There are still plenty of would-be parents out there, but the number of Americans adopting kids from overseas is the lowest it has been in thirteen years.
And no, it’s not “the economy, stupid.” Not completely anyway.
Despite the financial challenges that have put the dream of parenthood on hold for many couples, the chief reason behind the dip in adoptions from other nations seems to be the U.S. government.
The AP reports the State Department’s adoption figures for fiscal year 2009 showed 12,753 adoptions from abroad, down from 17,438 in 2008 — a dip of 27 percent and nearly 45 percent lower than the all-time peak of 22,884 in 2004. That’s the lowest it’s been since 1996, when there were 11,340 foreign adoptions.
A major change has been the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption which went into effect in the U.S. in spring 2008. In order to adopt from overseas, the child either must be coming from a country that has signed the Hague Convention or must qualify as orphans as defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) before they can be considered for U.S. permanent residence or citizenship.
The U.S. is not currently processing adoptions from formerly popular go-to spots for would-be parents, such as Guatemala and Vietnam. The government is also putting pressure on American adoption agencies, pressure that has forced some to close their doors, making it tougher on families as well.
The National Council for Adoption and other adoption advocates are pressuring the State Department to reverse the numbers. Does the drop in international adoptions alarm you?
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