How the world has changed. This article will “rock your assumptions” of the flow of international adoptions.
Revising transnational #adoption tropes – US birth mothers seek to place babies overseas (remarkable story, via CNN) http://t.co/oUUqMZkECM
— AfterTheState (@AfterTheState) October 7, 2013
While the number of international adoptions is plummeting — largely over questions surrounding the origin of children put up for adoption in developing countries — there is one nation from which parents abroad can adopt a healthy infant in a relatively short time whose family history and medical background is unclouded by doubt: The United States.
“I thought it was so strange. I’m here in Holland and they’re telling me I can get a baby” from the U.S., recalled Elisa’s father, Bart van Meurs, who originally planned to adopt from China or Colombia but held little hope of receiving an infant. “This can’t be true.” But less than 18 months later, van Meurs and his wife Heleene were at an Indiana hospital holding four-day-old Elisa.
While the typical tale of international adoption is U.S. families adopting a child from abroad, foreign families like the van Meurs adopt scores of U.S. children each year. The numbers are far lower than the thousands of overseas children adopted each year by U.S. families, but over the past decade the number of U.S. children adopted by foreign parents has been steadily rising — and almost all of the children are of African American descent like Elisa, say attorneys who facilitate international adoptions.
Of course to adopt a baby born in the U.S. is to bring a U.S. person into the family. An adoption agency in BC has warned about the dangers of adopting babies born in the U.S.!
@AfterTheState US mothers place babies overseas for #adoption but #FBAR + #FATCA = trouble http://t.co/dibyTIERk1 http://t.co/vLEtVf3HEO
— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) October 7, 2013
The vast majority of the people abroad adopting babies from the US don’t have a clue. It’s a ticking time bomb for them, as it was for so many of us. The agencies in the US aren’t giving them a heads up either. I wrote to several of them many months back about it. I guess they don’t feel the necessity in disclosing this ‘birth defect’.
Dutch law does not normally allow dual citizenship by those naturalizing, i.e., the naturalizing person must give up his/her non-Dutch citizenship to become Dutch. However, according to this Dutch law firm’s website, children adopted from abroad who subsequently naturalize may or may not retain their original citizenship depending on the law of the originating country. Here’s a translation of the article’s relevant paragraph:
Finally, on the reverse situation: may adopted children retain their own nationality after adoption? The Dutch state has absolutely no influence on the diplomatic level. The answer to that question depends on the nationality law of the country in which the child is coming from. Children from Brazil, for example, do not lose Brazilian citizenship by adoption. That’s because Brazilian nationality allows it. China does not recognize dual citizenship causing Chinese children who are adopted by Dutch parents to lose their Chinese citizenship. Therefore, unfortunately, no fruitful dialogue about maintaining their original nationality can be engaged in with the Dutch authorities.”
In a nutshell, the American children adopted by Dutch would retain their US citizenship even after naturalizing in the Netherlands since this would be governed by US rather than Dutch law.
Something to submit as a SAMS report to the Taxpayer Advocate. This is a systemic issue. Consider that to adopt a baby from the US, a Canadian family with no existing US tax obligation, would be responsible for reporting while that adoptee was a minor. If they were to try and use an RESP, someone would have to be doing that reporting. Same with a TFSA. If they were to receive disability grants or benefits, those would be US taxable. The child could not renounce until deemed competent to do so. As we know, if the child became an adult deemed mentally/intellectually competent, they could never renounce. Thus creating yet another barrier to that child being adopted from abroad.
Why would it be in US interests to handicap a US baby who needed a family by burdening them with complex and costly US tax and asset reporting burdens for life? The US is already not really able or willing to help that child. Why get in the way of assisting someone else to do so?
I can’t imagine even a homelander asserting that a child being adopted into a foreign country should be made to ‘pay their fair share’. Adoptees could be used as a good basis of comparison to accidentals and citizens registered abroad in this regard.
Making it about kittens and puppies would go a long way for us!
Badger — You’ve aptly defined yet another layer of entrapment by US citizenship for a child born in the US, adopted by a family in another country, but one who also has a ‘mental incapacity’ like a developmental disability. Many of these adopted children will have developmental disabilities, some due to environmental reasons in their young mothers trapped into US poverty. Their children that are being adopted are indeed lucky to have a second chance — too bad the US citizenship follows them.
@bubblebustin – I had forgotten about the ‘puppies and kittens’ approach! Thanks. I think we should revisit that, and the Canadian grannies theme (ala US Ambassador Jacobson’s promises that he and the IRS were not unreasonable or unsympathetic).
Maybe some ‘I am not a Myth’ signs need puppies and kittens styling? Or a sign that asks why adopted US babies living in Canada, Canadian born children (of a US parent), Canadian citizen minors and Canadians with disabilities who have RDSPs and Canadian disability grants or benefits should be tapped to pay off the US deficit?
