Writers@Grinnell: Mark Montgomery & Irene (Tinker) Powell

February 01, 2018

4:15 p.m., Thursday, February 8, 2018

Mark Montgomery, professor of economics and Donald Wilson Professor of Enterprise and

Writers@Grinnell
 Leadership along with Irene (Tinker) Powell, professor of economics, will read from their newly published book, Saving International Adoption: An Argument From Economics and Personal Experience, as part of the Writers@Grinnell series at Grinnell College.  The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, February 8, in Faulconer Gallery, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

International adoption is in a state of virtual collapse, rates having fallen by more than half 

Saving International Adoption book cover
since 2004 and continuing to fall. Yet around the world millions of orphaned and vulnerable children need permanent homes, and thousands of American and European families are eager to take them in. Many government officials, international bureaucrats, and social commentators claim these adoptions are not “in the best interests” of the child. They claim that adoption deprives children of their “birth culture,” threatens their racial identities, and even encourages widespread child trafficking. Celebrity adopters are publicly excoriated for stealing children from their birth families.

This book argues that opposition to adoption ostensibly based on the wellbeing of the child is often a smokescreen for protecting national pride. Concerns about the harm done by transracial adoption are largely inconsistent with empirical  evidence. As for trafficking, opponents of international adoption want to shut it down because it is too much like a market for children. But this book offers a radical challenge to this view — that is, what if instead of trying to suppress market forces in international adoption, we embraced them so they could be properly regulated? What if the international system functioned more like open adoption in the United States, where birth and adoptive parents can meet and privately negotiate the exchange of parental rights? This arrangement, the authors argue, could eliminate the abuses that currently haunt international adoption.

  - Vanderbilt University Press