All Articles Tagged "international adoption"
It’s a sad, seemingly familiar stories. Children wait around to get adopted and the last ones to go are black children as couples scramble to adopt babies or look to China, Russia and other countries to add to their family. A fascinating article shows us there’s a lot we don’t know about international adoption. White families in Canada, but more and more in Europe, are adopting more black children from the United States.
Overseas adoption of American children has been most common in Canada but increasingly, kids are going to Europe, especially the Netherlands. Concerned about where children from abroad actually come from–were they kidnapped? What’s their health history?–European families find they don’t have the same uncertainty when it comes to American children. And for gay couples, American children are really their only option. Same-sex families find that the United States is really one of the few countries where they can find a child to complete their family.
And it’s not just European families seeking out American children; birth mothers and even states look to Europe when trying to place children. American birth mothers who choose where their children go feel they’re giving their black or biracial children the chance to escape racism. Noting that children of color get adopted at lower rates, some states give priority to black children when an overseas family starts looking for a baby.
But why the high rates of adoption in the Netherlands? The growth there seems to have been a word-of-mouth effect of one lawyer’s adoption case win. And the Dutch are just more open with their families, apparently. They want a child of any color in the families and more receptive to the idea of an open adoption.
That doesn’t mean they don’t do their best to make their black babies feel comfortable in their skin and understand their roots. CNN attended a picnic for about 70 Dutch families who’d adopted their children the United States, many of whom are black and biracial. Marielle and Marnix van den Biggelaar know how important this event is for their two young adopted children:
“It’s really nice to see them all together and to talk to each other about experiences — with their hair and with their skin — and they’re all the same people with the same mindset, so it’s really fun for the kids and for us, as well.”
The couple encourages their children to embrace their American origins, celebrating Thanksgiving each year with other families who adopted children from the United States. “We try to tell them about their culture and about their background,” said Marielle, who decided to adopt after years of unsuccessful fertility treatment. “We would love them to (start speaking) English when they’re really young because if they want to go back (to America) and if they want to see where they’re born, it would be nice if they can speak to … their parents if they are going to meet them.”
It’s sad black children in the United States have such a hard time getting adopted, so any family willing to open its home–and its hearts–for a child should be applauded. We hope the love adoptive parents give is strong enough to fight against racism (it’s silly to think it doesn’t exist at all in Europe or Canada) and any fish-out-of-water feelings an adopted child might feel. Do you know of children being adopted into European families?
Welcome to our weekly column, Reset. Published each Tuesday, is about life lessons learned and mastered mentally, spiritually, and physically and how they contribute to a successful life and career.
First, the facts: Nearly one million women in the United States are put on bed rest each year due to pregnancy complications that can result in pre-term birth. Three out of four Black women will be diagnosed as “high risk” leading to bed rest.
Yvette Gayle is the VP of publicity at Interscope/Geffen A&M Records and the lead strategist for all things 50 Cent and Mary J. Blige. Although her career is enviable, her dream has always been to have a big family. But fertility issues, a miscarriage and bed rest forced her to press reset and renew.
“When I had a plan for what my life would be like, becoming a mother would be a piece of cake. My first pregnancy was anything but textbook. I lost my daughter prematurely, at six months. The loss took everything out of me, but I still wanted to try (again) and did,” says Gayle. Her second pregnancy proved more challenging. She was put on bed rest at 12 weeks, up until delivery. The pregnancy brought on myriad challenges: gestational diabetes, incompetent cervix and discovering her unborn child’s intestines were in the umbilical chord. Prayers worked and a healthy boy was delivered. The intestines were put back and all was well.
Gayle still wanted another child, but the risk of a third pregnancy would was too great for both mom and child. Yvette and her husband decided to adopt and a journey of patience, love and candles was borne.
Yvette chatted with MadameNoire exclusively about her RESET and rediscovering self in the process.
MadameNoire: What has been the lesson to date?
