Journal of Global Social Work Practice, Volume 3, Number 1, May/June 2010
Vulnerable Children in the Aftermath of Haiti’s Earthquake of 2010: A Call for Sound Policy and Processes to Prevent International Child Sales and Theft
The January 2010 earthquake, which devastated the small island nation of Haiti, leaving at least 200,000 dead and countless children vulnerable and orphaned, poses serious ethical challenges for social workers. In the face of child trafficking allegations being made against a faith-based group from the USA, discourse about child rescue versus abduction is a challenge. Intercountry adoption is discussed from a historical and contemporary perspective, including human rights principles and ethical practice considerations in addition to discourse about the “best interests of the child” and relevant international agreements. Authors conclude with a critique of social work as a discipline’s response to the situation and make recommendations for Haiti’s self determination of their citizen-children’s alternative care plans.
Keywords: Intercountry adoption, Haiti, human trafficking, Hague Convention
The 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti and resulting loss of at least 200,000 lives has created many challenges when determining disaster assistance planning (Forelle, de Cordoba, & Noblet, 2010; United Nations, 2010). In the aftermath of one of the most hotly-reported cases of illegal activities and misguided disaster relief has been the attempt of a non-governmental organization, New Life Children’s Refugee Group, from Idaho to “rescue” children from Haiti and transport them to the Dominican Republic for institutional care (Thompson, 2010). Upon being turned back from the Dominican Republic border due to inadequate paperwork, the group was eventually arrested by Haitian authorities and imprisoned for a number of crimes, including child abduction and trafficking. At the time of this writing, only one of the original ten who were arrested will likely stand trial for these actions. As of March 18, 2010, all of the children were returned to their families (ABC News).
According to press reports, the group of ten US-citizens planned to take the group of 33 children to the Dominican Republic where they had converted a hotel into a home for children. Apparently, there were plans to care for the children and eventually create opportunities for intercountry adoption (ICA). Press reports further explicate that some of the children have intact families who stated that they were told that the children would receive an education in the Dominican Republic and also that they would have continued an on-going relationship with the children (Forelle et al., 2010; MSNBC, 2010; Thompson, 2010). This is an all too frequent story from impoverished families who have been defrauded in adoption schemes (Rotabi, in press; Smolin, 2004, 2006; see www.HagueEvaluation.com) and by international human trafficking standards under guidelines of the United Nations (UN, 2000), this dishonesty (false promises) is similar to the deceit used to abduct adults into the global sex and servitude trade.
This incident, while shocking for many people who viewed television reports of the earthquake and this particular arrest and incarceration of US-citizens in the island nation, sounds remarkably similar to the 2007 “Zoe’s Ark” incident in Chad wherein French charity workers attempted to evacuate children from Africa to Europe for foster care and adoption. Evidence indicated that members of Zoe’s Ark had engaged in fraudulent and illegal behaviors; including luring children away with candy, promising parents that their children were being taken to the capital for educational purposes, and bandaging children to make them appear to be in need of medical care (Bergquist, 2009; Hancock, 2007). After being sentenced to eight years of hard labor in a Chadian court on kidnapping charges, the French government intervened and the workers were extradited where their charges were commuted and ultimately dismissed following a pardon from Chadian President Idriss Déby (Bergquist, 2009; France 24, 2008).
Haiti is a small island nation which borders the Dominican Republic and has an estimated population of 9,035,536, with over 95% of the population of African descent (US Central Intelligence Agency, 2010). Originally settled by the French, the nation’s language is officially French but Creole is spoken as the common lexicon. The nation has the notorious reputation of being the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and it has been characterized by human sales since its inception beginning with slavery and in contemporary times, human trafficking into sex work and servitude. Arrangements to sell children into labor, known as “restaveks” (Creole for “stay with”), are as simple as negotiations in an open market. This common practice, which traces back to Haiti’s earliest French settlements, has historically plagued the nation as it has attempted to build a civil society (Balsari, Lemery, Williams, & Nelson, 2010). As a sovereign nation, Haiti has been independent from France since 1804, although it has struggled with issues of neo-colonialism especially as it relates to its international debt load and repayment issues prior to the earthquake (Johnson, 2009). This Afro-Caribe nation participates in the Caribbean Community, including the Caribbean Court of Justice and notably this institution appears to have thus far remained silent on the recent child abduction attempt (Caribbean Court of Justice, 2003).
