CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

Why do the British adopt so few children from abroad, compared to the French? To better understand this difference, I compare the history of adoption law and practices in England/Wales and in France. Since the 1920s both countries have had similar adoption laws, but abused children have been placed for adoption much more often in England/Wales than in France. This major difference has had important consequences on the practice of adoption in these two countries. First, for a long time the number of adoptions has been much higher in England/Wales than in France. Second, British governments aim at having their numerous adoptable children adopted, including through open adoption since the 1970s. This is why English people adopt so few foreign children.


  • Abused child
  • Best interest of the child
  • Comparative law
  • Family
  • Open adoption
  • Statistics
Jean-François Mignot
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