International Adoption
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History of International Adoption

The history of international adoption has its share of both heroes and the unscrupulous in the struggle to provide for orphans and meet the needs of parents longing for a child.

Stigma Against Adoption

For a good part of the 20th century, adoptions were considered second-rate and artificial imitations of the "real thing". The general belief was you couldn't love an adopted child as much as a biological one. Also infertility was a shameful topic people were reluctant to own up to. This stigma was attached to adoption for many years.

Matching Policy

For that reason, adoption agencies followed a strict matching policy that lasted from 1920 to 1970 in the history of international adoption. The goal was to find children who closely resembled their adoptive parents in race, religion, features and intellect. That way, parents who chose to adopt could keep the adoption a secret from the outside world with the goal of "protecting" children from cruel remarks from outsiders. Adoption records were also sealed to protect the adoptive families.
international adoption history

Carl and Helen Doss

This California couple made their mark in the history of international adoption when they defied the decades-long matching policy to adopt children of another race.

The Dosses were a young couple who in the 1940's were unable to conceive children. They adopted one infant the old fashioned way, but became frustrated over the long wait for another infant who was the "right match" for their family.

They eventually ended up adopting twelve children from the Phillipines, Hawaii, India and Mexico, as well as other places. In the fifties, Helen wrote the book The Family Nobody Wanted and their story advanced the case of transracial and international adoptions.

The Holts

Another couple who made an important mark in the history of international adoption were Bertha and Harry Holt. In 1955 they petitioned Congress and were given permission to adopt eight Korean War orphans.

Deeply moved by the plight of the Korean orphans, the Holts eventually established an international adoption agency and helped place hundreds of children into American homes. The Holts, frustrated by the long waits caused by too many regulations, eliminated the red tape and provided speedy adoptions.

Child welfare professionals hated the Holts and criticized them for being unprofessional. Eventually the Holts succumbed to pressure and applied tougher standards to families wishing to adopt.

Proxy Adoptions

Another aspect of adopting internationally that drew criticism was the practice of proxy adoptions. Proxy adoptions let citizens of the United States to hire a proxy agent to adopt a child for them. The practice allowed Americans to adopt thousands of children from Japan, Greece and Korea. Unfortunately, these adoptions ignored state and federal regulations, and children were sometimes placed in bad situations.

Public criticism of these practices eventually led to the regulations we have today.

More Helpful Information

Think you can't afford the high costs of adoption? We brought all three of our children home without going into debt, and so can you! Learn more.

Private international adoption is possible, but be aware that there are a lot of steps - and - paperwork involved. Learn more here.

Are you single and want to adopt? Many countries will still allow you to adopt even if you aren't married. Learn more.

Curious about how many parents adopted from what countries last year? These international adoption statistics will provide you with the overall picture.

You're thinking about building your family through adoption. After reading about the big adoption picture, are you still undecided whether to adopt abroad? Here are points to think about when considering Domestic versus International Adoption.

So what are the positive aspects of bringing a child home from overseas? Read here about the pros of international adoption.

But be aware that there are negative aspects of adopting internationally as well. Here are some of the cons of international adoption.

Have you ever wondered why your international adoption fee is so high? Here are some of the expenses that are part of your international adoption fee.

If you are thinking about pursuing international adoption, you want to be sure and choose the right agency. Here are some tips on choosing an international adoption agency.

Adopting a child from another country isn't always smooth sailing. There are risks involved in international adoption. Learn more here.

Have you ever wondered how international adoption began? You can read the big adoption picture on the history of international adoption here.

Nowadays, most international adoption agencies post pictures of children on the web, knowing a picture is a powerful way to connect children with families. But you should always proceed with caution before looking at any photolisting. Learn more about it here.

If you are single and wanting to adopt, more countries will now allow you adopt a child, including a toddler, sibling group, older child or disabled child. Learn more here.

Pursuing an international adoption without the help of an adoption agency is not only possible, but a great way to save thousands of dollars and keep you in control of your international adoption. Learn more.

Why can't these children be adopted in their own countries? The answer usually has to do with culture and pressures from society. Read more.

The Hague Treaty has been in effect for a few years now, so how has it impacted international adoption? Read more

International adoption can be one of the greatest things that can happen to you, but if you fall into the hands of an unscrupulous agency, you adoption dreams could become a nightmare. Learn how to protect yourself by clicking here.

Many parents pursuing international adoption are asked why they don't pursue a domestic adoption instead. There are many reasons why a domestic adoption is not always possible. Read more.

The hardest part of international adoption is the long wait to bring your child home. Learn one adoptive mom's tips for enduring the wait by clicking here.

Return from History of International Adoption to the Home Page.

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