Prior to the quake, there were an estimated 350,000 children living in institutions and of those only 50,000 could be considered double orphans with no living parents (Balsari et al., 2010). While the number of children sent for intercountry adoption was relatively small on a global basis, totaling only 1,299 for the top five receiving nations in 2008, the proportion of children is relatively high compared to the number of institutions in the nation (Personal communication, P. Selman, May 18, 2010). Table I. indicates sending patterns with France being the lead receiving nation, followed by USA, Canada, Netherlands, and Spain (Selman, in press).
Table I. Statistics on Top Five Receiving Nations of Haitian Adoptees, 2003-2009
Note: In 2008 there were 4.8 adoptions per 1,000 live births. Missing data in 2009 was due to the information not yet being reported at the time of this writing.
Discourse about ICA and any movement of children across international boundaries for this purpose must begin with the conception of the “best interests of the child.” International standards of child welfare, specifically adoption, rest upon this overarching principle. The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, states in its preamble that signatories agree to “take measures to ensure that intercountry adoptions are made in the best interests of the child and with respect for his or her fundamental rights, and to prevent the abduction, the sale of, or traffic in children” (Hague Conference on Private Law, 2010, p. 1). The Convention makes a priority of children remaining with their biological families or with non-relative/domestic adoptions in their own country as child protection measures prior to the child being released for ICA (Hollingsworth, 2008; Rotabi, 2008). However, this idea of the best interests of the child has received considerable debate and there are significant points of disagreement, depending on perspective (Rotabi & Gibbons, 2009). In fact, it can be a rather ambiguous concept used to justify any decision made about child custody and adoption. Its intended application, from a legal perspective, is on a case-by-case basis (Liss & McKinley-Pace, 1999). However, contemporary ICA discussion and debate tends to promote broad and sweeping generalizations about the best interests of children in developing nations, the most vulnerable group in the world and often living in extreme poverty. In this discourse, there are inherent mistakes in this approach which is fraught with ethical dilemmas.
One cannot fully embrace the conception of the best interests of the child without the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and its relevant articles related to child rights and alternative care (Andrews & Kaufman, 1999). The articles most related to this discourse are presented in Table II. Those articles underscore the conception of cultural heritage and the child’s right to be reared by his or her family. Additionally, government obligations to protect children from illegal separations and adoptions are covered. Haiti has signed the CRC and while the nation, like many others, has not fully implemented the Convention, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has a mission in Haiti and its daily operations include capacity building for child welfare systems and, in the immediate post-quake environment, the most basic services like tents and clean water are the priority (UNICEF, 2010).
One of the most vocal proponents of ICA is legal scholar Elizabeth Bartholet who openly criticizes the CRC and frequently discusses the need for expediency in ICA to prevent children from languishing in institutions. To emphasize her views she characterized child trafficking by means of “kidnapping or baby buying” as a “tiny part of the larger picture…[and] very unfortunate” (Bartholet, 2005, p. 1). Bartholet made these comments in Guatemala City at the Focus on Adoption Conference where her remarks were entitled “In the best interests of children: A permanent family.” In these keynote remarks, she attacked the efforts of the international community’s demand for Hague Convention-related reform in the nation stating they “…are condemning thousands on thousands of kids to life and death in the intolerable conditions typical of the world’s orphanages” (Bartholet, 2005, p. 8). Bartholet goes on to identify Guatemala in this 2005 address as “one of the best” (p. 1) ICA countries in the world. However, in her remarks she failed to truly recognize that children were at risk due to inadequate legal regulation and child trafficking at the height of Guatemala’s adoption boom and that the system was at risk for closure due to these allegations (Rotabi & Bunkers, 2008; Rotabi, 2008). A legal analysis would have indicated problems with adoption procedures and processes in the nation and Bartholet was positioned to make some recommendations for legal improvements and system-strengthening—disappointingly, in this public address, she did not take this opportunity to make any such recommendations. It should be noted that Bartholet’s views and positions have been challenged (Oreskovic & Maskew, 2009) and other scholars and advocates have since defined and presented the facts on the dire ICA circumstances in the nation.
