According to the recently released Adoption By The Numbers from the National Council for Adoption, there has been a significant decrease in international adoptions. In fact, since 2007 there have been 75% fewer adoption of foreign children by American families. What does that statistic tell us? There are a variety of factors influencing this decrease, including:
International adoption is extremely expensive. Depending on the country from which you are adoption, rolled into the costs can be extended stays in the child’s country before adoption; multiple visits to the country; costly government fees; agency and inter-agency fees; legal fees; costs of travel documents, and more. For those desiring to adopt internationally, often the financial cost involved means either waiting for an extended time while raising funds, or going into debt. For a family who is ready to grow their family now, this can be a deal-breaker and the family may turn to other means.
Politics is another factor that has made it difficult, and in some cases, impossible, to adopt internationally. In the past years, both Guatemala and Russia have closed their doors to U.S. adoptions. The countries’ officials state concerns over how their children are cared for as the main reason for shutting down adoptions to American families. While there are facts to back up that concern, government politics may also play a role in those decisions. Many orphaned children were in the process of adoption when the abrupt closures were announced, leaving them to wonder about their futures. Their adoptive families continue to petition for release of their children, but to date, it is for naught.
This brings us to the reality that many hopeful adoptive individuals and couples are aware of this potential hazard, even with countries who are currently adoption-friendly. After all, if it can happen in some places, it could certainly happen in others, right? With that fear comes a hesitancy to put out emotional, financial, and time expenses into something that might end up as heartbreak.
And so what can be done? Every child is important and every child needs love, care, and family. The National Council for Adoption is one of many organizations that is advocating for all children, writing, “NCFA is committed to remaining a prominent, proactive and effective voice for all children all over the world in need of families. We will continue to call the U.S. Government and the international child welfare community to account, and encourage them to work to better ensure that intercountry adoption remains a viable solution for those children who will likely not see their right to a family fulfilled in their country of birth.”
As individuals, we can urge our own government to work together with other countries in a way that will bring about the best good for children throughout the world.