For the purpose of this research project the interest is in researching, identifying and observing the inter-country adoption phenomenon that has developed in society over many years.This project is aimed at acknowledging and expressing the many factors that have increased the popularity of inter-country in all parts of the world in particular Australia.The development of this project has been translated into simplified questions to make the research process more simplified.These include:-What factors/issues have shaped the recent wave of inter-country adoptions?-Why are people becoming more involved in the process of inter-country adoption?The research project uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative data including interviews, source analyses and surveys. Sources of primary textual data include: narratives, websites, articles, and lecture documents.As part of the primary research in this report an interview has been conducted with a couple who adopted a child internationally from China after the birth of heir first child to give an inside experience into the inter -country adoption process.A survey of the general public has been completed to provide informative responses from a variety of personnel from different backgrounds.2AcknowledgementsThe Olden Family, Rod, Alison, Brad and Lucy- For sharing their personal experience with me****Xiaobei Chen (Assistant Professor, School of Social WorkUniversity Of Victoria, Canada)- For emailing me Information he uses in his lectures****The People who participated in My Survey- For answering them honestly and returning them to me****Mrs. Avery – For helping me find a topic, making me do mindMaps and helping me refine my question****Mrs. Hammond and Mrs. Cross – For allowing me “Long ServiceLeave “of books and clipping files from the library.3IntroductionInter-Country adoption is an aspect that has undergone a great deal of change in the past ten years. For many years adoption was only done either locally or domestically as children tended to be visible indifferent from their families and because attitudes towards adoption were also more reserved. In modern society almost everyone knows someone who has adopted from a foreign country or has at least become aware of it through the media.The trend of international adoption began after the Korean War, when Korean and Amerasian orphans were placed into families in the United States. Since then, thousands of children have been adopted from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America, with a majority of children being adopted from China. In 2002 alone, U.S. families adopted over 20,000 children from other countries.The increasing numbers of Inter-Country adoptions has resulted in a decrease in the number of local adoptions and this is the basis of this research project. The researcher is aiming to determine the factors and aspects that have led to the increased popularity of inter-country adoptions in a qualitative way.This topic has been chosen to identify if the reason people choose international adoption is more than just for personal preference.Therefore the research question/ hypothesis for this project is:”Why has there been a substantial increase in the adopted population of childrenBorn from foreign countries over the past ten years? ”4Literature ReviewIn order to understand why children are being adopted from different countries and to provide valid conclusions as to why international adoption is on the rise. Research must be done in order to learn more about the circumstances in these countries that lead to children being adopted by families abroad.1In the United States 25 000 – 40 000 children are adopted each year through private American adoption (excluding domestic adoptions). Many of these children come from teen pregnancies. However, many of these children also come form married couples who cannot manage the financial and emotional obstacles associated with family life or who’s socioeconomic status is unable to cater for the needs of a family.Russia and Ukraine were recorded as 28% of the children adopted internationally in 2001. This is due to the severe economic chaos occurring in these countries. It is estimated that due to the economic pressure placed on families and society in these countries that as many as 600 000 children live in foster or orphanage care in Russia alone.In Guatemala, extreme poverty is the basis of many adoptions. Poverty is endemic. Guatemala has one of the highest fertility rates due to the lack of family planning clinics established in this area. The adoption of these children is also due to the fact that unwed motherhood is neither socially or economically feasible.The main reason for children being placed for adoption in South Korea is the impact of social pressures. Most children placed for adoption come from unmarried mothers as there is a high stigma attached to pregnancy outside of marriage.5China has become one of the most popular countries for International Adoption as there are always children available. This is due to poverty and the” One Child Policy” as a means of population control. As a result 95% of infants adopted form china are girls as girls are considered inferior, and of lesser value than a son. Therefore