Yvette Gayle: You can plan all you want, however the universe also has plans for you. I had to learn that plans can change and the outcome will be the same.
YG: I did not want my son to be an only child and adoption was the safest choice. My hubby and I made the decision to adopt and the process took three years from start to finish. We chose Ethiopia because it was the only African country with a systematic adoption in place (at the time). Also, culturally my husband is Jamaican and there is a large population of Jamaicans in Ethiopia. Both cultures are similar as it relates to religion, family, etc.
MN: What is the cost to adopt a child abroad?
YG: Wow. The cost back then was $26,000, which includes: adoption agency fees, home study fees, fingerprinting, background check, court fee, international travel, international medical review, etc. That fee also includes our entire immediate family including son spending seven weeks in Capetown, South Africa to bond.
MN: How old was your daughter when you adopted?
YG: She was a year old, however, she was matched with us when she was six months old. The kids are four years apart and the love is real.
MN: Are there any agencies families should consider for adoption?
YG: Absolutely. My recommendation is the Children’s Home Society and Family Services.
MN: How have you taken a moment to find solace and work a full-time career?
YG: Ha. That is a great question and I had to press reset because I started to feel overwhelmed when the adoption was completed. I never took a moment to process my mental, spiritual and physical state. I had to press reset.
MN: What was your RESET?
YG: I am so good at taking care of everyone else that I tend not to do anything for Yvette. When I was a teenager, I used to make candles to relax my brain and stay in the moment. Two years ago, I started attending a candle-making class, which only cost $20 and it helped to restore the calm back into my life. I now have a line of candles which is a celebration of my daughter Sitota coming into our family. The Sitota Collection is available online, sold in Nigeria and a favorite must-have for celebrities Adrienne Bailon, 50 Cent, Rachel Ray and Kenny Lattimore.
Yvette Gayle’s Reset Tip: Have the courage to believe in your journey even when the situation seems dire. Make certain you identify something/someone, which will help bring calm to your sphere as you go through the storm.
Exclusive bonus for MadameNoire: The Sitota Collection invites you to experience the Petit Excursion Quartet for 20% off with code: MNYG20.
Karen Taylor Bass is a best-selling author, PR Expert and understands that life only gets better when you press RESET. Follow her @thebrandnewmom.
The notion of adopting a child truly tugs at our heartstrings, but let’s keep it real: the twist and turns that precede a successful adoption can be a nightmare! And to top it all off, your bank account will look damn-near empty after the process.
“I would like to adopt, but can’t afford the agency fees. It’s soooooo expensive.” a MadameNoire reader recently commented. She’s right. Between the legal fees, medical costs, travel expenses and possible failed adoption matches, this method of bringing a child into your family costs Americans between $10,000 to $40,000! But compare that to the average cost of a natural birth — $30,000 — and it isn’t too harrowing.
Now since there are several different methods to acquiring an adopted bundle of joy, let’s break down the numbers for each, shall we?
Maybe you’ll want to extend your motherly love to a precious child overseas? The latest figures show international adoption has plummeted to only 20,000 children from 45,000 in 2004. Despite the drop, international adoption costs have climbed — adoptive parents have put down as much as $50,000!
The price tag varies depending on which country you choose. One adoption agency — Bethany Christian Services — give us a pretty good picture of how much you’ll spend for international adoption. Taking in a Haitian child, for instance, will set you back between $35,149 and $42,129. What does this include?
Agency fees (paid to the social workers, the home study fees, and more) — $ 12,950
Country fees (funds the nation’s orphanage system) — between $13,810 and $ 14,650
“Third-party fees” (whatever that is) $ 2,864 — $ 3,404
Travel fees (don’t forget important documents like medical exams, proof of marriage, financial statements etc.) — $ 4,825 — $ 10,125
Post-adoption fees (agency needs to keep an eye on you as a caregiver) — $ 700 — $ 1,000.
