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Child's Death Causes Portland to Review Foreign Adoption Rules

Digital Journal, 1st January 2010

Many people look to adoptions out of state, where other families seek to regain custody of children in the United States. But when a child is killed or abused, this brings new concerns about placement of children where communication is poor.  

In 2005 a child was killed in Mexico after being sent there where her aunt and uncle, selected by Oregon authorities, were given custody. Instead the child was abused for months, then murdered in June of 2005. This happened even as teachers of the child, named Adriana, reportedly were calling social workers but couldn't get them to act. The social workers had been relying on updates about the child's progress from telephone calls with Mexican authorities and the aunt and uncle who were found to be the abusers who killed the Adriana.  

This incident caused Oregon to take a second look at the way foreign adoptions are done. A moratorium earlier in the year has just been lifted even as new rules are being implemented to assure the safety of foster children, according to a report in the Portland Oregonian on New Year's Eve.  

Oregon is not alone in worrying about foreign adoptions and the time and distance as a problem that interferes with good communication and follow-up. Foreign adoptions of Russian children have been popular for a number of years, but these slowed down because of poor communication and issues with licensing of various agencies even as there were reports of adopted children who were abused or killed.  

Since 1990, when Russian adoptions were made open to foreigners, 13 children have been murdered, 12 of those have been within the United States. This has caused the Russian Education Ministry, which oversees the adoption of Russian children by foreigners, to be increasingly careful in scrutinizing foreign adoptions.  

In 2003 USA Today had a report on the status of foreign adoptions reviewing some of the problems involved. Some of the problems include babies that have been stolen from natural parents then sold to adopting ones, long delays in procedures and bureaucratic snafus of various kinds.  

Even as Oregon is tightening the rules on foreign adoptions, recognizing there are children taken from the United States abroad and children brought into the state, all of whom need to be supervised, foreign adoption by Americans is reported to be at its lowest level since 1996 according to a recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer.  

This is said to discourage adoption advocates who recognize folks continue to be interested in foreign adoptions. The problem, the report goes on to say, appears to be corruption and neglect in some of the host countries where children are waiting.  

Neglected children without families continue to wait for someone to provide them a home, even as the complications continue from incidences of abuse, neglect and death that produce increasing bureaucracy. In the meantime Oregon is putting together new rules and procedures to protect children in what authorities declare they hope will be a fair and reasonable way.

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“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning . . . and the most disquieting loneliness." 

Alex Haley, Author of Roots 



 

 

 

 

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