Published On: Mon, Aug 15th, 2016

International Adoptions Have Declined Dramatically

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Back in 2004, international adoptions were breaking records around the world. That year, Americans adopted 23, 000 children from other countries, a historic high. Since then, however, global adoptions have taken an epic nosedive. In 2014, the U.S. adopted a mere 6, 441 children, a 72 percent decline on 2004. In Ireland, adoptions from overseas plummeted 91 percent during the same ten-year period while in Spain, adoption rates also declined by a massive 85 percent.

So, what happened? According to the website priceonomics, the first signs of change occurred in the 1980s as countries tightened international adoption regulations. In some cases, countries were accused of illegal adoption activities such as baby selling, prompting an abolition of foreign adoption programs. This has resulted in supply shrinkage in “sending” countries who are worried about possible accusations of wrongdoing by “receiving” countries.

Though many wealthy countries consider the question of international adoption overwhelmingly positive, some nations view the practice of taking a child away from its family and community and sending it to the other side of the world as a serious one. Increasingly, it is being seen as a last resort in many instances. That, along with the tightening of regulations around the world has prompted the foreign adoption plunge.


Statistics and facts on foster care and adoption in the U.S.

Foster care applies to a system in which a minor, someone under a certain age indicating adulthood, is put into an institution, group home, or private home of a foster parent. Adoption refers to the legal act of a parent or parents other than the birth parent providing permanent care for someone under the age of 18. Adoption can take place within the United States or internationally. However, there has always been some controversy among trans-racial adoptions in the United States, arguing a lack of preparation of white families in dealing with racism but on the other hand, the higher volume of white families that are seeking to adopt. Majority of oversea adoptions by United States families were from China. Such international adoptions in the United States follow the Hague Adoption Convention that designates the requirements for adoptions between two countries. Outgoing or emigration adoptions in the United States are commonly undertaken by families living in Netherlands.
Foster care and adoption regulations also differ across the United States. There are certain requirements that adoptive or foster care parents must meet in order to acquire a license, for example, owning or renting your own house or apartment, complete a training program and orientation, and having enough income to support your current household without relying on foster care reimbursement. Along with certain regulations, long wait times and high costsmay often discourage adoptive families from adopting children, especially on an international scale. Recently, governments around the world have made it more difficult to adopt and some countries like Russia have even banned adoption for families in the United States. Within domestic adoptions, there are several options available for the families to proceed, such as through public agencies, licensed private agencies, independent adoptions, and facilitated or unlicensed agencies.

Children under foster care in the United States varies by age, with mostly very young children, under the age of 3 and those in their late teens being placed under foster care. However, a child leaving foster care in the United States is also common, especially through reunification with parents or their primary caregivers. Adopting children from foster care is also option for families in the United States. Adoption subsidies are often provided to encourage families to adopt children with disabilities. Low-income families may also qualify for adoption grants or loans from some financial institutions to fund the adoption process. Subsidies are provided to almost 90 percent of children adopted from foster care in the United States and can be received until the child turns 18 years of age. These types of assistance programs vary based on the state.



Adoptions by selected “receiving” countries in 2004 and 2014.

Infographic: International Adoptions Have Declined Dramatically | Statista

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