many girls are left and abandoned in public places where they will be found and put into and orphanage.People considering inter-country adoption should be aware of the fact that the health and background information and records that they obtain from the orphanage may be incomplete and unreliable due to the fact that when the child is given to the orphanage as a baby there is very little information that is obtained and therefore medical records etc may not be up to date.In a personal email received from Xiaobei Chen (University Of Victoria, Canada),Professor Chen stated that:”In order for the internationally adopted child to develop self-esteem and a sense of pride, family members must incorporate into their lifestyle, elements and aspects typical to those of the child’s original culture. This includes developing and /or maintaining relationships with people of the internationally adopted child’s ethnicity.”2If the question of whether or not being internationally adopted influenced a child’s well being and learning were raised then the answer would be yes. In an article written by B. Gindis (PhD) entitled “Specific Features of Cumulative Cognitive Deficit (CCD) In Internationally Adopted Children”, the following was recorded:After the initial amazing advancements with the English language learning, some internationally adopted children experience problems at school, the progress slows down and they actually fall behind school requirements. Some of these children may even show difficulty in their academic work, which in turn brings out behavioral and emotional problems”.3Internationally adopted children are also susceptible to issues such as: Behavioral issues, cognitive issues, mental issues, emotion and trauma issues, psychological issues, Language issues such as bilingualism , legal issues, medical issues,occupational and physical therapy issues, parenting issues, pre-adoption issues and school based issues such as learning difficulties and problems associated with making friends.4There are many medical conditions that are associated with children adopted from overseas such as: Latent Tuberculosis Infection (common in children adopted from China and Russia) , Hepatitis A, B and C , HIV ( common in children form Cambodia, Romania, China and Viet Nam), Syphilis, Parasites, Helicobacter pylori and reflux esophagitis, Lead poisoning, Alcohol related Neurodevelopment disorders, Malnutrition, rickets, iron deficiency, anemia, zinc deficiency, scabies and eczema.5In 2001, of the children adopted from overseas, 65% of children had one or more of the above medical conditions. Also in 2001, 44% were under 1 year of age and 43% were between 1 and 4 years of age. In 2004 the number of overseas adoptions had reached a 10 year high with 370 internationally adopted children recorded in the time period between 2003 and 2004. This was contrasted to the 222 that were recorded 10 years earlier. However, in the time period of 2003 and 2004 only 132 local adoptions were recorded.6 It is believed that the main influence on these numbers had been a substantial increase in the number of adoptions from China. There had been an increase from 46 in 2002 and 2003 to 112 in 2003 and 2004. This resulted in a general downward trend in the adoption rates of Australian born children for those time periods falling from 73 of 14% of the total population.7In 2004 Australians adopted 370 overseas babies last financial year compared with 132 adoptions here. 8 In 2004 30% of overseas adopted babies were from China, 26 per cent from South Korea, 12 per cent from Ethiopia and 11 per cent from Thailand Of these 41 per cent were male and 59 per cent were female. 9In 1997-98 the number of children adopted in Australia fell by almost 20 per cent- to 577.10 In 1999 Adoption Services NSW, which handles local and overseas adoptions in that State, received 175 expressions of interest in adopting overseas compared with 112 for local children.11 In 1998 Americans adopted almost 4000 Chinese children and paid about $US10, 000. In 1997-98, 69 children were adopted in NSW, 64 in Victoria, 43 in Queensland and 37 in South Australia.12The process of inter-country adoption involves 12 steps:1. Obtaining an information pack from DOCS (Dep’t. Community Service)2. Lodge an expression of interest3. (Advisable but not compulsory) Join a support organization and make contact with the Country Program Manager overseas.4. Attend Adoption seminar135. Lodge Application to adopt6. Undergo a 3-6 month series of interviews with a DOCS assessor.7. DOCS review the assessment report with your application and make a decision to grant approval to adopt.8. Prepare application to chosen country.9. Await allocation (time varies according to personal factors and country chosen)10. After allocation, prepare immigration paperwork and travel to country to pick up child.11. Post- placement supervision by DOCS for a few months12. Adoption is finalized 6-12 months following placement.Inter-country adoption can place tremendous financial and emotional pressures on the couples who elect this option as this process can incur a cost of anything from $10,000 up to $30,000 +MethodologyDuring the process of researching this topic for this research task, primary research was