Honors Theses


Nancy Martorano Miller, Ph.D.


Political Science

Publication Date


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Honors Thesis


This research seeks to answer the question: Does level of nationalist sentiment expressed within a country affect the restrictiveness of the country’s intercountry adoption policy? Current literature has examined the influence of the level of nationalism expressed in a country on adoptive parents in choosing from which country to adopt; however, no study has examined the link between nationalism and country-specific intercountry adoption policy. The variable of nationalist sentiment warrants study, for the Hague Convention posits that intercountry adoption is a valid option only if “a suitable family cannot be found in his or her [the adoptable child’s] State of origin” in order to preserve the child’s nationality of birth (Varnis, 2001: 42). This statement implies that domestic adoption is considered to be in the better interest of the child versus intercountry adoption. In addition to the fact that “nationalists might subscribe to the view that children ‘belong’ to their countries of birth and are better off growing up there (Leblang et al, 2015),” countries may be reluctant to act as sending countries in intercountry adoption because adopting out their children indicates an inability of the country to care for its children and thus “injures its national pride (Varnis, 2001).” Although current literature somewhat addresses nationalist sentiment in terms of its effect on intercountry adoption, no study has empirically examined the potential link between nationalist sentiment and actual adoption policy restrictiveness, as my project proposes to do. Given the current fragility of the practice of intercountry adoption as a whole, its recent politicization, and the rise of populist/nationalistic leaders around the world, this research is especially relevant.

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Undergraduate research


Political Science