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Resource ID: #28966
Subject: Adoption Process
Source: John Hill
Affiliation: Civil Beat
Date: 2019-12-16



The series investigated illicit adoptions of babies born to mothers from the Marshall Islands. Almost two decades ago, Marshall Islands law and a treaty between the island nation and the U.S. were amended to crack down on exploitative adoptions. The reforms required all international adoptions to go through a government agency in the Marshall Islands to assure that women understood the nature of U.S. adoptions, which are in stark contrast to Marshallese customs of informal child-sharing. Our investigation found that a handful of U.S. lawyers flout the law and treaty, flying women to the U.S. for adoption, opening the door to the same abuses the reforms were meant to address. Authorities from immigration agents in the Marshall Islands to U.S. judges and hospital workers know the adoptions are illegal and exploitative but fail to do anything to stop them.
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