Abandoned infants in China.

"Abandoned at birth because of China's strict one-child-per-family policy. Olivia was destined to grow up in one of China's 41,000 state-run orphanages had it not been for the determination of her new-found parents to make their family complete.  After five years of unsuccessful attempts at pregnancy, Olivia's parents decided that adoption was their last hope of everhaving a child. Because their ages were thirty-five and forty-seven, however, Olivia's parents knew that the adoption laws of Great Britain would never allow them to adopt domestically. Thus, the couple chose to broaden their adoptive search and eventually adopted Olivia from China.

Olivia's family story is not unique. Intercountry adoption is a growing, worldwide phenomenon. An intercountry adoption is "the adoption of a childborn in one nation by adults who are citizens of another nation, who will ordinarily raise the child in their own country."The growing disparity indeveloped nations between the decreasing number of  children available for adoption and the increasing number of parents wishing to adopt. Coupled with the equally great disparity in developing nations between the supply of abandoned or orphaned children and the shortage of parents willing to adopt, have forced many families to turn to intercountry adoption.

Many developing countries are suspicious of intercountry adoption. They regard it as a vehicle for exploitation-a means by which developed nations can exploit developing nations and their children. As a result, many developing nations have enacted strict regulations aimed at restricting the process of international adoption. Unfortunately, these strict laws rarely achieve their goal of protecting children, and instead tend to perpetuate the number of children living in orphanages and private institutions.

Presently, China is "the leading source of babies for intercountry adoption."Similar to other developing countries, China's laws governing intercountry adoption have traditionally been highly restrictive and directed at phasing out international adoption. These laws have not only prevented many couples from becoming adoptive parents, but have also increased the number of children living in Chinese orphanages. Accordingly, in December of 1998, Chinese leaders enacted an amended law that lowers the parental agefor adopters and allows couples with children to adopt healthy, abandoned babies. It is hoped that this amended law will reduce the number of abandoned and orphaned children living in institutions throughout China.

The growing need for intercountry adoption.

The growing interest in intercountry adoption among western nations has not only been motivated by concern for the welfare of foreign children, but also by the fact that the number of domestic, adoptable children has stadily declined in recent years as a result of social, medical and demographic changes. Four primary factors contribute to this growing interest in intercountry adoption:

- a marked decrease of parents’ mortality rates has left fewer orphant children available for adoption.

- more single women are electing to keep children out of wedlock, rather than relinquishing these children to adoption.

- the prevalevce of birth control usage and abortions have redused the number of unwanted pregnancies in the United States and other developed nations, thereby redusing the number of a number of adoptable infants.

- lastly, the supply of adoptable children has decreased in the past few years, the demand for intercountry adoptions has intensified because of an increased in infertility among families in developed countries.

As a result of the decline in the number of children eligible for adoption in vestern world and the increase in infertility at the same time, an amount of children available for domestic adoption is not comparable with an amount of families eager to adopt. The lack of adoptable children, especialy infants in developed countries has forced these families to travel the four corners of the world in search of a child.

Anywhere, the cornerstone of adopting boom is the socioeconomic situation in many developing countries.

China’s intercountry adoptions law.

China as the most populous country in the world still has a lot of problems with abandoned childrem. Intercountry adoption is one of the most important solutions to the steady decline in avaliable children in the United States, Canada, and other developed countries.

In 1979 China implemented a one-child-per-family birth policy, as an attempt to control population growth and prevent starvation. The governemental policy led to extremal increas of an ammount of abandoned infants. The large number of children placed in orphanages makes interciuntry adoption in China attractive for many childless couples. As a result, intercountry adoption in China has steadily increased in recent years. The number of adoptions has rised as far as Chinese babies are generaly healthier than infants from lots of other developing countries, since fewer of Chinese mothers are alcoholics, drug addicts or have infectional diseases. So China provides an opportunity to adopt heathy children with less of administrative difficulties often experienced in other foreign countries.