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International Adoption: Thoughts on the Human Rights Issues

Buffalo Human Rights Law Review, Vol. 13, p. 152, 2007

Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 07-19

54 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2007 Last revised: 11 Jun 2009

Elizabeth Bartholet

Harvard Law School

Abstract

This article discusses the human rights debate at the core of current controversy over international adoption. Many powerful children's human rights organizations, including UNICEF, take the position that such adoption should be restricted if not eliminated, based on ideas about heritage rights and the related significance of keeping children within their country of origin. They have had a major impact on policy in recent years, resulting in the closing down of international adoption from many countries. This article takes the position that children's most important human rights include the right to grow up in a nurturing family, and that international adoption is able to offer significant numbers of children the permanent homes they need and will not find in their countries of origin. It discusses the history and current trends in such adoption, recent legal developments, the politics and policy pros and cons, and reform directions for the future.

Suggested Citation

Bartholet, Elizabeth, International Adoption: Thoughts on the Human Rights Issues. Buffalo Human Rights Law Review, Vol. 13, p. 152, 2007; Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 07-19. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1024272

Elizabeth Bartholet (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

Hauser Hall 422
1563 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
(617) 495-3128 (Phone)
(617) 496-4947 (Fax)

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