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Inter-country Adoption Article presentation

For Senior Seminar Class

Chloe Elwood

on 14 March 2013

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Transcript of Inter-country Adoption Article presentation

Statistics References Intercountry Adoption Thesis Racial/Ethnic Identity development in Inter-country adoptees Compare to Ethnic fluidity/flexibility of Multi-racial individuals Article: "Intercountry Versus Transracial Adoption: Analysis of Adoptive Parents: Motivations and Preferences in Adoption"

Yuanting Zhang and Gary R. Lee

Journal of Family Issues Background Methods Results Conclusions: Discussion Abstract Purpose of Article:

To examine the motivations of parents concerning inter-country adoption (ICA).

Compare Inter-country adoptions and trans-racial adoptions in context

Factors of why there are high demands for ICA in the United States

Macro versus Micro levels Questions? Zhang, Y., & Lee, G. R. (2011). Intercountry versus transracial adoption:
Analysis of adoptive parents' motivations and preferences in adoption. Journal of Family Issues, 32(1), 75-98. doi: 10.1177/0192513X10375410 ICA= Inter-country adoption
TRA= Trans-racial adoption Intercountry adoptions: 7,000 in 1990 22,800 in 2006 17,000 in 2008 The United States takes in 1/2 of all children adopted across country borders Children in Foster care system 20,000 in 1990 (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2009) (U..S. Dpartment of Health and Human Services, 2008) 130,000 in 2007 1/3 are non-hispanic Black TRA: For adoptions in U.S.: preference for children of races other than Black (Kemp & Bodonyi, 2000) Less than 1 in 10 White women have TRA, and when they do, 5x more likely to adopt children of other races than Black (U.S. Government Accountability Office, 2007) 85% of U.S. TRA's are due to ICA's (Lee, 2003) Social constructivist theory: behavior guided by their subjective interpretations of social reality (Berger & Luckman, 1967)

TRA as indicators of social distance

Color line theory: race/ethnicity as a spectrum (Lee & Bean, 2007) Method: Qualitative Interviews

Results: Perception that "American children have difficult problems while foreign born children present interesting challenges" (Zhang & Lee 2011) In depth, qualitative Interviews
series of open-ended questions Why is there such a high demand for ICA in the United States? Interview Questions: 1. What are your motivations for adoption (infertility issues, desire a larger family size, doing the social good, etc...)?

2. What kind of child qualities (age, gender, health, cultural background) are you looking for when adopting foreign babies?

3. Why did you adopt a foreign child instead of adopting an American child?

4. What are your concerns and issues about adopting a foreign child?

5. If you have the option, are you going to do another inter-country adoption(s) or will you consider adopting a child in the United States either of the same race or trans-racial adoption?

6. Do you think ICA is a good idea?

7. Do you think it is better to place a child within his/her native country if possible?

8. What suggestions do you have for other people who are considering ICA? Ethnographic style Adopt a child from a different country than your own through permanent legal means; and to bring that child to your home country to live with you permanently. (Bureau of Consular Affairs- U.S. Department of State, 2013) Most of the information and data focus on health and development of inter-country adoptions not why some children are getting adopted over others Asian and Latino groups fit between "Black" and "White" categories
Asians and Latino more fluid so White Adoptive parents more comfortable adopting from Asia of South America compared to Black children in the United States TRA/ICA: understood as Supply and Demand
Women waiting longer to marry or have children
Teen pregnancy and abortion rates have declined
Teen mothers less inclined to surrender new borns for adoptions, less stigma (Ventura, Abma, Mosher, & Henshaw, 2003) Never married White Women giving childen up for adoption:
1.7% in 1989-1995,
20% in 1970's
40% in 1960's (Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, 2007) Attraction of international adoption over domestic adoption Age of baby:
1/2 of all ICA's children less than 1 yr old, 90% less than 5 yrs old
Compared to 6% of children (2005) in foster system adopted >1 yr Gender:
More girls than boys are adopted, single women generally prefer to adopt girls
Many babies waiting to be adopted are girls (China 95% of children waiting to be adopted are female) Birth Parents:
Less Fear of Birth parents changing their mind, feel more secure
Assumed closed adoptions, no contact with birth parents (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2009) Ease:
Government policy favors ICA, easier to adopt internationally
After WWII and Korean War
1994 Multiethnic Placement Act
Childhood Citizenship Act of 2000 Sample:
10 families (4 TRA, 6 ICA)
1 head of adoption agency
1 adoption support group

