I’m an international adoptee. I’m also the parent of two children delivered into my life via adoption from Russia and Ethiopia.
We’re an international family created through adoption. We love each other and we have so much fun together.
We are also Americans; immigrants to the U.S. and citizens by naturalization. We contribute and we serve this nation, our community, our family, and our friends.
Recently, I read a staggering statistic: International adoption by Americans has declined by 81% since 2004. And, crippling new policies and practices are projected to completely end international adoption within the next five years. (How to Solve the U.S. International Adoption Crisis, by Nathan Gwilliam, Ron Stoddart, Robin Sizemore, and Tom Velie,, March 19, 2018)
I couldn’t believe my eyes! Is international adoption really in danger of ending for Americans by 2022? If so, how have we arrived at this dark hour? Furthermore, who are we as a country if we are willing to risk the possibility that orphaned children around the world might not have a place to call home, in America?
UNICEF estimates that 15.1 million orphans around the world have lost both of their parents. According to the article that I noted above, “International adoptions by U.S. adoptive parents decreased from 22,989 in 2004 to 5,370 in 2016. We believe international adoptions dropped to about 4,600 in 2017 (although the 2017 total has not yet been publicly released). The director of IAAME, the new Accrediting Entity, stated they are working under an assumption of only 4,200 intercountry adoptions in 2018. This is an 81% decline in international adoptions by Americans. If this trend line continues, international adoptions will completely end by 2022.”
Why is this happening?
Let me quote another leading voice in the adoption community, Former United States Senator and former Co-Chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, Mary Landrieu, who recently said, “Congress passed the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption believing that this action would pave the way for a more ethical, transparent and streamlined process for inter-country adoption… Sadly, several years later, it is clear that this decision was a tragic mistake. Instead of shoring up the process and providing support for sending countries, the State Department has twisted the intent of the treaty to close one country after another. The process has become far more cumbersome and far less transparent. American parents who want to help and lovingly raise a child are often made to feel like criminals. As a result, intercountry adoptions have fallen to an historic low, and they continue to decrease each year as the need of desperate, abandoned, and orphaned children increases. Major change is required now before it’s too late.”
The Office of Children’s Issues (OCI) says that they are implementing a “re-interpretation of adoption regulations” in order to protect children from child trafficking. Yet, within this push to re-interpret policies and practices, is the OCI ignoring the negative impact on the children who were not able to be adopted into loving and permanent families?
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