conducted by the researcher in the form of an interview and a survey. The interview was considered a valuable source as the aim of the interview was to discuss the topic with persons who had experienced and successfully completed the inter-country adoption process.The interview was completed on a one-to-one basis in the comfort of the interviewees own home, using an audio recorder belonging to a member of the family. A transcript of the interview is followed by this brief explanation.The focus group of this interview is the parent’s of a child who had been adopted through the inter-country adoption process. Throughout the interview the researcher made brief notes to confirm the recording of the interview.The researcher identified clearly to the interviewees on the purpose for conducting the interview and what the aims of this research project were. The questions were pre-planned, structured and open-ended, leaving the interviewee to respond in as much depth as they wanted.The interview was conducted in an informal atmosphere to encourage the interviewee to be more open in their responses and to make them feel more comfortable in the presence of the interviewer. The participants were happy to give their consent to have their details and responses published in this research project.9InterviewInterviewer: I’m conducting this interview as part of a major research project for yr 12 as part of the community and family studies course. Your names and details won’t be published in this task unless you give your consent.Interviewer: Why did you choose to adopt a child from china through inter-country adoption?A: After having complications with the birth of our first child, I was unable to have children again, which I really wanted to have. After about 3 years R and I decided that we wanted another child and thought that B needed a sibling. We had considered IVF but didn’t particularly like that idea so we decided to try adoption. We tried local adoption, thinking that we would be able to have a child quite soon, however we had been waiting for 6 months but nothing had happened. Then we discussed adopting a child from overseas and that idea appealed to the both of us. We chose China because I had spent 6 months living in China when I was younger and I had developed close ties with that country and wanted my own little bit of China (laughs).Interviewer: Can you describe the process you went through and possible the costs involved?R: It was really long. There was a lot of paper work and legal issues to sort out. We had to go through a series of interviews which took about 3 months to make sure that we qualified and to discuss countries and the paperwork. They reviewed our financial situation, medical history, family history, everything. We had to attend seminars that the agency had organized to explain issues and problems that can occur in the child and the impact that it could have on the family. Then we just waited. The total cost of the process was around about $27,000. I have to say that there was a lot of emotional and financial pressure put on us and having to attend the seminars and all the travel left us run down. But in the end it was worth it.10Interviewer: Was it easy to obtain Lucy?R: We waited along time for any word about the adoption. I think it was about 3 years. That whole time we were really anxious and worried that we may not have met the criteria. After that time we finally got the call saying we had a child. Then all we had to do was travel to China and finally meet and pick up 6 month old Lucy. We had to stay in China for about 4 weeks to finalize the process and have Lucy checked by a doctor. Then we brought her home to meet her brother. It was very exciting.Interviewer: What was Lucy’s story?A: We don’t really know a lot as the agency wasn’t able to tell us much about her. All we know is that she was born on February 9 1998 in Najing China and that she was abandoned by her mother and was sent to the orphanage. We weren’t even told her medical history because she had no records or anything with her only her birth certificate.Interviewer: Even though she was adopted as a baby, do you think that her being adopted and brought to another country has had an impact on her development and well being?R: I think that it may have had an impact when she first started school but now it doesn’t seem to affect her as much. We had to deal with the questions we knew she would ask such as “why do I look different to you?” and such, but now its ok. Lucy knows she’s adopted and she’ll tell anyone who asks her (laughs). She speaks English okay and does well at school and has many friends. Though one day I know she’ll want to meet her real parents and we will make sure that if she does that she does get to meet them.Interviewer: Why do you think that inter-country adoption has become a popular choice for many people?A: I think it’s because their aren’t as many children available through local adoption and because that process takes so long …..To wait for it to go through.R: I think it’s because…..well celebrities have made it popular such as Angelina Jolie and Meg Ryan…. I think she has a child adopted from overseas. I think that young people or couples see this and like the idea of a “Rainbow