Making a difference by adopting

Wednesday, June 18th 2008, 6:49 pm
By: News 9

It's the hot new trend for Hollywood Momma's! Adopt a baby instead of getting pregnant again, and do it in a third world country. You hear about Angelina's babies in the tabloids nearly everyday and the process Madonna went through to internationally adopt was in the headlines too. And this week, an Oklahoma couple who adopted a sibling group of kids from Ethiopia is a hot story at News 9!

But really, those Oklahoma moms and dads out there adopting aren't doing it to be trendy, they're doing it because they want kids, and they want to help little ones around the world who are living in orphanages. Because they believe every child deserves a loving family.

If the thought has crossed your mind, check out some of these international adoption basics from

Children are available from more than fifty countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and some African countries. No children from Western Europe, Australia, or Canada are eligible to be adopted by Americans.

As the availability of newborns in the U.S. diminishes, more Americans than ever (over 20,000 in 2002, up from about 8,000 in 1994) turn abroad to build their families. In 2002, about 75% of foreign children adopted in the U.S. came from China, Russia, Guatemala, South Korea, and the Ukraine.

No two intercountry adoptions are alike, and the current top five countries represent a broad range of conditions. In
China, for example, infants (usually girls) are abandoned by birth parents who would otherwise suffer penalties for violating that country's strict population control policies. Severe poverty in countries like Russia and Guatemala makes it impossible for many families to feed, clothe and house their children. And in South Korea - a well established, longstanding source for American adoptions since the Korean War - unmarried mothers face severe social stigma, whereas women who choose adoption are entitled to substantial financial support.

By the time you're matched with your child, his birth parents will be out of the picture due to family problems (such as alcoholism or abuse), abandonment, poverty, illness or death. Because of the time-consuming, bureaucratic process that's required, you won't be able to adopt a child from birth. But nearly half the children adopted from foreign countries are infants under one year old, and almost all of them are under the age of four. If you want to adopt more than one child, sibling groups are available in many countries.

Political and economic changes can abruptly disrupt potential adoptions from any country at any time.

There are a number of resources out there if you're considering adoption, domestically or internationally. So start on the internet. You may decide to contribute to the world by making a difference as a mother or father.