The great thing about adopting internationally is that you don’t have to cover an expectant mother’s expenses or worry about her changing her mind. The downside? All that travelling can be a pain in the rear; be willing to visit the host country twice. Also, tough luck if you want a newborn! In most countries, children are orphaned and older before they’re permitted to be sent overseas, GlobalPost reports.
For a newborn, perhaps you’ll consider domestic adoption?
Newborn American baby? That’ll be $33,793, please! This average figure can climb or drop even depending on the child’s race. According to NPR, a Caucasian baby costs $35,000, a bi-racial baby costs between $24,000 and $26,000 and a Black baby can cost about $18,000. But where, according to Adoptive Families, does all the money go?
Home study Fee (agency determines if you’re fit for parenthood through interviews, background checks and references) — $1,912
Agency application & program fee (y’know, adoption centers got bills to pay & profits to make) — $14,161
Attorney fees (with all the legal mumbo jumbo, you might need one) — $3,548
Document preparation/Authorization — $1,114
Advertising (agencies need to retain their relationships with hospitals/clinics to find mothers willing to give up their child) — $2,017
Birth family counseling (sometimes offered to birth mothers for free, at your expense) — $1,085
Birth mother expenses (OB-Gyn, hospital stay, etc. One article calls this expense a “fraud” because taxpayers pay this fee, not you) — $3,076
Travel expenses (varies depending how far or near the birth mother is) — $2,198
All other expenses — $4,682
Whew! That’s a lot, but the good thing is that there’s a shorter wait time compared to international adoption and certainly less traveling. However, adoptive parents run the risk of the dreaded “false start” — expectant mothers fall in love with their baby and refuse to give it up. Thirty-five percent of adoptive parents have experienced this and lose out on an average of $5,000.
If you’re willing to forgo the fantasy of raising a child from birth, adopting from a foster home is the cheapest option — a relatively low price tag of only $2,744. As reported by Adoptive Families, let me give you a full picture of the expenses:
Home study fee – $231
Attorney fees – $1,573
Travel expenses – $342
Other expenses – $598
You pay absolutely nothing for agency fees, document preparation, advertising, and birth mother expenses. In fact, foster homes will give you a monthly stipend for food, medical insurance, school supplies, and clothes. On average, adoptive parents receive $607 a month. The downside is that many of the toddlers have developmental delays. “There’s usually a long line of potential parents waiting for an infant in good health,” ABC News says.
For women who cannot or choose not to give birth to children, another woman can carry and delivery the baby for them, which is what Melissa Harris-Perry did to add a baby girl to her family. If you thought domestic and international adoption was expensive, you’ll be shocked to hear that gestational surrogacy costs a whopping $80,000 to $100,000! Where did we come up with that number? Here’s the breakdown:
In vitro fertilization transfer fee – $1,000
Cycling process – $400
Pregnancy allowance (8 months at $200 per month) – $1,600
Maternity clothing allowance – $500
Life insurance – $500-$600
Health insurance – $1,000 – $25,000
Meeting allowance (5 meetings at $100 per meeting) – $500
Childcare – $1,200
Housekeeping – $400
Surrogate’s lost wages –$2,500
Travel to IVF doctor –$1,000
Program fee – $22,500
Attorney/court fees – $10,250 – $16,760
If you can supply your own egg, a baby of your own genetic line will be born. The downsides are obviously the costs and the surrogate can, again, change her mind and keep the baby.
Parents who choose any of these methods must be prepared mentally for the unforeseen circumstances can take you on an emotional roller coaster as well as the fiscal challenges that come up.
But you know what? It’s all worth it in the end when you have your new angel-faced tyke to call your “son” or “daughter.”
