The Lie We Love

From the great folks at Schuster –Sahar

Brandeis’ SCHUSTER INSTITUTE FOR INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM, the nation’s first and only investigative reporting center based at a university, is pleased to announce the results of our year-long investigation into corruption in international adoption. These troubling findings have profound implications for private lives and public policy.

The story of abandoned orphans in developing countries who need to be whisked away to adoring moms and dads in faraway lands is largely fiction. So writes E.J. Graff, associate director and senior researcher at the Schuster Institute in her new investigative article “The Lie We Love,” published in Foreign Policy’s Nov./Dec. 2008 issue. The article exposes the myth of a world orphan crisis—and reveals that the large amounts of Western money offered for healthy “adoptable” infants and toddlers are inducing baby-trafficking in poor and corrupt countries.


Where Do Babies Come From?

Over the past two decades, serious irregularities in international adoption—buying, defrauding, coercing, and kidnapping children away from their families—have been documented around the world. Until now, these individual reports and stories have never been pulled together so that prospective parents, adoption industry experts, opinion leaders, and policymakers can look at them in a systematic way.

By clicking on our interactive map, you can find in-depth documentation of adoption abuses in a number of countries, including links to original news reports and academic research.

Over the coming weeks, the Schuster Institute will be adding more of the extensive documentation and in-depth research that led us to publish our findings in “The Lie We Love.” In the weeks and months to come, the Schuster Institute will be publishing related articles elsewhere, and will participate in public forums to discuss our findings. In November and December, this website will be adding other resources as well, including:

  • How to tell when a country’s adoption practices may be corrupt
  • Suggestions for talking with a child about potentially troubling adoption practices in that child’s birth country
  • A list of blogs, news outlets, talk shows, and other outlets where this work is being discussed
  • A comments and discussion page

Click here for more information about the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism.  

To join the Schuster Institute’s listserv, please email us at 

Are you an undergraduate student with a commitment to social justice and with experience in legal or journalistic research? Are you interested in a PAID part-time position as a Research Assistant?Apply here!