, 25, and her actor-husband, 33 have indicated they'd like a biological child, too.


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