Family”.A: I also think that it’s because the inter-country adoption process is more open to all types of people.Interviewer: Well, thank you very much for participating in this interview. Your story has been really helpful and has provided me with a lot of answers.A;R: Thank you for choosing us and we’re glad that we were able to help.A short survey was also conducted among a sample of 30 people using a questionnaire, in an attempt to determine if the option of inter-country adoption appealed to people and to observe their thoughts on why they believe that inter-country adoption has become so popular.The questionnaire/survey consisted of four questions. The questions consisted on one yes or no question and three free response questions. The questionnaires were distributed to each of the individuals in person. In order to obtain a range of responses, the individuals selected came from various age groups, occupations and backgrounds.The purpose of the interview was to obtain both qualitative and quantitative data from the individual’s responses. A questionnaire was chosen so that the researcher could have a written record of each respondent’s thoughts and feelings on the issue. The questions were designed so that analysis and interpretation of the results was simplified.In conducting the survey/questionnaire, the privacy of all participants was maintained. Therefore their identities remained anonymous and confidential throughout the conduction of this task. The subjects were informed of the purpose and aims of the surveys and of the procedures ensuring that they remained anonymous.An Outline of the survey is as followed:Survey Questions1. Would you ever consider inter-country adoption/ international adoption?YES NO2. What countries would you consider adopting a child from?3. Under what circumstances would you consider the adoption of child from another country?4. Why do you think inter-country adoption has become so popular?The secondary research for this project was obtained from clippings files and newspaper articles from previous reporting on this topic that have occurred over the past 10 years. These articles provided the researcher with the source of quantitative research (statistics and figures) that helped with the initial findings.As part of the secondary research, the researcher read many case studies and interviews associated with the topic including many that came direct from couples /persons who chose inter-country adoption. These case studies assisted with the composer by providing them with personal accounts of people who had gone through the inter-country adoption process and enabled the researcher to identify the reasons why they chose inter-country adoption which in turn allowed the researcher to determine why inter-country adoption has become increasingly popular.13The composer of this research project also chose to use periodicals and pieces written by socialists, doctors and professors relating to the topic of inter-country adoption. These pieces dealed with the politics and legalities associated with the inter- country adoption process, for example: the Hague Convention. They also provided the researcher with information relating to the costs, process, medical issues and countries often related or associated with inter-country adoption.These sources as well as the use of many internet websites provided the composer of this project with a steady amount of background information used by the researcher before completing primary research.14ResultsThe process of inter-country adoption is long and can have an impact on the adoptive parent’s well-being. Interviewee’s announced that the process placed” a lot of emotional and financial pressure on us and having to attend the seminars and all the travel left us feeling really run down.”Interviewee’s also stated that as well as their child being bilingual, they faced other issues such as “We had to deal with the questions we knew she would ask such as “Why do I look different to you?” “This impacted on the parents emotional well -being.In relation to the reasons why inter- country adoption has become so popular, Interviewee A stated “It’s because their aren’t as many children available through local adoption and because the process takes to long.” Interviewee R notes “It’s because…. Well celebrities have made it popular”. And also that “Young people and couples see this and like the idea of a “Rainbow Family “. ” Interviewee A also believes “that it’s because the inter-country adoption process is more open to all types of people”.My survey revealed that of the 30 people surveyed, 65 % of those individuals asked said that they would consider inter-country adoption. From the survey responses, in relation to the question” What countries would you consider adopting from?” The following pie chart was constructed:From the results presented, we are able to see that: 25 % of people surveyed would consider China. 25 % of people surveyed would consider Russia. 9 % would consider South Korea. 