The effect of the institution of full adoption in international legal relationships is to completely break the links of the child with his country of origin and remove all traces of such links. Such adoption gives rise to a series of specific problems concerning the circumstances of the abandonment, the consent to the adoption, the capacity for adoption of the potential adopters, the international competence of the judge making the adoption order, and the reliability of the guarantees offered. At the moment, there are no internationally recognized principles on these various points. The result is that the demand for adoption of foreign children often gives rise to trafficking and international legal abductions. It is also noteworthy that there is an absence of legal cooperation between states to settle these various questions, with the result that the adoption of foreign children is currently settled solely at the domestic level.
Organized international adoption started after World War II, when orphaned children abounded. A second trend emerged during the 1960s and 70s, when children from the Philippines and Korea were put up for adoption because of poverty and war. The most obvious motive for parents then was to save a child; now it is almost always infertility.
Some prefer to adopt a child from a distant land because they think the child will then never get to meet their natural parents.