Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

If you're thinking of acquiring a Third World baby, adopt a new attitude

Expand Messages
  • Sunny Jo
    If you re thinking of acquiring a Third World baby, adopt a new attitude September 4, 2010 Don t leave it too late to have babies, girls. There must hardly be
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 3, 2010
    • 0 Attachment
      If you're thinking of acquiring a Third World baby, adopt a new attitude
      September 4, 2010

      Don't leave it too late to have babies, girls. There must hardly be a
      young women out there who has missed out on this warning. It is a
      lesson pressed on them 100 times over, in the media and over the
      dinner table.

      This generation of young women will not make the mistake some older
      women made, of believing fertility was simply a matter of mind over
      ovaries, that if you were smart about it you could give birth to
      healthy babies well into your forties, just like the celebrities in
      the magazines, with their dark glasses and boisterous twins and giant
      cups of takeaway coffee.

      This myth has been put to rest only to be replaced by another one I
      keep hearing from women in their twenties. It goes like this: "If I
      leave it too late to have babies of my own it is OK because I'll just
      adopt, which is better anyway because there are so many babies in the
      Third World who need a home."

      This statement is mythical on all counts: inter-country adoption is
      not easy, you cannot do it at any age and there are not millions of
      tiny infants in need of homes in the First World.

      The countries we have inter-country adoption arrangements impose
      criteria on adopting parents which make it an unrealistic back-up plan
      for women who have left it too late to conceive. Options dwindle once
      you are in your forties. For example, if you want to adopt a child
      under two from Bolivia you must be under 40; if you want to adopt a
      baby from China you must be under 45. Prospective adoptive parents of
      South Korean children must be under 44.

      And if you are single there may not be many options at all. The
      Department of Community Services advises singles looking to adopt from
      overseas that there are only limited options because none of the
      countries that we have arrangements with will accept applications from
      singles unless they are willing to adopt much older children, and
      those with complex needs.

      UNICEF estimates there are more than 132 million children in the world
      who have lost a parent. Statistics like this are quoted by those
      lobbying for swifter, easier adoption. But if you look more closely at
      the statistics they show there is not a massive, untapped pool of
      babies in need of adoption by foreign families.

      As the UNICEF Press Centre makes clear: "Of the more than 132 million
      children classified as orphans, only 13 million have lost both
      parents. Evidence clearly shows that the vast majority of orphans are
      living with a surviving parent, grandparent or other family member -
      95 per cent of all orphans are over the age of five."

      Additionally, and for good reason, the Hague Convention seeks to have
      children adopted in the country of origin before overseas adoption is
      considered. So it is not surprising that in 2008-09 there were just 93
      inter-country adoptions across the whole of NSW, with an additional 20
      babies adopted locally.

      Some may be reading this wondering, "Well, what about all the
      celebrities in the magazines?" Gossip mags make it look like anyone
      can adopt, just as they once made it look like anyone could pop out a
      baby well into middle age. There is Angelina Jolie with her entourage
      of toddlers, not to mention tragic cases like the soap heiress Casey
      Johnson who acquired a small girl from Kazakhstan (not a signatory to
      the Hague Convention on inter-country adoption at the time) in spite
      of Johnson's mental fragility and party lifestyle. She lost custody of
      the child and died in suspicious circumstances in January.

      It is true the US has a more relaxed adoption program than we do, but
      this lack of red tape is hardly something we should want to emulate,
      especially when there is a risk of creating a market for trafficked

      Not every woman wants to have a baby. There are plenty of other ways
      to live a fulfilling life. And there are lots of ways to have a child
      in your life even when it is too late to conceive, such as fostering
      older children, which may be a pathway to adoption. But imagining you
      can easily adopt a baby is not a back-up plan, it is a fantasy.

    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.