Issues to Consider Before Pursuing Intercountry Adoption

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What are your ideas about race? What characteristics do you think Asian, Indian, Latin American, etc., people have? Do you expect your child to have these characteristics? The children become Americanized; therefore try to visualize that cute little baby growing up into a child, a teenager, an adult, a parent. Think about grandchildren.

How do you feel about getting lots of public attention, stares, etc? Possibly your adopted child will get too much attention and other children will tend to feel left out.

You will become an interracial family. Do you raise your child to have the same identity as you or your other children? How do you help him develop his own identity? Should his name reflect his national origin? What relationship will the name have to the sense of "Who am I?" Imagine a child you know and love being sent overseas to be adopted. How would you want him raised? As an American in a foreign country? A native in that country?

How can you learn to know what it's like being nonwhite and growing up in a white society if you don't know this from your own experience? You will have to find out how to reach or educate yourself to become sensitive to your child's world.

Your family will now be interracial for generations. Adoption of a child of another race or country is not just a question of an appealing little baby. How do you feel about interracial marriage? How does your family feel about interracial marriage? How do you feel when people assume that you are married to an Asian person?

In addition to your qualities and abilities as parents, it is important for you to understand your motivation for this kind of adoption. Do you feel you are doing a good deed for a poor, homeless child, who will perhaps be more grateful to you when he is older than if he were your birth child? This is poor motivation and not very realistic. If your primary orientation is to help the child become absorbed into your culture at the expense of his own, then transracial adoption is not for you. You must have an attitude of respect for the country and culture of the child.

Do you have the capacity to identify with this child, to see the world from his point of view and to lovingly supply his physical, mental, and spiritual needs? Do you want to learn more about the child's culture and heritage? If you do, then you can consider further the idea of intercountry adoption.

This material may not be reproduced and distributed without permission, however, appropriate citation must be given to Child Welfare Information Gateway

Child Welfare Information Gateway
Children's Bureau/ACYF
1250 Maryland Avenue, SW
Eighth Floor
Washington, DC 20024
Phone: 1.800.394.3366

Credits: Holt International Children's Services

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