International adoption is also referred to as intercountry adoption. In this type of adoption a child from a foreign country is adopted by an American individual or couple who become the child’s legal and permanent parents. The prospective adoptive parents must meet the legal adoption requirements in the USA and the legal adoption requirements of the country whose nationality the child holds. Each country has its own adoption laws and they can vary depending on the respective country’s willingness to allow international adoptions.
International adoption in the U.S. was prompted by war, poverty and social upheaval. United States citizens started adopting children from other countries in substantial numbers after World War II (1939-1945). Many of the children adopted were European and Japanese war orphans. Additional adoptions followed after the civil war in Greece (1946-49), the Korean War (1950-53) and the war in Vietnam (1954-1975). But war and its aftermath are not the only factors leading countries to allow their children to be adopted abroad. Desperate poverty and social upheaval have been critical factors in the adoption of children from Latin America, the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe over the last twenty years. In China, government population control policies contributed to abandonment of infant girls and overcrowded orphanages, factors in the government's decision to facilitate international adoptions.
Girls out-number boys in international adoptions. One reason is that children from China now constitute more than one-quarter of the children adopted internationally by U.S. citizens and most of these Chinese children are girls. Nearly half of the internationally adopted children and infants. Almost 90 percent are less than 5 years old.
One reason internationally adopted girls far out-number boys is that children from China now constitute more than one-quarter of the children adopted internationally by U.S. citizens and most of these Chinese children are girls.
(Source: The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute)