University of Worcester Psychologist to Join the International Forum on Intercountry Adoption and Global Surrogacy at The Hague

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A leading psychologist at the University of Worcester has called for more research into children adopted from one country to another.

In recent years there have been a number of high profile celebrity cases of intercountry adoptions, including Angelina Jolie and Madonna. But not enough is known about the effects on children adopted out of their native country, according to Dr Gabriela Misca.

Dr Misca, Senior Lecturer in Developmental Psychology, has been invited to contribute to the International Forum on Intercountry Adoption and Global Surrogacy at The Hague this summer. It follows her keynote address to the New Zealand Law Society Conference, “International Adoption and Surrogacy - family formation in the 21st Century” in April.

“Over the past decades, international adoption has become a global phenomenon involving cross-border movement of vulnerable children, mainly from poor, undeveloped countries to wealthier countries,” she said.       

“Much of this increase has been linked to major social and political changes; for example, over the past decade, China has emerged as the major source of children worldwide resulting from its ‘one child policy’, and in the 1990s there was a peak in adoptions of children from Eastern European countries, following the fall of the communist regimes.”

Dr Misca said that intercountry adoptions were often criticised because adopted children’s identities were lost and replaced by a new name and new nationality.

“There is a distinct gap in research exploring the issues of openness in intercountry adoption, particularly in light of easier channels of communications afforded by social media and the internet,” she added.

“The changing global landscape in which intercountry adoption currently operates may aid to remove some of its stigmatising connotations and further research on the outcomes for internationally adopted children is highly relevant for both policy and practice.”

Dr Tim Jones, Head of Psychological Sciences at the University of Worcester, said: “Dr Misca's important research is central in focusing on the impact increased globalization has for families across the world and in doing so addresses a key criticism of the ethnocentricity of psychological research.”

Dr Misca will be joining a group of worldwide experts on intercountry adoption and global surrogacy that will convene at The Hague, Netherlands, on 11-13 August 2014. The objective of the forum is to produce a body of knowledge that will inform the work of the Hague Conference as they move forward with implementation of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption at the next Special Commission in 2015.