The decline in international adoption has been taking a toll on waiting families and the children waiting for their forever homes.
On November 17, 2008, the State Department published its inter-county adoption statistics which reveals the number of international adoption is at its lowest since 1999. During the last fiscal year (Oct. 2007 through Sept. 2008), international adoptions totaling 17,438 (down by 2,175) is a drop of over 12% from the previous year. Unfortunately, there seems to be no change in sight for the trend in decreasing of international adoptions for the coming year.
China has lost its place as the number one country for international adoptions which it has held since 2000. The decrease in adoptions from China accounted for the biggest decline over the past fiscal year. To be exact, 1,544 less children placed in forever homes in just the last year.
Guatemala replaced China in the number one spot for international adoptions last year but because the country is now closed to inter-country adoption it is not expected to hold the number one position in 2009. Other countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and India are also seeing a decline in adoptions.
Ethiopia had the largest increase in adoptions last year. And although African countries are not known for numbers of inter-country adoptions, it is one of the few regions viewed as having growth potential for international adoptions. In addition, there are many African-American children available right here in the U.S. and we encourage families to look into this option as a way of expanding their families.
So what does this mean for families wanting to adopt?
Many of those interested in building their family through adoption who were once interested in an international adoption program are now looking closer to home. Some are turning to foster care but many are looking into adoption of infants through agencies and attorneys. While there are children to adopt here in the US, the wait for infants may be extended as more families turn to this option.
Patience and openess are the key. Being open to different backgrounds and levels of prenatal care open up more possibilities for families. When adopting internationally families understood that most women had very little, if any prenatal care, they accepted referrals with minimal information on the child and on the biological parents. When it comes to domestic adoption though many families put very strict requirements on what they will accept or not accept when it comes to these same things. Keeping an open mind may open up more opportunities and allow the process to move quicker.