(Washington Post) — At a rustic summer camp in Virginia’s Shenandoah Mountains, wedged between a monster water park and a Golden Corral restaurant, a raucous, Ethiopian feast unspooled and 9-year-old Mati found her groove at last. There was a pony, an African marketplace and piles of injera bread. There was a drumbeat that grew faster, twangs from a stringed instrument called a krar and an impossibly fast esketa — an Ethiopian dance that had Mati and her friends shrugging their shoulders at warp speed. Whoa. This wasn’t baseball. Or Wii bowling. Or skateboarding. This was what kids do in Ethiopia, the country Mati had tried to forget ever since her adoption at the age of 5.
If you get an opportunity, check out the 2002 flick “Rabbit Proof Fence,” which tells the tale of two mixed race Aboriginal Australian girls who run away from a government-sponsored settlement camp. The girls walk for nine weeks, while being pursued by a tracker through Australia’s outback, in hopes of returning to their community and family.
I was unaware of Australia’s dubious history of institutionalizing Aboriginals against their will in government-sponsored camps where they were used for cheap labor and “re-education” until I watched the film, which is based on a true story. Up until the 1970s, it was government policy to “breed out” all native characteristics of the Australian Aborigine by controlling breeding and swaying the swift assimilation of “some Aboriginal people into the European population.” There was also the 1915 Aborigines Protection Amending Act, which enabled the Aborigines’ Protection Board to remove Aboriginal children from their parents without having to establish that they were in any way neglected or mistreated. Many of these stolen children were placed in good “Christian” families, sometimes overseas in Western countries, to aid in their assimilation.
I haven’t seen the movie in years, but I was again reminded of it while reading a story in “The Nation” about a growing trend called the evangelical adoption movement in which some Christians advocate for international adoptions from distressed countries like Haiti to address the worldwide “orphan crisis.” As result, evangelical adoption conferences are being held around the country, and between 1,000 and 2,000 churches participate in something called the “Orphan Sunday” event, which will be held in November. The call to serve appears to be working; as of last year, the evangelical adoption agency Bethany Christian Services announced that its adoption placements had increased 13 percent since 2009. This increase was in large part due to the mobilization of churches.
Perhaps there may not be anything shady about this whole deal. Maybe this is just an extension of missionary work aimed at addressing child welfare needs in distressed countries. But in our own country where millions of children remain in state run foster care, you do have to question whether this is just the mission of some compassionate followers of Christ or the work of evangelical zealots that are baby snatching under the guise of Jesus.
Since the 1960s, there has been an increase in the number of inter-country adoptions with inquiries about international adoption up 95 percent among self-described Christians. The demand for global children is so high that the U.S. Department of State regularly lists and monitors open calls for adoption on its website.
Groups like UNICEF, one of the world’s most influential child welfare organizations, support inter-country adoption and have worked to ensure that many countries abide by the guidelines established by the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. However, UNICEF acknowledges that there are exploitative, unethical and outright illegal practices that exist in the inter-country adoption system. Issues such as the sale and abduction of children, coercion or manipulation of birth parents, falsification of documents and bribery, have all painted a troublesome picture of how inter-country adoption is sometimes executed. How can we forget the Laura Silsby saga, in which she and nine other Southern Baptists—who claimed to be motivated by God—were caught trying to transport thirty-three orphans from Haiti to an imaginary orphanage in the Dominican Republic. There was also the story of the twenty-eight children from Leh, the Himalayan mountain region of India, who were rescued by police after a Christian-based NGO allegedly kidnapped them for the purpose of “religious conversion” and adoption. The issue of fraud, coercion and flat-out kidnapping related to international adoption is so unruly in Ethiopia that this past March, the country’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs reported that they would sharply reduce the number of adoption cases they would review from 50 cases per day to no more than 5 per day.
What instances like these should remind us is that there is an undercurrent of morally and superior arrogance even under the so-called best of intentions. This call for adoption only increases demand, which in turns fuels the trafficking of children and turning orphans into a commodity to be traded on the black market. While Christian pro-adoption groups might really care about these children, they should also be just as concerned about the tactics that some countries and adoption agencies implore to place children with these “good Christian families.”
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.