11 % would consider Guatemala, 6 % would consider the Ukraine and 25 % of people surveyed would consider other countries including: South America, Japan, Fiji and India.When asked “Under what circumstances would you consider the adoption of a child from another country?” The following table was constructed:Percentage (%)Reason32 %If they were infertile or became28 %If they were a sole parent or wanting to be one25 %If they were unsuccessful with local adoption (didn’t meet criteria, waited too long etc)15 %If they were or because they are homosexualThis table display’s that 32% would consider inter-country adoption if they were or became infertile. 28 % would consider inter-country adoption if they were a sole parent or wanted to become one. 25 % if they were unsuccessful with local adoption because they didn’t meet the criteria or they were waiting too long. 15 % would consider it if they were or because they are, homosexual.The individuals surveyed were also asked “Why do you think inter-country adoption has become so popular?” This question resulted in the following responses in order of ranking:- Many viewed it as a Humanitarian Act.- Increased infertility rates- Decrease in children available for local adoption due to the wider use of contraceptive methods.- There is now fewer stigmas attached to unwed parents in particular unwed mothers.- And there are younger children available through inter-country adoption.16Analysis and DiscussionIn the 2004 financial year, Australians adopted 370 babies and children internationally. This number was contrasted to the 222 international adoptions that were recorded 10 years earlier. This significantly higher number was then compared to the mere 132 local adoptions that occurred in this same time period. From these figures it is evident that the popularity associated with inter-country adoption has resulted in a general downward trend in local adoption rates.Current research on this topic intentionally or unintentionally supports this idea that inter-country adoptions are primarily humanitarian acts.From the secondary research completed for this task, it was clearly identified that inter country adoptions appear more friendly to prospective parents who are older, single, gay or lesbian. For older couples who do not meet the age requirements for local adoption, this is a bonus as they don’t have to compete with younger couples. It was also proven through the survey used for primary research, that it was a preferred option for infertile couples and sole parents.Through the case studies read by the researcher, it was conducted that inter-country adoption has become more popular because healthy Caucasian (white) babies have become hard to locate and expensive to adopt. It was also noted that many of the subjects of these case studies chose inter-country adoption as there was more certainty of a child, compared to the uncertainty of receiving a locally adopted child.The subjects of the interview used as primary research indicated that though their child had to overcome a few obstacles i.e. Bilingualism, the task of integrating their child into community and school was not difficult.This was supported by a statement from an article entitled: “Babies, The next prohibited import”, taken from the Sydney Morning Herald. This article proclaimed that parents of older children often experienced difficulties with integrating them into community and school systems.17It also stated “that it was mainly older children who had problems adjusting to the new home situation and that the placement of babies were generally successful”.The interview also stated that they had been on a waiting list to adopt a child locally for 6 months. Speed is another reason why inter-country adoption has become increasingly popular. Local adoptees may be forced onto a year’s long waiting list just for an application to be considered whereas; international adoptions are usually finalized in one year. They also stated that the inter-country adoption process was more open to all types of people. This adds to the appeal of inter-country adoption as the criteria and requirements are comparatively lax to those of local adoption.In an article entitled “Chance to dip into China’s baby pool”, taken form “The Australian” in 1999 the following statement was made: “It’s estimated that at any one time in Victoria alone, about 300 couples would be interested in adopting overseas”. This supports the results of the first question in the survey that the researcher conducted. From this question it was noted that 65% of the people surveyed would consider inter- country adoption.When the question “Under what circumstances would you consider inter-country adoption?” was asked , the responses enabled the researcher to determine that, the main reason many of these individuals would choose inter-country adoption was because they were unable to have a child otherwise. It was noted that this was because they were infertile, homosexual, not able to receive a child through local adoption of they were unmarried and wanted a child.The secondary research of the major countries that adopt children to Australia and why there are so many children available for adoption in these countries, supported the survey used for primary research. In question 2 of the survey, the respondents were asked to state which countries they would like to adopt from. The results of this question were concurrent to those indicated in the secondary research and included: China, Russia, South