The world is changing. It is no longer as receptive to international adoptions as it was back in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Doors are slamming shut and families find themselves out of money, time and patience. To adopt in some countries, families can now expect a wait of three, four and even five years!
According to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs on Inter-country Adoption, the rates of overseas adoptions have dropped steadily since 2004. Here are the international adoptions completed each year since then:
- 2004/ 22,997 adoptions
- 2005/ 22,735 adoptions
- 2006/ 20,680 adoptions
- 2007/ 19,608 adoptions
- 2008/ 17,456 adoptions
- 2009/ 12,744 adoptions
- 2010/ 11,058 adoptions
- 2011/ 9,319 adoptions
Domestic adoptions account for approximately 87% of all adoptions (well over a 100,000 each year). International adoption makes up only 13% of all adoptions each year. Many agencies that specialize in overseas adoptions are struggling or closing up shop. In countries such as China, there is now a strong push to adopt within. It has become a matter of national pride and a desire to appear that they are capable of caring for “their own”.
Some families are becoming more open to adopting children with special medical, physical and/or emotional needs to expedite adopting internationally. The question then becomes, don’t we have children here in the United States with special needs that desperately want a family of their own? Shouldn’t we also cherish and support American children before reaching out across the ocean?
Our coordinators here at Lifetime Adoption Center regularly talk to families that have had troubling experiences with overseas programs. One tearful woman shared “We spend close to thirty thousand dollars with a reputable agency. We were matched with a baby girl. Then, after two years of waiting, the country of origin stopped all international adoptions. We not only lost our baby girl, we lost our savings!” Another parent told us, “My wife and I were given very little medical information on our son. We were told nothing of his history. When we brought him home, our son had serious emotional and medical issues that we were not adequately prepared to deal with. Don’t get us wrong! We love our boy and would not let him go for the world! However, this time around, we feel safer going through an American open adoption program. This way, there are no earth shattering surprises!”
The best option for hopeful parents that are anticipating a healthy infant is to pursue open adoption. Pregnant women that are considering adoption for their baby look online or contact companies that specialize in adoption facilitation. It is up to the woman to set the parameters for her adoption plan. Some families send pictures and cards. Some are receptive to yearly visits and phone calls. Open adoption is quickly becoming the best and safest way to adopt a baby.
If you are set on pursuing the international route to adoption, just be aware of changing laws, roadblocks and general sentiment from the countries involved. It is a process that can tax your resolve and put added strain on family relationships. If you have been struggling with infertility and want to adopt, please look into all aspects of your choices before diving in! The adoption challenges of 2012 are very different than twenty years ago and you deserve to know all the facts.