Today the Star Tribune published an article by Jean Hopfensperger highlighting the changes that adoptive parents wanting to adopt internationally are now facing. These changes include increases in older children, sibling groups, and children with disabilities available for adoption, and a trend toward open adoptions, once considered impossible and/or improbable (even if desirable) a few years ago. In fact, you still often hear that the reasons people choose to adopt internationally rather than domestically from foster care is because adoptive parents want younger, healthy infants, and without siblings and/or birth family contact (in other words, closed adoptions).
However, times are changing in Minnesota and throughout the rest of the United States.
Minnesota has long been a leader in adoptions, including intercountry adoptions, currently holding the title as the state with the highest per capita rate of intercountry adoptions in the U.S. And as countries shut down, halt or slow their intercountry adoption programs, prospective adoptive parents and adoption agencies search for new areas of the world from which to adopt.
This Star Tribune article features a family that adopted from the Marshall Islands, where in the past there have been questions about ethics by adoption agencies and facilitators who misled or coerced parents into relinquishing their children for adoption by American prospective parents (for more about this, see links below).
The concept of openness in international adoptions is a new practice. Relatively few open adoptions occur. This family is bucking the trend against open adoption with children adopted internationally.
For more information about adoption in the Marshall Islands, see these links:
- Ethica: Marshall Islands Archives (HTML)
- Jini Roby: If I Give You My Child, Aren't We Family? A Study of Birthmothers Participating in Marshall Islands - U.S. Adoptions (PDF)
- Julianne M. Walsh: Adoption & Agency: American Adoptions of Marshallese Children (.doc)