The article below from today's NY Times provides some proof that small amounts of money given directly to families in the Global South may be able to stem the tide of predominantly white adoptive families from the US, Canada, and Europe adopting children of color (particularly those from Africa, China, and S. Korea) in such great numbers.
One way to decrease the availability of children to adoptive families from the Global North would be to provide direct aid (monthly funds, medicines, etc.) to families who might otherwise place their children for adoption because of poverty, political violence, or AIDS, Another way is to provide direct aid to extended families who could care for their relatives' children if they had access to adequate assistance - this is what the NYT article discusses.
Obviously, the next and even better step would be a massive movement to combat political and economic issues in countries like Ethiopia, South Korea, and Guatemala (as well as the US). In more ways than one, these issues the historical repercussion of western colonialism and contemporary histories of western repression, advanced capitalism, and continued cultural and political influences.
• In the first population-based survey of U.S. parents who have adopted internationally . . . eighty-eight percent of the parents [surveyed] reported transracial adoptions (97% of the parents were white); 57% of the adopted children were Asian.<small>(1)
• Compared with other countries, the number of children adopted in the U.S. is 4-16 times greater. However, the highest rates of adoption (per live-births) are in Europe, especially in Scandinavian countries.(2)
• Ethiopia became the first African nation to hit the U.S. State Department's list of the top 10 foreign countries from which Americans adopt in 2004. [In 2006], the numbers . . . [were] on pace to increase again, by about 20 percent, to 530 adoptions, according to State Department data. And while Ethiopia still trails nations such as China. . . with 8,000 children arriving here in 2005, Russia with 5,000, and Guatemala with 4,000, observers say that the increase is significant.(3)
The New York Times
6 December 2009
"Aid for Relatives Offers Alternative to African Orphanages"
BY Celia W. Dugger
MCHINJI DISTRICT, Malawi -- The Home of Hope orphanage provides Chikodano Lupanga, 15, with three nutritious meals a day, new school uniforms, sensible black shoes and a decent education. . . .
In a country as desperately poor as Malawi, children placed in institutions are often seen as the lucky ones. But even as orphanages have sprung up across Africa with donations from Western churches and charities, the families who care for the vast majority of the continent's orphans have gotten no help at all, household surveys show.
Researchers now say a far better way to assist these bereft children is with simple allocations of cash -- $4 to $20 a month in an experimental program under way here in Malawi -- given directly to the destitute extended families who take them in. That program could provide grants to eight families looking after some two dozen children for the $1,500 a year it costs to sponsor one child at the Home of Hope, estimated Candace M. Miller, a Boston University professor and a lead researcher in the project.
Experts and child advocates maintain that orphanages are expensive and often harm children's development by separating them from their families. Most of the children living in institutions around the world have a surviving parent or close relative, and they most commonly entered orphanages because of poverty, according to new reports by Unicef and Save the Children. . .
Click here to read the FULL ARTICLE.
Photo: Moises Saman for The New York Times.
1. Wendy L. Hellerstedt and Nikki J. Madsen, et al, "The International Adoption Project: Population-based Surveillance of Minnesota Parents Who Adopted Children Internationally," Maternal and Child Health Journal 12.2 (March 2008): 162-171.
3. Nara Schoenberg. "As More White Americans Adopt Africans, Experts Point Out Social Realities," Chicago Tribune, 28 August 2006.