Intercountry Adoption in Italy and the United States: Divergent Approaches to Privatization, Discrimination and Subsidiarity
Barbara Bennett Woodhouse
Emory University School of Law; University of Florida - Levin College of Law
Adoption in Comparative Perspective, Maria Donata Panforti, ed., Mucchi Editorim, 2013, Forthcoming
Emory Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-233
Italy and the U.S. have different histories and cultures but share many common values and their laws on intercountry adoption reflect both similarities and differences. Often, the different paths taken by the laws and policies of the two countries lead to the same end result – the placement of a child who needs parents with loving parents who long for children. However, especially in regard to private adoption, race and subsidiarity, the two systems display rather different philosophies. While the U.S. and Italy both have laws regulating adoption, they differ in their attitudes towards the role of the state in adoption transactions. Italy does not permit independent or private adoption, a practice that is commonplace in many U.S. jurisdicitions. While both countries condemn racial or ethnic discrimination in adoption, they approach this value from different perspectives and implement it in different ways. Italy prohibits propsective adoptive parents from discriminating in their choice of child while the U.S. prohibits state agencies from discriminating in their choice of parent. While both countries attempt to assure the well-being of the adopted child, Italian adoption law incorporates principles of subsidiarity and solidarity that stress improving general conditions for vulnerable children in other countries, with a goal of reducing the need for intercountry adoption.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 13
Keywords: adoption, children's rights, subsidiarity, comparative family law, Italian law, race and adoption, Hague Adoption Convention, UN Convention on Rights of the Child
Date posted: December 4, 2012 ; Last revised: January 17, 2013
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