Every consular officer knows how delicate the subject of adoption can be. Emotion runs extremely high; costs can be astonishing (spending tens of thousands of dollars for a child is routine); the complexity of the process can drive the most stable of adults to serious drink; and it's absolutely true that child-hungry would-be parents can fall frantically in love with a child they've never met and might do anything to get that child 'home.'
The internet is full of sad stories, desperate stories, joyous stories, untrue stories, hilarious stories, unfair stories ... very few thoughtful, well-balanced stories. The New Yorker published one of the few such stories in May of this year. It is written by the adoptive father of a Haitian orphan whose processing - all done by the book in both Haiti and the US - was complicated by the January earthquake. But he never lost his cool and the article, although long, is well worth reading by any consular officer.
The article includes a history of the whole international adoption phenomenon. For example, the writer took the time to research the numbers: in response to the often-asked question, "Why don't Americans adopt American children?" he wrote, "Since the seventies, the supply of healthy infants available through domestic adoption has contracted sharply... In 1970, a hundred and seventy-five thousand [U.S.] newborns were adopted; by 2002, that number had dropped to under seven thousand. Most of the fifty thousand domestic U.S. adoptions each year are of older children in foster care." The article also, of course, includes his family's own compelling and ultimately successful story.