Maybe we could counter Robert Stack’s claim and counter the MYTH that those living in Canada and the rest of the world should owe the US anything:
We’ll tell you what isn’t a myth –
It is NOT a myth that the US is tapping Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents to pay down the irresponsible US debt
It is NOT a myth that the US taxes the disability savings (RDSPs) of Canadian citizens and residents.
It is NOT a myth that the US taxes the education savings (RESPs) of Canadian children – citizens and residents.
It is NOT a myth that the US taxes the Canadian earned savings in our TFSAs.
It is NOT a myth that the current Canada US tax treaty allows for US extraterritorial taxation:
on our Canadian home, our EI, Maternity benefits, Disability grants,….
It is NOT a myth that the new Obamacare investment tax applies to Canadians.
@calgary411 – we have so much information that proves that the US is willing to overlook ANY amount of egregious ‘unintended’ consequences in pursuit of their quest for a free lunch at the expense of the rest of the world.
Yes, those adopted U.S. born babies are “Trojan Horses”. Sooner or later they will be used to make the Dutch pay for the Homelanders.
It’s time to simply acknowledge that because Homelanders don’t pay their fair share, the citizens of other countries should support Homelanders. But, surely this is “right, just and equitable”. Sooner or later the world should read the writing of a great American author by the name of Thoreau. It’s called “Civil Disobedience”. Does the Homeland seriously expect that the rest of the world should pay to support Homelanders?
Of course the key to preventing problems for these adoptive parents and their babies is knowledge, something US adoption agencies and lawyers have not been forthcoming with, apparently. Knowledge will allow adoptive parents to take preemptive action, like arranging for the baby to be born in their country or knowing the child can take a pass on US citizenship when he’s 18 . There is nothing the IRS likes more than the element of surprise, however! In the case of adopting US babies, caveat emptor!
A thoughtful read on the seedy side of American “outgoing” adoptions, part of it which is the conflicting numbers of children believed to be adopted to other countries:
“How can the numbers be so disparate within just one year of one another? Is it just two dozen or several hundred? Either way, it is a very small number in comparison to the thousands of children adopted into the US, but the question remains why there should be any at all.
In order to answer that, it is important to understand that infant adoption in the US is privatized and adoption agencies and practitioners – for profit or not-for-profit – are entrepreneurial ventures that do what is best for their bottom line.”
The author would like American babies to remain in the US. I know of one thing she doesn’t mention that will curtail the export of US babies quicker than you can say waaah!
The DoS/ Bureau of Consular Affairs website lists the number of American children who have been adopted abroad (Fiscal years), according to their records:
The 2013 CNN article, however, notes that the DoS figures are only from “certain” adoption agencies and do not include those adopted from US foster homes and other sources. Numbers of incoming US adoptions by receiving countries are much higher:
“Reliable data on overseas adoptions of American children is hard to come by. Last year (2012) the U.S. State Department officially reported that 99 American children were adopted by foreign families. But the real number is almost certainly higher, said Peter Selman, an expert on international adoption at Newcastle University in the U.K. who acts as a statistical adviser to the U.N. body that oversees international adoptions.
For example, in 2010 the U.S. State Department counted only 43 U.S. kids who were adopted overseas, but the same year five countries — Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Ireland — reported adoptions of 205 children born in the U.S., Selman said. According to statistics by receiving countries, there were 126 U.S. children adopted overseas in 2004, steadily rising to 315 in 2009. ”
“The State Department’s system for tracking international adoptions only includes reports from certain adoption providers, such as those accredited under an international treaty known as the Hague Convention, a spokesperson said. Other adoptions involving U.S. children, like those completed through the foster care system, are not counted. “In order to address that shortcoming, we have increased our outreach efforts to encourage receiving countries and public domestic authorities to report the outgoing adoption information to us,” State Department spokesperson Elizabeth Finan said by email.”
2009 Outgoing Adoptions
US government statistics: 26
Actual statistics reported by other governments: 315 (!)
Although I would not claim that the under-reporting of outgoing US adoptions is intentional, it does seem rather convenient.
2013 CNN article:
Official US government outgoing adoption statistics are in the annual reports at this link:
@bubblebustin: The low number of outward adoptions from the USA may include surrogacy cases and inter-family adoptions, as by grandparents following the death of a child’s parents. The U.S. is one of a handful of countries that allow surrogacy. Where the birth occurs abroad, the State Dept. requires DNA proof of biological parentage for U.S. nationality to be accorded: a number of U.S. parents, especially in Israel, have been confounded by this requirement. Problems arranging local citizenship for adoptive surrogate infants brought to the UK and France has been discussed in the local press.