For example, human rights advocates who are most qualified to discuss the best interests of children in Guatemala, those who are either citizens of the nation or those who have spent considerable time working on child protection issues in the nation, now agree that both child sales and theft did occur in Guatemala, although the extent to which they occurred is arguable. In a 2007 report, entitled Adoptions in Guatemala: Protection or Market? a compelling argument is put forth defining a baby market as taking place in the nation, underscoring the trend of sending infants and toddlers to the USA as adoptees. Bunkers, Groza, and Lauer (2009) describe child sales, including a detailed discussion about birth mother payments and how they were orchestrated as a form of entrapment in the child relinquishment process. Rotabi and Bunkers (2008) also made a systems analysis of the problems in the nation, including vulnerabilities for child sales. Also, Rotabi (2009) describes cases of child theft allegations and DNA fraud as a follow-up to a detailed analysis of the underlying conditions and problems in the previous or “pre-reform” Guatemalan ICA system (Rotabi, Morris, & Weil, in press). All of these authors present facts and offer recommendations which emphasize the need to protect the interests of birth families and human rights in order to meet the nation’s obligation to promote the best interests of the child.
Bartholet and others, such as practitioners in the adoption sector, have always urged more adoptions as a form of child welfare intervention, even when there is overwhelming evidence of abuse. This remains true in regards to the children of post-earthquake Haiti. In a New York Times editorial days after the child abduction for adoption scandal, Bartholet (2010) said:
There are apparently now hundreds of thousands of unparented children in Haiti — children who were living in institutions or on the streets before the earthquake, and children newly orphaned since. Their interests demand prompt action to remove them to safe places, investigate whether they have birth relatives ready to provide homes, and place them either in birth or adoptive homes…it is hypocritical to delay or shut down such adoption in the name of protecting children. The real risk of abuses occurs when unparented children are not placed for adoption (p. 1)
In this discourse, Bartholet never mentions the fact that traumatized children make greater gains psychologically when cared for in their own context, sharing language, food, and culture with their caregivers (Cohen, Mannarino, & Deblinger, 2006), even when this has been pointed out specifically as it relates to Haitian children and this particular disaster (Rotabi, 2010). In fact, she makes the classic and provocative argument about children languishing in institutions, using terms such as “orphans” and citing child death from depravation in these conditions.
In the same NY Times opinion series, Smolin (2010), an expert in child trafficking within adoption schemes (Smolin, 2004, 2006), points out that “trying to move children quickly out of a country in the aftermath of a disaster, particularly for adoption, is one of the old mistakes. International organizations have warned against it in past disasters such as the Indonesian Tsunami of 2004, just as they are doing so currently for Haiti” (p. 1). Smolin goes on to point out an obvious concern with Haiti’s central government: its inability to carry out investigations in an efficient manner. He makes the observation that Haiti was known to have serious child trafficking and corruption problems pre-earthquake.
Bartholet, Smolin, and others make important points in considering the best interests of the child and to some observers, especially those considering ICA, this discourse may appear to be high-minded or academic conceptions of what is “right” when quite obviously there is so much suffering. Many of these individuals or families, whom fuel the adoption industry with significant referral and child matching fees, often turn to the popular media for guidance. This is best illustrated by the media coverage of reports that famed actress Angelina Jolie was preparing to adopt from Haiti. She immediately denied such a report, mentioning her ongoing commitment to ICA but recognizing that “now is not the time” in a CNN report on the situation in Haiti (CNN, 2010). Similarly, famed CNN disaster reporter Anderson Cooper’s rumored adoption plans led to him making a public statement denying such claims (Advocate.com Editors, 2010). This response was in regard to misinformation that was partly fueled by Cooper’s Haiti disaster team’s befriending of a young boy displaced by the earthquake. As the group bonded with the child, apparently inquiry was made about possibilities of adoption (Personal communication, J. Aronson, March 5, 2010) and this rumor took off as the public seemed to hope for a success story amidst the chaos and otherwise depressing news stories. Eventually CNN appeared to take a lead in making a point about the reality of child adoption in the context of disaster (CNN, 2010). This discourse seemed to become a part of the national consciousness in the USA, with those interested in adoption only hearing a sound “no” when celebrities took a stance that it was inappropriate in the aftermath of disaster.
