The foster care/adoption dilemma

I am the parent of two internationally adopted children, and I continue to read a number of posts from various adoptive parent list serves. From what is being reported, albeit sporadically, it seems clear that the rise of foster care in countries like Russia is leading to a drastic slowing down of international–perhaps even domestic–adoption. It is tragic that this issue, which touches the human rights of children, is not being confronted and dealt with transparently. What are the motives of national governments in designing these programs? To place young children in foster care more or less indefinitely? If so, this is a grave error in judgment and a potentially serious infringement of children’s rights. If as a short term alternative to large orphanages, that might be seen as an improvement. Will we be told which is the case in any given country? I strongly doubt it.

Once again, the Bucharest Early Intervention Project is in the news–a truly wonderful and extremely important project that showed the adverse effects on child brain development of institutionalization. However, the journalistic presentation of these results has twisted the proper conclusion (namely, that highly trained and skilled foster care is preferable to orphanage life) and given the impression that foster care per se is beneficial to child development.

See the most recent set of finding described in

Would or could anyone argue that ordinary paid stranger foster care is preferable to adoption? Are many children about to disappear from view into foster care systems?


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