Intercountry Adoption: Policies, Practices and Outcomes (Foreword)

Fronek, P. (2012). Foreword. In J. L. Gibbons & K. S. Rotabi (Eds.), Intercountry Adoption: Policies, Practices and Outcomes (pp. xxv - xxvi). UK: Ashgate.

Posted: 20 Jul 2012 Last revised: 14 Feb 2015

See all articles by Patricia Fronek

Patricia Fronek

Griffith University - School of Human Services and Social Work

Date Written: July 19, 2012


Intercountry adoption is a contested arena. While competing discourses characterize this controversial field, there is no doubt that its practice primarily affects the lives of birth families and their children followed by that of adoptive and prospective adoptive parents across the globe. Perhaps the most powerful critiques concerning the impact of intercountry adoptions emanate from adoptees themselves. As the doors of source countries open and close and the numbers of children adopted internationally are declining, debates concerning intercountry adoption are gaining momentum forcing the attention of governments. The views of adoptees and birth parents can now be heard while at the same time the demand from prospective adopters is not diminishing nor is the influence of intercountry adoption proponents on the practice.

Social workers are at the center of these controversies and subjected to competing pressures whether their practice is in policy making, child relinquishment, assessment or family support services. An understanding of these tensions and a critical perspective are central to social work, not only in terms of competent and safe practices but perhaps more importantly to question assumptions and to ensure social work values and ethics are not subsumed by singular perspectives and the economic and political priorities that weigh heavily on practice. Knowledge concerning intercountry adoption has exploded in the last two decades. Consequently, social workers and students are compelled to look beyond adopter subjectivities to include the multiple and competing influences on intercountry adoption that include abuses, structural inequalities, disadvantage and vested interests.

A range of perspectives informed by research and at times divergent philosophical positions comprise this timely book. Intercountry adoption scholars in the fields of social work, psychology, law, education, cultural studies and demography offer new knowledge, contemporary debates and critical perspectives on policies, practices, birth parent and adoptee experiences, and developmental outcomes. Intercountry adoption is truly a multidisciplinary field. Yet, it is one where social workers can, should, and are increasingly exercising leadership and influencing policies, practices, and current and future directions. Debates and critical perspectives found within this book provide social workers and students with an understanding of the issues dominating intercountry adoption today. This edited volume is exciting, in that, its scope is not limited to receiving countries. Rather, issues of human rights abuses and child trafficking and perspectives from Cambodia, El Salvador, the Marshall Islands, Romania, Guatemala, China, South Korea, South Africa and Ethiopia provide a more complex picture than ……..

Keywords: intercountry adoption, social work

Suggested Citation

Fronek, Patricia, Intercountry Adoption: Policies, Practices and Outcomes (Foreword) (July 19, 2012). Fronek, P. (2012). Foreword. In J. L. Gibbons & K. S. Rotabi (Eds.), Intercountry Adoption: Policies, Practices and Outcomes (pp. xxv - xxvi). UK: Ashgate., Available at SSRN:

Patricia Fronek (Contact Author)

Griffith University - School of Human Services and Social Work ( email )

Parklands Drive
Gold Coast, QLD 4222
61 (0) 7 55529345 (Phone)
61 (0) 7 55528562 (Fax)


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