My son taps my shoulder for the umpteenth time. Without paying much attention I pass the syrup again. He’s had way too many pancakes for a typical morning, but we’re on retreat in the mountains and I know today’s breakfast will be followed by a long hike. “Mommmeeeeee,” he says again, his shoulder taps getting sharper, “Look. Look!” I turn around to see what my son has spent half of breakfast staring at. In the next room sits two long tables of high-school girls, all Chinese, with their white mothers. “They’re just like us!” my son exclaims, “But with no boys!”
I consider my son’s closest friends. All adopted from China, our trio of boys share a common history like the teenage daughters in the next room. Our boys were “waiting children with special needs” just as the girls, as one mother later tells me, were part of China’s “lost daughters.” A look at the top 5 intercountry adoption nations from 2004-2016 shows how changes in country policy affect international adoption. Changes may come from revised adoption policies, to political disputes and domestic unrest, to answering a call for increased international standards.