International Adoption

The birth of a girl has never been a cause for celebration in China, and
stories of

peasant farmers drowning newborn girls in buckets of water have been
commonplace for

centuries. Now, however, as a direct result of the one-child policy, the
number of baby

girls being abandoned, aborted, or dumped on orphanage steps is
unprecedented.


Adopting Internationally

Adoption is procedure by which people legally assume the role of parents
for a
person who is not their biological child. Adopted children become full
members of
their adopted family and have the same legal status as biological children.
Although
the majority of people who adopt are married couples, many single people
also adopt.
Many people seek to adopt when they discover that they cannot give birth to
biological children. Others adopt children to add new members to a family
that
includes biological children. Many people adopt simply to give a home and
family to
children who might not otherwise have them. Likewise, children become
available for
adoption for a variety of reasons. Some children are orphans. Some
biological
parents make arrangements for their children to be adopted because they
cannot care
for them due to illness or personal problems. Other children are abandoned
by their
biological parents (Adoption, CD-ROM).
Adoption is a common practice throughout the world and throughout history.
However, laws regulating adoption vary from country to country. People
seeking to
adopt in a country other than the one in which they live, a process known as
international adoption, should familiarize themselves with the laws of that
country.
Similarly, although every province recognizes adoption, provincial laws
regarding
specific aspects of adoption vary.
INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION
A significant number of people seek to adopt children from other countries,
a
process known as international adoption. People seek to adopt abroad for
many
1
reasons. Many people want to adopt an infant or a very young child. Some
also
hope to adopt children who share their ethnic heritage. Such prospective
parents may
find a shortage of suitable children available for adoption in Canada.
Publicity
regarding the availability of infants in a particular country also
encourages some
people to seek to adopt there. Many people adopt abroad because of
anxieties
regarding domestic adoptions, especially fears that the birth mother will
refuse to
proceed with an arranged adoption after she gives birth to the child. In a
few,
well-publicized cases in the United States, biological parents have
attempted to
reclaim their child years after it was adopted, adding to the worries of
prospective
parents (Adoption Services, Internet).
Three methods can be used for international adoption. The majority of
prospective adoptive parents use an adoption agency. Others consult
adoption
facilitators in Canada. Some prospective parents choose to establish direct
communication with contacts in a particular country. Many
provincial-licensed
adoption agencies place children from other countries. These agencies are
familiar
with the adoption laws of foreign countries and usually maintain contacts in
countries
where many children are waiting to be adopted. Agencies send information
about the
adoptive parents directly to their contacts, who then locate an appropriate
child for
the adoptive parents (Adoption, CD-ROM).
Facilitators in the United States also help prospective parents locate
suitable
children abroad. Facilitators usually have foreign contacts who help
resolve legal
issues pertaining to adoption in a particular country. In some cases,
facilitators travel

2
to other countries and directly assist in adoptions. Prospective parents
can also work
with facilitators in another country or deal directly with foreign
institutions, such as
orphanages (Adoption, CD-ROM).
People who wish to adopt abroad must follow the procedures and requirements
of the Canadian Citizenship and Immigration (CCI). Before an international
adoption
can go forward, the results of a home study and extensive documentation must
be
submitted to both the and the courts in the child\'s country of origin.
Required
documentation usually includes birth certificates, marriage certificates,
letters of
employment, medical letters, and personal references (Americans Adopting,
Internet).
The legal process in the child\'s country of origin results in either a full
and final
adoption or a guardianship, in which the prospective parent is granted
custody of the
child until the adoption is finalized. If a full and final adoption has been
approved in
the child\'s country of origin and the Canadian Citizenship and Immigration
has
permitted the child to enter Canada, parents can usually get a Canadian
birth
certificate and citizenship papers without readopting the child in the
Canada.
However, the Canadian Citizenship and Immigration recommend readopting in
Canada. When a guardianship is established in the child\'s country of
origin,
prospective parents must complete normal pre-adoption procedures, such as a
home
study, in their local county court in order to obtain a visa for the child.
The adoption
must be finalized when the child comes to live in Canada.
All adoptive parents worry about the health of their adopted children. In
many
developing nations and in some countries of Eastern Europe, poor medical
treatment
can lead to health problems among young