Children adopted internationally by Americans continue to decline. Additionally, for the first time ever, there were more male children than female children adopted internationally.  What are the reasons behind the flux and changes in international adoption? 

There are several factors responsible for the flux. One factor is the decline in adoptions from the top five countries: China, Russia, Guatemala, South Korea, and Ethiopia, because of tightening adoption regulations or eliminating adoption to the United States. The change in the rules and procedures have made it harder to adopt from these countries. As stated in a Newsweek article, Russian banned adoptions from Americans and the Ethiopian government placed a suspension on all international adoptions. According to the article, “these countries combined have made up 71 percent of America’s overseas adoptions since 1999.”

China, while it is still the highest international country of US adoptions, has also made changes that have affected the adoption rate. One important factor is that China has eased up on the one-child policy. Their economy is improving and thus encouraging more domestic adoptions. “Because Chinese children make up a large share of adoptees, China has driven the broader gender shift across all international adoptees to the U.S. over the year,” according to this article.

The average age of adopted children has also shown a change since 1999. The prevalent age of the majority of the adoptees has advanced from less than 1 year, then moved to 1-2 years old, and is now 5-12 years old. The age continues to slowly increase, as children are being placed for adoption at an older age.

The United States is still the country that adopts the most children internationally. PEW research states, “Despite the recent decline in adoptions from abroad, the U.S. remains the country that adopts the most children internationally. In 2015, the U.S.  accounted for 46% of all adoptions among 24 receiving countries that are part of The Hague Adoption Convention.”