Sites Varied: families homes, parent's work, children's playground...based on participant's preference

Couples interviewed were all White except one Black-White interracial couple
All had some college or above education
1/2 have biological children in addition to adopted children
All 6 ICAs were from Asia or Eastern Europe

Identified through Adoption agency or through snowball sampling method Interviews occurred between 2003 and 2006 in several cities in Ohio
Same Asian interviewer
Ohio: highest proportions of Black-White TRAs Interviews:
Standard 8 questions addressing motivations, opinions, justifications of ICA
all open-ended style
style: conversational
1 to 3 hours
3,000 to 7,000 words
audio-recorded 8 of 10 couples mentioned infertility difficulties Attributes of Adoptive Parents:

Altruistic motivations:
Rescue Discourses
More common in ICA than TRA (more subtle)
View children as potentially disadvantaged and want to improve their lives Ethnographic Style: presented as dialogue or quotations Tried domestic adoption first:
Wait was too long, years went by
domestic: 2+yrs (for caucasian infant, less for black infant)
ICA: within a year

Fear of Birth parents:
Taking child back, "disturbances", potential threat and fear of birth parents
Competition with birth mothers, Open adoptions popular in the U.S. Preferred Characteristics of Adopted Children Age-related issues: age single most significant factor
Factor mentioned in every interview
Couples preference for adopting babies
especially for first time adopters,
Presence for stages of childhood
Avoid problems caused by older children's early life experience
Older children, in U.S. long-term foster care
probability of increased behavioral issues (Simmel, Barth & Brooks, 2007) Greater perceived availability of infants through ICA Gender Preference: found couples did not have extremely strong preference, except 1, not statistically significant in sample Preference for girls more than boys (Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, 2007)
Single women preference for adopting girls Health of Children:
Majority of parents mentioned fear of potential of drug abuse, drug-addicted babies
Prevent domestic adoption
Mention that a view is that drug problem is more prevalent in Minority populations Cultural Background: Participants were positive about forced cultural exposure

ICA stress cultural differences more than TRA

Dependent on country whether forced-pickups are enforced
China and Russia, parents must visit baby's birth country to pick up the baby in person
Concern brought up about stereotypes
China "dolls",
stated that you have to be committed to baby's heritage culture and to learning about it. Race Preference: View that cultural differences are "fun", while race differences present challenges
Parents are more inclined to talk of cultural differences than racial differences
Adults adopting have memories of inequality between races, more uncomfortable
With Black more than Asian
Model Minority Discourse: gave view that Asians as assimilable than other minority groups
NABSW opposition for White couples adopting Black children
Although changed position, the parents still mentioned it as a factor
Mention of fighting internal prejudices and stereotypes
adopted Black to broaden their views
Using parent's/family's views as excuses Cultural differences are perceived as being easier and more diverting than racial differences.
The participants phrased bias of international children having "interesting cultural differences" whereas minority children within the U.S. having "social problems".
Use of terms
When culture was mentioned: it was associated with parent's eagerness to implement and learn the child's heritage culture
When race was mentioned: it was associated with concerns of the potential parent about the child Adopters see greater advantages with adopting abroad
expressed disadvantages with American system:
waiting periods
potential problems with birth parents
shortage of infants
possible health/behavior issues with the child.
These concerns steer adults away from adopting domestically where the Black and minority children are overrepresented. Limitations: Small, non-random sample
Lacking in diversity,
not equally represented
Interview style
All the families were satisfied with their adoption Further Research:
Larger sample, more questions with study as reference
Study of biases of perceived challenges between race and culture
Include individuals that are considering adoption, not just those who have successfully adopted
Individuals versus couples that have adopted or planning to adopt
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