New film seeks to raise awareness about obstacles to international adoption

According to statistics from the State Department, U.S. residents completed 8,668 international adoptions in 2012, including 2,697 adoptions from China, 1,568 adoptions from Ethiopia, and 395 adoptions from the Ukraine. While these may seem like altogether promising figures, consider that just eight years prior U.S. residents completed nearly 23,000 international adoptions.

What exactly is behind this staggering drop in the number of international adoptions?

According to experts, much of the decline can be traced to the passage of stricter adoption laws in foreign nations coupled with a relative lack of action on the part of U.S. officials.

To illustrate, Haiti passed new rules last November banning private international adoptions altogether and requiring prospective parents to work with government-approved agencies, while South Korea passed a law last August mandating that all international adoptions must be approved by the Family Court system. Furthermore, as we discussed in detail on our blog, Russia banned all adoptions by U.S. parents in December.

Interestingly, the nonprofit group Both Ends Burning has produced a new documentary entitled “Stuck” that is designed to raise awareness about the bureaucratic quagmire that accompanies most international adoptions and its effect on would-be U.S. parents.

“The purpose of the tour and film is to help the average person understand the steep decline in and issues surrounding international adoption and create a movement that will ultimately put pressure on U.S. and foreign officials to focus on the children and reach agreement on a more supportive and compassionate attitude toward international adoptions,” said Craig Juntunen, the founder of the group.

In Stuck, the adoption stories of four children from Ethiopia, Haiti and Vietnam are profiled against the backdrop of a more general discussion about the conditions in which millions of children waiting for international adoption live, and the obstacles that prospective U.S. parents must overcome.

Both Ends Burning is currently taking the film on a 60-city tour over the next two months, holding Q&A sessions after each screening and sponsoring speaking engagements with the help of local organizations. The group recently made five stops in Texas, including right here in Forth Worth.

Stay tuned for more from our family law blog …

To learn more about adoption rights, child custody, visitation or grandparents’ rights, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


The Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Documentary explores decline in international adoptions,” Tammie Smith, Feb. 28, 2013