Korea, Guatemala, Ukraine, and others including South America, Japan, Fiji and India. The way that these results turned out lead the researcher to believe that in fact many people may consider inter-country adoption as merely a humanitarian act.18Many of the articles viewed by the researcher as secondary research, made reference to the factors that were deemed contributable to the decline in local adoptions in the past 10 years. The factors that were considered contributable to this decline were comparatively similar to those mentioned by the survey and interview respondents.The researcher reviewed the primary and secondary research they had collected and incorporated their own thoughts to determine possible factors that related to the question. The researcher believes that the reasons behind the substantial increase in the adopted population of children born in foreign countries are:– The increased role of women in the workforce who don’t wish to0 spend 9 months or more off work due to having a baby.- Increased use of contraceptive methods.- Decreased stigma attached to unwed mothers.- Legislative changes-The introduction of sole parent supportThe researcher also believes that inter-country adoption rates have increased as a result of Australia’s growing multicultural society. Because of this it means that there is more societal and social acceptance in relation to the adoption of children from other countries being adopted by Australian’s.Throughout the course of completing this research project, the researcher was able to identify the above factors and has attempted to predict what the next 10 years will bring for inter-country adoption. Hence the researcher has predicted that the popularity associated with inter-country adoption will increase. This will lead to the number of local adoptions decreasing.The researcher also predicts that the number of children adopted from overseas may not only increase but may produce an outcome of double the current population of children adopted from overseas.19Summary and ConclusionAfter examining both the researcher’s primary and secondary research in the process of compiling this research project, it appears that the researcher has been able to come to many conclusions in relation to the research hypothesis/question. Therefore it would appear reasonable to conclude that the substantial increase in the adopted population of children from foreign countries over the past 10 years is due to the following:–Speed: Families wanting to adopt a child domestically usually find themselves on a year long waiting list (because infants are hard to find, birth control and abortion are widely available, plus most single mothers choose to raise their children). Whereas international adoptions can be finalized in a year (because foreign orphanages have many children available for adoption). As adoption expert Michael Grand explains:”The primary reason for the growth of foreign adoptions is that of expediency.It’s simply faster…. People are frustrated working in the domestic systemBecause there are so few infants around.”-Legal Certainty: In domestic adoption a birth mother can change her mind during a certain period after giving consent, or a birth father can later appear, claiming his rights. In inter-country adoption, these legal complications are practically unheard of. The birth parents rights have been relinquished. Most international adoptions are finalized in a court abroad, so the child is legally yours before you come home.-Choice of Child: You may specify the sex and age of your child, or you may choose a particular boy or girl from a list of available children in a central registry. For those who want to be guaranteed a daughter rather that a son, China is the place to go.- Flexibility in rules: Strict criteria in receiving countries may exclude people because they are older, single, gay or the wrong religion. Whereas various overseas agencies offer a variety of eligible criteria.-Track record: You may know someone who adopted abroad and may be impresses with their success.20After looking at the extensive secondary research used for this task, it appears reasonable to also conclude that:- Little research in relation to the increased demand for inter-country adoption in receiving countries and how it is shaped by the internal politics and policies surrounding has been done.- For those who don’t have a good and fair chance with the domestic adoption process, the appeal of inter-country adoption is irresistible. In inter-country adoption everybody who wants to adopt a child is basically successful.- The increase in the number of inter-country adoptions has left domestic adoptions striving to compete with inter-country adoptions.- Unlike IVF, the fees aren’t subsidized by the government and the $3000 baby bonus is only paid if the child is under 2 years of age.There are many reasons which have lead to the increase in internationally adopted children. The researcher recommends that a more substantial amount of research should be conducted for future reference to this subject. From this research project, it would seem that the substantial increase in the population of children adopted from overseas is due to and as a result of the above statements.