This leaves one to wonder why organizations such as International Social Service (ISS) have received comparatively little attention in the press to their position on the best interests of the child and adoption in the wake of disaster (ISS, 2010). For example, immediately following the quake, ISS released a detailed statement opening with:
International adoption should not take place in a situation of war or natural disaster, given that these events make it impossible to verify the personal and family situation of children. Any operation to adopt or to evacuate children that are victims of the earthquake to another country must be absolutely avoided. (ISS, 2010, p.1)
ISS goes on to discuss the children’s adoptions which were then in-process, making recommendations for their particular cases. ISS, like Smolin, makes the observation that Haiti’s government is not in a position—from a central government capacity standpoint—to effectively and ethically administer an adoption program and that “intercountry adoption should be suspended until the reinstallation of the administrative and judicial systems in Haiti” (p. 2). This position about Haiti being incapable of fully administrating rule of law is actually proven in the child abduction example which first brought us to this child trafficking discourse. While the early arrest is to be commended, especially given the chaos of the disaster context, ultimately justice appears to be fleeting (New York Times, 2010).
The faith-based group of ten US citizens from Idaho, whom called themselves New Life Children’s Refuge, proclaimed their work as a mission to “rescue Haitian orphans” which they determined to be in the best interests of the children (New Life Children’s Refuge, n.d., p. 1). Their conception of best interests—not as child welfare professionals but as a voluntary faith mission team—led them to attempt abduction and removal of Haitian citizen children from their birth country with clear plans to take them to an institution in a second nation, with promises for adoption in a third nation, the USA. This strategy, as they viewed to be guided by God’s will, was described in detail in the group’s planning statement which included a long-term goal of housing potential adoptive families in “villas” while they awaited legal processing of adoptions in the Dominican Republic (New Life Children’s Refuge, n.d.). While their plans and behaviors in Haiti clearly meet the definition of child abduction as identified by international child welfare and adoption standards (Hague Conference on Private International Law, 2010) and the Haitian government reacted as such in the early days, but ultimately the Haitian government lacked the capacity or will to prosecute the entire group for the crime of attempted kidnapping (New York Times, 2010). Eight of the ten individuals involved in the abduction-related activities were released and returned to the USA within two weeks of the arrests without apparent legal punishment in either nation. Shortly thereafter, a ninth person was released and at the time of this writing, the only person being held accountable is the leader of the group , and the most recent charges as of late April of 2010 are now lesser offenses than kidnapping (New York Times, 2010).
Any discussion about appropriate responses to natural and man-made disasters with regard to children must be understood within the context of best interests as articulated by professional social work and child welfare organizations; multilateral agreements such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the aforementioned Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention); and domestic legislation which includes the Trafficking Victims Reauthorization Protection Act (TVPRA).
It is crucial for national and international social work organizations to assume a leadership role, and to be recognized as experts in child welfare and disaster relief best practices to protect the best interests of children in the face of natural and man-made disasters. The global and/or international social work movement has been marked by the formation of organizations such as the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW), and the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW); organizing websites such as Planet Social Work; and scholarly journals to include the Journal of International Social Work and the Journal of Global Social Work Practice. In particular, in 2004, the IFSW and IASSW formulated Global Standards for the Education and Training of the Social Work Profession which sought to articulate an international definition of social work and the core purposes of the profession. Included in its standards is the core purpose, “[To] work towards the protection of people who are not in a position to do so themselves, for example children and youth in need of care...” (Sewpaul & Jones, 2004). Social workers find themselves on the frontline of child welfare practice, as well as influencing and formulating policy to include the development of international instruments such as the Hague Convention. Additionally, social workers play pivotal roles as “key professionals” in relief efforts (Dominelli, 2007). However, although it is incumbent on social workers as state-sanctioned protectors of children’s best interests to articulate a clear position, that role has been virtually abdicated and organizational responses have been largely ineffectual. For instance, the IFSW has taken a general position on ICA (n.d.), the organization’s (2008) response to the earthquakes in China was to post a statement on their website which describes the role of social workers as aiding in the “planning and capacity building for family and community recovery, reaching out to and assisting those who are vulnerable.” Then, in an approach to identify resources, the organization promoted web-based relief tools for the Haiti quake (IFSW, 2010). Additionally, the IASSW (2010) posted a public appeal for donations for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Both statements are not only non-responsive to the magnitude and seriousness of the human crisis in Haiti, but they are also completely void of any of the protective measures articulated by the United Nations such as allowing temporarily separated families time to reunite. At the very least, these organizations should have voiced greater concerns about the involvement of professional social workers in any form of child placement related to Haiti, providing statements of caution while informing members and the public about international social policy and standards of care.
