Babies for Export

Despite a shortage of adoptable U.S. infants, hundreds end up in homes abroad

At first glance, Stefan and Birgit Wilhelmi's story seems routine. A thirtysomething couple with an infertility problem, the Wilhelmis decided to adopt a child. Certified in 1992 as fit to be parents, they signed with a private Pennsylvania agency called the Option of Adoption. In January 1993 the agency called to say that a nine-month-old baby named Traymont was available. Ten days later, the Wilhelmis took the child home. No heart-searing dramas followed: Traymont's birth parents did not try to reclaim custody; previously unidentified relatives did not surface to contest the adoption. Encouraged by the ease of the process, the Wilhelmis...

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