Saturday, 18 July 2015

The US Adoption Industry, the Indian Child Welfare Act, and Black American Infants Sent in Intercountry Adoption

The news of the multiple legal challenges to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) are beginning to percolate through to the consciousness of news reporting outlets. The reasons behind these attacks on the law are also starting to be queried. This report from  explains that these law suits are a backlash against the proposed binding ICWA regulations, noting that “These proposed regulations have angered opponents of the bill, including the lucrative adoption industry.” In other words, the news story points to those involved in adoption as being opposed to not only the idea of binding ICWA regulations but to the Act itself. The news story goes on to comment that “Since the regulations were proposed, multiple lawsuits have been filed around the country challenging ICWA…”
Just how “lucrative” is the adoption industry in the United States? And why would it care about the adoption of American Indian children? The demise of children available to adopt to the United States through intercountry adoption is well-known. These statisticsfrom the United States Bureau of Consular Affairs, Department of State,  demonstrate the dramatic fall that continues in the number of children received by the United States.  And yet, at the same time, there are children sent from the United States for intercountry adoption—with an estimate, given in this article  that “as many as 500 infants, most of whom are black, leave this country through outgoing adoption every year.”

At the same time the US adoption industry is apparently concerned about restrictions on the adoptions of American Indian children to non-Indians, there is relative silence about the numbers of black children leaving the US in intercountry adoption.  Why a strong reaction to the proposed regulations to ICWA and yet seemingly very little about sending black American children in intercountry adoption? 

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