Through all of this commotion and international discourse about the best interests of Haiti’s children, one might expect the greatest leadership from USA-based social workers given Haiti’s proximity to Florida and the immense disaster assistance effort which has been forthcoming from the USA. However, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has not taken a position or even cautioned its members against unethical child placement and adoption practices. Even when encouraged to support the position of some of its members who spoke out about children being medically evacuated from the nation and the need for database management of DNA tests (see http://www.globalsocialwork.org/vol2no2/OpenLetter.html), NASW did not respond. Their advocacy work appears to be nothing more than a link to resources of others, including statements by the Better Care Network’s Child Protection Working Group (2010) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (2010) (see http://www.socialworkers.org/practice/intl/2010/haiti020410.asp). Deferring to other organizations is ultimately a hollow response and underscores a lack of leadership in the problems of child trafficking and adoption; even though social work as a profession claims leadership in child welfare practices. This organization has an ethical code of conduct, which includes the foundational principle of self determination (NASW, 2008), yet the group has not operationalized this concept for those most devastated, the poorest people in the Western Hemisphere who are at risk of their children being removed at their most vulnerable moment in recent history.
NASW as an organization, and the discipline of social work as a whole, is well-positioned to remind everyone that only Haitians are able to determine the best interests of their children and this must be done on a case-by-case basis within the context of a functioning judiciary system. Ideally, this system will engage Haitian social workers to carry out unbiased child history investigations and report-writing with fair and ethical child placement plans honoring the best interests of their citizen-children. These reports take time and energy in a nation that must make critical resource decisions about the duties of the civil servants in the face of massive re-building efforts. As a result, it is essentially impossible to respond quickly and efficiently to this crisis and there is inevitable disappointment in this reality especially when considering the suffering of so many children and families.
Although social work organizations such as NASW and IFSW are not service providers, they are viewed as “guiding” the profession and therefore can, and should, define best practices in response to natural disasters and other events which create child welfare crises. Social workers on the front line are easily caught up in the enormity of the immediate needs and should therefore have a clearly articulated set of guidelines applicable to the situation at hand from which to practice. The International Foster Care Organisation (IFCO) provided an example of a timely and well-considered response to the question “can we foster/adopt the children?” on their website on January 16, 2010 immediately following the Haiti earthquake. The Guiding Principles prioritize preventing separation, family reunification, preference for community care over institutional care, and a moratorium on adoption during the emergency phase of recovery; and subsequently, only then when it is “determined as being in the child’s best interests and carried out in keeping with applicable national, international and customary law.” In addition to IFCO, numerous other aid and child welfare agencies, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), UNICEF, and World Vision, endorsed these guidelines which also reflect social work principles and standards embodied in NASW’s Code of Ethics. In particular, Ethical Standard 6.03 states that, “Social workers should provide appropriate professional services in public emergencies to the greatest extent possible” (emphasis added). Although “appropriate” is not defined, included in the Code’s Ethical Responsibilities to Clients is a priority on upholding clients’ rights to self-determination (Ethical Standard 1.02) and informed consent (Ethical Standard 1.03) which go to the heart of IFCO’s Guiding Principles. Self-determination for Haiti as a nation should be recognized as the only one who can and should make decisions about the best interests of its children, and for families whom, if they had the means, might choose to raise their children and, if not, from whom informed consent must be given within the legal protections of Haitian law and international conventions.
