Global Adoption: A New Look

Bethany and Kevin Durkin hold their daughters Olivia, 7, left, and Lucy, 5, in their in Katonah, N.Y. home. The Durkins are part of a growing number of parents who have adopted special-needs children from China. March 13, 2010. (AP)

Reports early today that the Russian government had suspended all adoption of Russian children by American families. Then reports that maybe  they had not.

The back-and-forth comes exactly one week after a Tennessee woman took the seven-year-old Russian boy she had adopted, pinned a note to his shirt saying he was psychopathic, and put him on a plane alone back to Russia.

American have adopted many thousands of children from all over the world. They have built many beloved families. This week, the focus is on the tough stuff.

This Hour, On Point: the risks, rewards and realities of international adoption.


Blake Farmer, reporter and producer for Nashville Public Radio. He’s been covering the  story of how a Tennessee woman returned her adopted 7-year-old son back to Russia.

Michele Goodwin, professor of law at the University of Minnesota. She also holds joint appointments at the University of Minnesota Medical School and School of Public Health, and is editor of “Baby Markets: Money and the New Politics of Creating Families.”

Elizabeth Bartholet, professor of law and director of the Child Advocacy Center at Harvard University. She’s author of Nobody’s Children: Abuse and Neglect, Foster Drift, and the Adoption Alternative. Her article “International Adoption: The Human Rights Position” appears in the current issue of the journal Global Policy.

Joseph LaBarbera, clinical psychologist specializing in work with children, adolescents, and young adults. He’s also associate professor of psychiatry at Vanderbilt University.

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