OP-ED: How Will the Trump Presidency Affect US International Adoptions?

It’s possible that international adoptions will be the next program on the Trump Administration's international-scale chopping block. Photo (c) Public Radio International 2017It’s possible that international adoptions will be the next program on the Trump Administration's international-scale chopping block. Photo (c) Public Radio International 2017

The public has been speculating how the Trump presidency will affect different groups since before the November 2016 election. However, one topic that hasn’t really been addressed is how the president’s behavior and policy will affect international adoption, particularly involving Mexican and other minority children.

Many people choose to adopt internationally because it is less expensive and often easier than domestic adoption.

However, with the sheer xenophobia that appears to be permeating the White House, will international adoptions continue to be an option or will they become impossible as Trump gets more policies in place?

Racism in the White House?

Photo (c) El Pais 2017

While he hasn’t yet built a wall between the United States and Mexico, invisible walls to certain international programs are rising. Photo (c) El Pais 2017

President Trump’s entire campaign has – to many perspectives domestic and abroad – seemingly been built on a foundation of racism. Such ranges from his stances on Mexicans (calling the entire population drug dealers and rapists) to Muslims and individuals from Muslim-dominant countries (specifically, the travel ban which we’ll discuss more in a moment).

While he hasn’t yet built a wall between the United States and Mexico, the apparent negative rhetoric being flung around by those in the White House could make it much more difficult for parents looking to adopt children from outside the United States.

The judgment doesn’t just come from the White House and people in power — it can come from anyone. International adoption can spark negative responses from the people around you, especially if your newly adopted child happens to have a different skin color than yours. They might ask why you’re adopting from another country when there are so many children in the United States foster care system, or they may throw racist comments your way.

Thus, does the racism stemming from the most powerful man in the country validate the racist feelings and behaviors that have been surging since Trump was elected? It appears that seeing their negative behavior reflected in the President of the United States somehow makes it okay for these people to flaunt their racist behaviors. Yet pivitol ethical questions remain.

Travel Ban and Beyond

Photo (c) Washington Times 2017

Beyond Latin America, the ban on Syrian refugees could leave the children orphaned by the brutal fighting in Syria without a home, or even the hope of one. Photo (c) Washington Times 2017

In spite of such strict rhetoric, Trump confirmed that his anti-Muslim travel laws are, in fact, a travel ban. Thankfully, state governments have been stepping in to block these unconstitutional bans every time they make it across the president’s desk, but no one has addressed the question of the impact these bans could have on international adoption.

Banning travel for Muslims could prevent adoptions from the majority of countries where Islam is the dominant religion. The ban on Syrian refugees could leave the children orphaned by the brutal fighting in Syria without a home, or even the hope of one.

Will the ban one day expand to refugee minors from Central American conflict-zones, as well? Only time will tell.

Overall, Trump’s original travel ban was also found to disregard countries that could present a possible threat, simply because of his business dealings within the country.

Adoption = Pre-Existing Condition?

Photo (c) El Ciudadano 2015

Insurance companies could consider an adoption in progress as a pre-existing condition and use that as a reason to either deny coverage or charge massively higher premiums, possibly putting them out of the reach of the average family. Photo (c) El Ciudadano 2015

This is a piece about international adoption, but the healthcare bill bears mentioning for one reason — if the protection for individuals with pre-existing conditions is removed, it could prevent adoptive parents from obtaining coverage for their new children.

In fact, insurance companies could consider an adoption in progress as a pre-existing condition and use that as a reason to either deny coverage or charge massively higher premiums, possibly putting them out of the reach of the average family.

This threat may have been mitigated for now, with the new rewrite of the healthcare bill going up for a vote soon. However, with the secretive nature of the bill and the fact that the politicians were refusing to release the text of the bill until they were basically forced to, it’s possible that this threat could still remain, influencing those within and beyond the United States.

Contemplating the Big Picture

Photo (c) The New York Times 2016

Many believe that the Trump Administration has been everything except welcoming, in spite of the fact that our great country is, at its heart, a melting pot of different cultures, religions and experiences. Photo (c) The New York Times 2016

From this perspective, many believe that Trump Administration has been everything except welcoming. Such comes in spite of the fact that our great country is, at its heart, a melting pot of different cultures, religions and experiences. While he hasn’t specifically made any overtures that could directly prevent international adoptions, the air of ambient racism and xenophobia that starts at the White House is trickling down.

If left unchecked, or if the president is allowed to continue validating racist and violent behavior, it’s possible that international adoptions will be the next program on the chopping block, or it could even become dangerous for the adoptive parents.

This may be the worst case scenario, but it’s difficult to look at the state of the White House and the current administration without worrying about the impact that this will have on our children, both here and abroad.