Whether working on the ground in Haiti or not, social workers have a responsibility to advocate on behalf of the vulnerable. Prior to the earthquake, Haiti was known as the Republic of NGOs (Yearwood, 2010) due its over-reliance on international aid. The recent relief efforts have brought to light the stark vulnerabilities of Haiti’s children and families, especially among the poorest individuals. Nonetheless, short-term “fixes” such as removing children, which may serve to meet the humanitarian impulses of hopeful adoptive parents or politicians, do little to solve the problem and, in fact, may compound it. Furthermore, these fixes do not reflect social work’s hallmark ethical principle of self-determination. Social workers, with the leadership of NASW, IFSW, and other professional organizations, are well-positioned to educate, advocate for, and tap into the genuine international concern for the plight of Haiti’s children by organizing efforts to increase Haiti’s capacity to rebuild, which necessarily includes protecting the most vulnerable. Harvard University’s Center for Health and Human Rights (Balsari et. al, 2010) conducted a multisite rapid assessment of child-protection needs in which they identified the improvement of family-tracing procedures, identification procedures and record keeping, oversight of existing orphanages, reestablishment of schools, the development of “child-friendly” spaces, and more resources for the Ministry for Social Welfare and Research and the Brigade for the Protection of Minors as critically important. Their assessment emphasized the importance of not facilitating intercountry adoptions as a child-protection relief measure.
The inevitability of natural disasters devastating nations and families, not just in Haiti but worldwide, necessitates that social work as a profession apply its Ethical Principles and Standards to practice. Additionally, it is contingent on professional social work organizations to assume leadership through advocacy and to take a clear stance on practices that would undermine families’ abilities to reunify and nations’ abilities to determine within international, local, and customary standards, the best interests of their children.
This discourse is, in the best of times, difficult. In the case of Haiti’s earthquake devastation, it is important for us all to remember that several hundred thousand children were already living in institutions prior to this disaster. Further, ICA of Haitian children is not new, albeit a small number of children on a world-wide basis. Also, child trafficking in general is a well-known phenomenon in the nation and region. All of these human conditions have come together to create the greatest of human suffering and it is imperative, when deciding courses of action, to consider human rights and core social work values when making any child or family welfare decisions as they relate to substitute or alternative care planning.
Guidance from the United Nations Human Rights Council (2009) in their “Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children” set forth general principles and perspectives and the following conception of care planning is important to remember as a concluding thought.
Where the child’s own family is unable, even with appropriate support, to provide adequate care for the child, or abandons or relinquishes the child, the State is responsible for protecting the rights of the child and ensuring appropriate alternative care, with or through competent local authorities and duly authorize civil society organizations. It is the role of the State, through its competent authorities, to ensure the supervision of the safety, well-being and development of any child placed in alternative care and the regular review of the appropriateness of the care arrangement provided.
The guidelines, in section IX “Care in Emergency Situations” are particularly relevant as they:
Prevent the cross-border displacement of children except…temporarily for compelling health, medical or safety reasons. In that case, this should be as close as possible to their home, they should be accompanied by a parent or care giver known to the child, and a clear return plan should be established. (p. 17)
Following this guidance requires a hard look at the facts at hand and making good policy choices based upon the evidence, with an emphasis on Haiti’s implementation of protection by developing good care planning for children that protects everyone from human trafficking. This will require global-will and impulse control, especially by the intercountry adoption actors, in the context of emergency.
Editor’s Note: As this article was going to press, the last U.S. missionary held in a Haitian jail was released, and she returned to Idaho. It is reported that Laura Silsby, the leader of the New Life Children’s Refugee Group, went to trial charged with arranging illegal travel based on a law to curb human trafficking. She was convicted of this crime and sentenced to the three months in jail which she served. Silsby returned to the U.S. on Monday May 17th, 2010. (http://www.idahostatesman.com/2010/05/19/1198070/home-but-challenges-await.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+IdahostatesmancomBreakingNews+%28IdahoStatesman.com+Breaking+News%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher).
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Dr. Rotabi’s research interests are families impacted by war, including intercountry adoption. She has been involved in the implementation of the Hague Adoption Convention in the USA. Rotabi received both her MSW and MPH at the University of South Carolina and then a Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Dr. Rotabi is Assistant Professor of Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Dr. Bergquist is an adoption researcher, Korean adoptee, and Korean adoptive parent. She completed her MSW at Norfolk State University and Ph.D. in Education at the College of William and Mary, both in Virginia. Dr. Bergquist is Associate Professor of Social Work at University of Nevada at Las Vegas.