US Adoption’s Dirty Little Secret: US Babies Exported Worldwide

America’s dirty little adoption secret (which one?) is out , but nobody is paying much attention.

Last month the US Department of State issued the 2011 FY 2001 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption.  It’s only five pages long but full of “interesting” bick-a-brac  Within the stats we learn than 73 US citizen children were adopted out of country; that is, they’ve, as State quaintly calls it,.”emigrated” to another country via adoption.  The largest receiving country is Canada with 31; the second is the Netherlands with  27.. It gets better:  the largest sending state is Florida with 49 little Floridians packing their diaper bags for other parts of the world, . The second largest sending state is South Carolina with 12–all heading for Canada..  These two states far outstrip other states in outgoing shipments.

I got curious, so I went back and found reports for 2009 and 2010 and found even more alarming figures  The number of American children  removed, renamed, and remodeled  abroad has more than quintupled  in three years, from 26 in the 2009 report to142 in the 2011 report. (According to the 2009 report these figures go from October 1, 2008-September 30, 2009.  The other reports don’t give a FY date, but I assume  this is it.for each report).  The statistics. include all children  no matter if the receiving county is a signatory to the Hague or not. I believe these figures are low, but they are the “official numbers.”

I made a chart showing numbers, receiving countries, and sending states. If I were a pap on a waiting list, I’d be pretty peeved at this. I’m not a pap, but I am.anyway.

RECEIVING COUNTRY 2009 REPORT
Sending state
2010 REPORT
Sending state
2011 REPORT
Sending state
TOTAL

Austria New York – 1
TOTAL; 1
Florida – 1
TOTAL: 1
Florida – 1
TOTAL: 1
Florida -2
New York – 1 
TOTAL 3
Canada Florida – 1
Nevada – 1
South Carolina – 2
Utah – 1
TOTAL: 5
California – 1
Florida – 12
South Carolina – 5
Texas – 1
TOTAL: 19
Florida – 18
Nevada – 1
South Carolina – 12
TOTAL: 31
California – 1
Florida- 31
Nevada – 2
South Carolina – 19
Texas – 1  
Utah – 1 
TOTAL: 55
Curacao Florida – 1
TOTAL: 1
Florida – 1
TOTAL: 1
Germany California – 1
TOTAL: 1
New Jersey – 2
TOTAL: 2
New Jersey – 2
TOTAL: 2
California – 1
New Jersey – 4
TOTAL: 5
Ireland
Florida -5
TOTAL 5
Florida – 5
TOTAL: 5
Mexico California – 1 California – 1
TOTAL: 1
Netherlands California – 1
Florida – 13
Indiana – 1
New York – 2
TOTAL: 17
California – 1
Florida – 13
New Jersey – 1
New York – 3
TOTAL: 18
California – 1
Florida – 21
Kansas – 1
New Jersey – 2
Pennsylvania – 1
Texas – 1
TOTAL: 27
California – 3
Florida – 47
Indiana – 1
Kansas – 1
New Jersey – 3
New York –5
Pennsylvania – 1
Texas – 1
TOTAL: 62
Spain Florida – 1
TOTAL: 1
Florida – 1
TOTAL: 1
South Africa Nevada – 1
TOTAL: 1
Nevada – 1
TOTAL; 1
Switzerland California – 1
Florida – 1
TOTAL: 2
California – 1
Florida – 1
TOTAL: 2
UK Florida – 2
TOTAL: 2

Florida – 1
New Jersey – 1
TOTAL: 2
Florida – 1
Texas – 1
TOTAL: 2

Florida –4
New Jersey – 1
Texas – 1
TOTAL: 6
TOTAL 26 43 73 142

The US to Canada pipeline is no surprise. We already know that some  US agencies specialize (or at least did a few years ago) in placing African-American or transracial children in Canada, but we can’t help but wonder who’s doing it since the Hague kicked in, and it’s a little more difficult (in theory)  to transport American children across country lines for purposes of adoption.

People Magazine ran an feature in 2005, Why are American Babies Being Adopted Abroad? in which two sending agencies were identified as sending children to Canada, but neither of them were in Florida or South Carolina.. In  February 2009, 60 Minutes ran a news feature Born in the US: Adopted in Canada  Lesley Stahl reported

one Florida adoption agency sent more than half its black infants out of the country last year. No one keeps count, but 60 Minutes was told it could involve as many as 500 children a year.
 
The agency wasn’t identified, but immediately afterward Stahl segued into an  interview with Walter O Gilbert, identified as the CEO of The Open Door, a “Florida adoption agency” that placed a lot of black children in Canada.  Checks of the Georgia and Florida Secretary of State records indicate that the agency is incorporated in both states, but its main office is in Thomasville, Georgia, on the state line about 30 miles north of Tallahassee. It’s 800 number is advertised in numerous online Florida directories.

From 60 Minutes:


Walter Gilbert, CEO of The Open Door, views these adoptions as a “win-win” situation for the children, and he has strong opinions about why. “Especially in Canada, people are just color blind,” says Gilbert. “That’s been our experience. We would tend to tell them [birth mothers] that our experience has been there’s less prejudice. They know what they experience here.”

For the record, this is the same agency that placed Russian adoptee Jacob Lindorff with his Forever Parents Heather and James Lindoroff who later beat and starved him to death, but walked on 2nd degree assault and child endangerment.  James Lindoroff is presently doing 7 years for a murder-for-hire scheme to kill a prosecution witness during his trial.

There is no indication on the current Open Door website that it is still doing business in Canada.

After an extensive Internet search  to find what agencies today are exporting American kids, I’ve come up with nothing except for Florida.  There, it appears, but I can’t say with certainty, that Adoption by Shepherd Care, is the sending agency.

