Intercountry Adoption on the Internet

by Shihning Chou, Kevin Browne, Melanie Kirkaldy
Adoption & Fostering ()


This study by Shihning Chou, Kevin Browne and Melanie Kirkaldy investigated whether inter-country adoption agencies on the internet upheld the principles of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC 1989) and the Hague Convention (1993). A systematic search on the UK-based Google search engine was carried out. The search yielded 2,383 hits, of which 116 were adoption agencies. All 116 agencies were registered in the USA and 37 per cent of the agency websites clearly stated that potential adoptive parents are allowed to select a child they wish to adopt, with 34 per cent offering the option to apply online. The average total fee for intercountry adoption per child was US$20,338 with an average application fee of US$273.97. The majority of websites displayed photographs of children: 9.5 per cent showed photos of named children who had been adopted, 25 per cent displayed photos of named children currently available for adoption and 50 per cent of websites displayed general photographs of children with no identifiers. Furthermore, 18.1 per cent of agencies used terminology that promoted children as a commodity rather than as individuals in need. There was a positive correlation between agencies using such terminology and those displaying photographs with personal information. If these views are accepted, it means that it can be estimated that at least 38 per cent of the agencies were in breach of the UNCRC and the Hague Convention.

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