The Diffusion of Intercountry Adoption: Learning in the Global System
McBride, Rebecca Ann
The number of children adopted into families that do not share their race, ethnicity, and national origin has steadily increased as families in developed states have turned to foreign countries for children to adopt. I study intercountry adoption and the political factors that shape the flow of children across borders. My dissertation addresses the foundational question of my research agenda: Why would a state allow foreigners to adopt its vulnerable children, and what explains the timing of such decisions across the international system? I argue that the spread of intercountry adoption is a process of policy diffusion: states learn from the experience of other states that intercountry adoption is an effective solution for domestic child welfare problems. I show how the domestic political, economic, religious, and demographic characteristics of states shape the likelihood that they will learn from the experience of other states that allow intercountry adoption, as well as how states learn from each other the most effective cooperative frameworks for exchanging children through intercountry adoption.