Shepherd Care had quite a Canadian business pre-Hague, (original no longer online).  According to an October 27,  2004 Christian Science Monitor article, Born in America; Adopted Abroad, 90% of the agency’s African American babies were adopted in Canada. Currently, its webpage doesn’t advertise Canadian placement services, but indicates it has a Canadian coordinator. I  found a post-Hague Shepherd Care handbook online in pdf form,, but not, as far as I can tell, from the ASC website,  It says that the agency is committed to serving Canadians who want to adopt from the US.  I can’t get a good link for this, but you can find it by searching  for “Adoption by  Shepherd Care, Canada” and clicking on “Adoption Canada.”

Finally, Christian Adoption Services, in Calgary, Alberta says that the procedure for US-Canada placements  hasvechanged drastically since the US implement the Hague, and suggests that Canadians interested in initiating a placement contact Shepherd Care:

When considering this option, always ask the US agency that you are considering, whether they have the authority to place children out of the United States.  Families have had success working with: Adoption by Shepherd Care, Inc. Florida 954-981-2060 www.adoptionshepherdcare.com  and with Adoption attorney James Fletcher Thompson 864-573-5533 jfthompson@thompsonlawfirm.net. We will update this information with other US agencies as we determine which agencies are able to assist Albertan families.

This may all be moot soon, since the State of Florida is attempting to shut down Shepherd Care. after complaints were filed over coercive behavior against birthparents.

None of this,though explains South Carolina or the Netherlands.or those odd placements in Ireland.As for Texas, Gladeny admitted years ago that is places in Europe.

I put some feelers out to people who follow these things.  None of them had any idea who’s running  kids, but I did get a couple leads.  It will take awhile to dig, so in the meantime, I ‘m posting this news for informational purposes and in the hope that somebody reading this has some suggestions.

NOTE:  Currently, American children, even under the Hague agreement, can be adopted internationally, but with the consent of the biological parents only. Some children  in DOS stats may be kinship placements.  I am highly suspicious though, of 5 children being placed in Ireland out of Florida, and of course, the high number of kids general  from Florida and South Carolina.

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15 thoughts on “US Adoption’s Dirty Little Secret: US Babies Exported Worldwide

  1. Yeah, it seems more and more America is acting like a 3rd world country, when selling American babies to people in other countries.

    I had read that Christian Science Monitor article several years ago and quite frankly, I was appalled..if that is even possible, considering the appalling ways babies/children..American or otherwise, are bought and sold in America. There are some interesting bits to this article…that really brings out the baby lust that exists amongst PAPs..no matter what country the PAPs are from. What us even more insane about some American PAPs…they won’t adopt a newborn African-American baby..but will proudly proclaim they are adopting a baby from Ethiopia. Guess those Ethiopian black babies are of the exotic type, ya’know..special, versus the not so special home-grown garden variety grown in America.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/1027/p11s01-lifp.html

  2. What are the long-term legal and political ramifictions? Since anyone born or US soil automatically has US citizenship could an individual adopted to Canada later return to the US and still have natural born citizenship status (and perhaps run for president)? Now that would be a real doozey! I’m just imagining Trump and various other birthers’ heads exploding over that one.

  3. Dutch adoption organizations (used to) work with Michael S. Goldstein and Adoption Arc; I think both work in Florida. The US ‘channel’ is especially popular among gay couples, because it is their only option to adopt for them. They pay roughly twice as much as US couples for a kid (calculations on my blog: http://dewereldisvaniedereen.blogspot.com/2011/12/nederlanders-betalen-de-hoofdprijs.html (in Dutch). The Dutch Vice Minister, pushed by the gay community, relaxed the The Hague regulations to allow this to happen, unfortunately (subsidiarity, contact birth parents, revocation period). An MP asked him a question about this, bus he has not answered yet. The adoption organizations that do business with the US are called A New Way and Nederlandse Adoptiestichting.

  4. Canadian here. I believe that most adoptions to Canada are via ASC. I can think of agencies in British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario that work with ASC.

  5. Excellent digging here. Sometimes I feel like the whole world is undergoing a shift. Born in the US of A? Off to the Netherlands for a “kinning” process with a Dutch family. Born in Nepal? China? Let’s see where you should go…hmmm…how about Brooklyn?

  6. Your chart makes no reference to Texas, where certain attorney-owned adoption “outfits” (aka baby brokers) have been exporting Texas-born babies for years because their European and Mexican clientele pay top-dollar for both white and brown babies. There’s something wrong with places that charge “supersized” fees for foreigners just because they can get away with it (and because state licensing officials have no overview of placements that go outside national borders.)

  7. Thanks for confirming my suspicions. Also, a very interesting point made about American babies being sold to other Countries and babies from other Countries being sold to American families. I also wonder about the Citizenship as well.

  8. Ireland exported over 2,100 babies to America from 1948 to about mid 1960s. $50 each (about 3,000 Euros today). Why are the 5 babies placed in Ireland “suspicious”?

  9. BD said “The trade between the US and Canada has been brisk for years.” Indeed.
    Here’s a recent and very interesting book about Canadian babies adopted by American parents during the mid twentieth century:
    The Traffic in Babies: Cross Border Adoption and Baby-Selling Between the United States and Canada, 1930-1972 (University of Toronto Press, 2011), by Karen A. Balcom
    http://www.amazon.com/Traffic-Babies-Cross-Border-Baby-Selling-1930-1972/dp/0802096131

  10. Thanks. I’d seen this book’s title around, but it didn’t register that this is Karen’s book, which I’be been looking forward to. duh? I put it on my Amazon wish list and Goodreads.

  11. Hi, I see that the Florida outbound adoptions to other countries is continuing. But, at least one of the agencies involved seems to be placing kids who aren’t being adopted domestically. Any idea what’s happening with the outbound US adoptions these days?

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