INTRODUCTION - PRENATAL EXPOSURE TO DRUGS
The prevalence of prenatal exposure to illicit drugs among international adoptees is unknown. Impoverished birth mothers who relinquish their children may lack the financial resources to purchase drugs. it is equally plausible to speculate that maternal drug abuse increases the likelihood of child relinquishment. In other circumstances, birth mothers hoping for a specific gender child (i.e., a male in China or India) may be unlikely to abuse drugs during pregnancy. In the United States, it is estimated that about 11% of newborns are affected to some degree by prenatal substance exposure (including drugs and/or alcohol.) Among children residing in U.S. foster care, a group with sociologic and demographic similarities to abandoned children in other countries, it is estimated that about 70% of those in the system for at least 17 months have substance-involved parents.