In an era of reform: A review of social work literature on intercountry adoption

Karen Smith Rotabi, Kelley Mc Creery Bunkers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Intercountry adoption (ICA) is a relatively common practice. Since its contemporary conception during the Second World War, approximately one million children have been adopted internationally. Controversy surrounding ICA includes ideas about human rights and notions of child rescue in the context of major reform to prevent child sales and abduction under the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. Social work, as a discipline, is a central player in ICA practices, and at least, one historian asserts that social work academic literature is scant on the topic of problematic practice and reforms. A review of the social work literature was conducted, and four thematic areas emerged in the 87 manuscripts reviewed: (a) social policy; (b) exploitation, social justice, ethics, and human rights; (c) clinical perspectives to include identity, child development, and family transition; and (d) child welfare practices. Results indicate a small but robust body of social work literature, and highlights are presented as well as analysis indicating methodical trends.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalSAGE Open
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Cultural studies
  • International migration
  • Social structure
  • Social work
  • Sociology of race and ethnicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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