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Research the background of this issue or problem. Synthesize the information you have gathered to present your position on the issue or to present the causes and possible solutions to the problem, you must have a focused thesis statement that presents you clear, unequivocal position on the topic
2 sources that must be book, published within the last 5 years, 2 sources scholarly journal article


International adoption

The international adoption market grew rapidly soon after World War II. This was large because a high number of orphaned children in areas hit by wars, famine, refugee migrations, and many other disasters were increasingly becoming helpless and dependent on donors and charity organizations. This phenomenon increased the visibility of these children, most of who were from Asia and other developing countries to the Western world. This global exposure and visibility greatly contributed to the emergence of the international adoption market.


Although the international adoption market has helped many dependent orphans from poor backgrounds in finding new homes, this practice hides the underlying problem of lack of regulation. Lack of regulation creates an environment where unscrupulous international adoption agencies engage in illegal activities such as human trafficking in efforts to make profits in the process of meeting consumer demand for children who qualify for adoption.  The thesis of this paper is that lack of regulation in international adoption has led to the problem of fraud and corruption, mainly through human trafficking. The best way of dealing with this problem is by putting in place regulations and standards that all international adoption agencies must adhere to throughout the adoption process.

One of the ways through lack of regulation in international adoptions became problematic was through proxy adoptions, which were popularized during the 1950s. Through proxy adoptions, US citizens could adopt children in foreign countries in absentia (Bartholet 93). Child welfare professions have always expressed criticism of this form of international adoption. The main reason why these professionals hate proxy adoptions is that they lack regulation. Children adopted in this way are highly likely to be abused and neglected because minimum standards are normally circumvented during the adoption process.

Today, this lack of proper regulation in the international adoption market creates a situation where there is no guarantee for safe habitation once a child has been adopted. In today’s global world, not all children who are adopted end up being pulled out of the dragon of abject poverty, suffering, and deprivation (Briggs 21). Some adopted children, particularly those who become the subject of trans-racial adoptions end up becoming victims of racial abuse (Briggs 28).

One of the ways of dealing with the problem of racial abuse among adopted children is by ensuring that there is cultural sensitivity throughout the international adoption process. Indeed, various cultural issues that matter to the child ought to be incorporated into the regulations governing the international adoption market. Some of these issues include national heritage and language. This measure ought to have been undertaken when the problem initially led child welfare professionals to raise concerns about the implications of cross-cultural adoptions on the child’s future decisions relating to issues such as inter-racial marriage.

 The difficulty in regulating international adoption arises partly from the fact that this adoption market spans across oceans. This global scope of the market makes problems relating to adoption infinitely hard to resolve. It is extremely difficult to determine who is simply big-hearted and wants to offer help to an unfortunate child and who simply wants to engage in child trafficking.

Indeed, the lack of regulation in international adoption has led to the emergence of child trafficking rings and cartels that operate under the guise of adoption agencies (Pertman 113). Many desperate people end up falling into the traps of these trafficking rings. Once they have been exposed to harsh living conditions while in transit to the destination, the trafficked individuals, in most cases women and children, somehow end up accepting their fate and submit to sexual exploitation and slavery.

The lack of regulation in international adoption is particularly evident given that international law is obscure on the differences between inter-country adoption and human trafficking. International law does not explicitly state when an inter-country adoption undertaking should be regarded as human trafficking (Smolin 304). In the US, for instance, regulations define who qualifies to be an orphan by stating that a child who is in an orphanage temporarily should not be regarded as an abandoned child if the child’s parents have expressed willingness to retrieve their child (Smolin 308). The same case applies when the parents are attempting to make a contribution to the continued support of this child. This definition is not uniformly applied in the international adoption market, even among US-based adoption agencies.

Without effective systems of regulation at the international level, it is impossible for stakeholders in different countries to take firm action against those who engage in child trafficking. In the current international adoption environment, lack of regulation has created a situation where adoption systems are slowly being transformed into markets for selling children. In most cases, the failure arises from the refusal of stakeholders in the inter-country and domestic adoption systems to establish appropriate regulations. This is sometimes because of vested interests among some of the stakeholders. Such a phenomenon is a crucial indicator of ethical failure on the part of both inter-country and domestic adoption systems.


Therefore, a lasting solution to this solution must start with a complete overhaul of the ethical principles underlying all regulation efforts. The policy framework governing the creation of standards of international adoption must be clear on what constitutes human trafficking. The framework must also stipulate the philosophical values that all countries should endeavor to safeguard in the process of the fighting against this worrying trend characterized by the gradual transformation of international adoption systems into markets for buying and selling children as well as breeding grounds for corruption and fraud.

Any form of international adoption that takes place in the absence of a proper framework of checks and balances should be said to constitute corruption and fraud. In fact, some scholars, according to Engel, have gone a step further to argue that under current contexts and circumstances, everyone who engages in inter-country adoption is participating in a form of human trafficking (264). These scholars argue that international adoption is synonymous with child trafficking not because of the various adoptive families from developed countries continue obtaining poor children born in poor countries (Engel 264). Rather, international adoption is a form of human trafficking because the current systems and laws of international adoption allow this practice to continue operating as such.

In conclusion, it is evident that the lack of regulation in the international adoption market has led to the problem of fraud and corruption. This problem manifests itself in the current trend where international adoption systems are being turned into avenues for child trafficking. The first solution is to change international law to prohibit any engagement in adoption without adhering to the appropriate checks and balances. The current international adoption systems that continue to allow human trafficking under the guise of inter-country adoptions should be scrapped and replaced with more ethical institutional frameworks.

Works Cited

Bartholet, Elizabeth. “International Adoption: The Human Rights Position”. Global Policy, 1.1, (2010): 91–100.

Briggs, Laura. International Adoption: Global Inequalities and the Circulation of Children. New York: New York University Press, 2009. Print.

Engel, Madeline. “International adoption: A sociological account of the US experience”. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 27.5 (2009): 257 – 270.

Pertman, Adam. Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution Is Transforming Our Families – And America. Boston: The Harvard Common Press, 2011. Print.

Smolin, David. “Intercountry Adoption as Child Trafficking”. Valparaiso University Law Review, 39.2 (2008): 281-325. Print.

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