Kristina Wilken


When I went with the lawyer to pick up Kate--some part of town I could never find again--her mother was lying there, not in a house really, more like a stall with a bed in it. . . . It was like we were going baby shopping. 1 Although once rarely contemplated, international adoption has become a realistic option for couples in the United States. In fact, the United States has received more foreign children for adoption than any other country in the world. 2 Since the first wave of international adoptions in the late 1940s, 3 over 130,000 children have been adopted into this country. 4 As international adoptions have grown in popularity, both licensed agencies and private individuals have appeared in great numbers as adoption intermediaries. 5 High demand for adoptable children encourages these intermediaries to trade children for large amounts of money. 6 Informally, this practice is known as "baby selling." 7 While there is no clear consensus that the exchange of some money in an adoption process is morally wrong, the exchange of large amounts of money for children may create improper incentives for birth mothers to release their children for adoption. Most international adoptions are arranged through agencies licensed by administrative or judicial bodies of a particular country to place children from that country. 8 However, adoptions are also handled through "independent agents" who may be private adoption lawyers, social workers, or other persons acting as liaisons between the adoptive parents ...

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