Saving international adoption – American Enterprise Institute


Event Summary

On Friday, AEI’s Naomi Schaefer Riley hosted a discussion with Irene Powell and Mark Montgomery from Grinnell College and Jedd Medefind from the Christian Alliance for Orphans. Dr. Powell and Dr. Montgomery began by deconstructing popular myths and objections surrounding international adoption. They explained that many countries ban or reduce international adoption for political reasons rather than protecting the interests of vulnerable children. They also presented a proposal to encourage more contact between adoptive parents and biological families.

Mr. Medefind then described the trade-offs between delivering local aid to distressed areas and promoting international adoption, noting that both efforts are needed but adoption can be a timely solution for children outside the protection of family. He hopes that America’s deep commitment to the ideal of family will be fully expressed by the US State Department.

During the moderated discussion, Ms. Riley asked the panelists to expand on the cultural issues raised by international adoption critics and their personal experiences adopting children from other countries. During the audience Q&A, the relationship between levels of international adoption and domestic adoption was explored. Dr. Montgomery commented that high levels of international adoption can actually encourage more people to adopt domestically.

— William Kessler

Event Description

International adoption has fallen by about 80 percent since its peak in 2004. Around the world, millions of orphaned and vulnerable children need safe, permanent homes. Yet many governmental officials, international bureaucrats, and social commentators claim that international adoption deprives children of their “birth culture,” threatens their racial identity, and even leads to child trafficking.

In their new book, “Saving International Adoption: An Argument from Economics and Personal Experience” (Vanderbilt University Press, 2018), Mark Montgomery and Irene Powell argue that the empirical evidence contradicts these claims and that this opposition to international adoption is often a smokescreen for protecting national pride.

Please join AEI as Dr. Montgomery and Dr. Powell present the findings from their book. Jedd Medefind, president of the Christian Alliance for Orphans, will also discuss the policy and cultural implications of the decline in international adoption for religious communities.

Join the conversation on social media with @AEI on Twitter and Facebook.


Agenda

11:45 AM
Registration and lunch

12:00 PM
Introduction:
Naomi Schaefer Riley, AEI

12:10 PM
Presentation:
Mark Montgomery, Grinnell College
Irene Powell, Grinnell College

12:35 PM
Remarks:
Jedd Medefind, Christian Alliance for Orphans

12:45 PM
Discussion

Participants:
Jedd Medefind, Christian Alliance for Orphans
Mark Montgomery, Grinnell College
Irene Powell, Grinnell College

Moderator:
Naomi Schaefer Riley, AEI

1:15 PM
Q&A

1:30 PM
Adjournment




Mark Montgomery is the Donald L. Wilson Professor of Enterprise and Leadership at Grinnell College, where he teaches education economics, environmental economics, and mathematical economics. He is coauthor with Irene Powell of “Saving International Adoption: An Argument from Economics and Personal Experience” (Vanderbilt University Press, 2018) and “Theoretically Dead (New Victoria Publishers, 2001). He received a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1982

Jedd Medefind is the president of the Christian Alliance for Orphans. Previously, he served in the White House as a special assistant to President George W. Bush, leading the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. In this role, Mr. Medefind oversaw the incorporation of faith-based groups as partners in federal efforts to aid those in need, such as prisoners reentering society. He is the author of several books, including “Becoming Home: Adoption, Foster Care and Mentoring—Living out God’s Heart for the Orphan” (Zondervan, 2013).

Irene Powell is an economics professor at Grinnell College, where she teaches development economics, health economics, and gender economics. Her research focuses on childcare, gender discrimination, and the income distributional effects of monopoly. Previously, Dr. Powell worked in the human resources section of the Government Accountability Office as an economic policy analyst. She is coauthor with Mark Montgomery of “Saving International Adoption: An Argument from Economics and Personal Experience” (Vanderbilt University Press, 2018) and the economics mystery novel “Theoretically Dead” (New Victoria Publishers, 2001). She received a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1985.

Naomi Schaefer Riley is a resident fellow at AEI, where she focuses on child welfare and foster care issues. Specifically, her work analyzes the role of faith-based, civic, and community organizations in changing the foster care and adoption services landscape. She also studies how socioeconomic factors affect foster care placement and services and the impact of the opioid crisis on child welfare. She is concurrently a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum.





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