The office of Senator Mary Landrieu has released a statistical study of inter-country adoptions from 2002 through 2012. The report indicates that international adoption is in decline worldwide. During this period of time the number of such adoptions has decreased by 48%.
During the same period of time, the number of children adopted into the United States has declined by 62%, while those to other countries have declined only 38%. This means that adoptions to the United States have declined 24% faster than to the rest of the world.
The report also states that while the number of adoptions by all receiving countries has declined by almost half, at the same time the number of children living without families has continued to grow.
As far as the U.S. is concerned, the dramatic drop may be traced to 2008 when this country joined the Hague Convention. The purpose of the Hague Convention, which is an international agreement, was to protect children by increasing the standards required of placing agencies. While arguably it has done this, there appears to be no question that it has also caused this dramatic decline, which surely was not its purpose.
Senator Landrieu’s report also concludes that had the U.S. maintained the 2004 level of international adoptions, nearly 62,000 more children would now have families.
Not all countries belong to the Hague Convention, and in 2009 the number of children adopted into the U.S. from non-Hague countries made up 94% of all international adoptions by U.S. families. In 2010, this number dropped to 79%, in 2011 to 71% and in 2012 to 58%. These numbers suggest that Hague countries are catching up as agencies comply with the new requirements.
In 2012, the two countries with the largest number of children adopted into the U.S. were China, a Hague country at 2,697, and Ethiopia, a non-Hague country at 1,568.
Senator Landrieu’s conclusion is that the U.S. central authority does not work proactively with other countries to develop international adoption programs and that children who need families are the victims of this lack of U.S. government action.
Navigating international adoption laws can be very difficult. If you are contemplating international adoption, or have questions about the process, please contact me at [email protected], or call 703-361-5051 to schedule a complimentary consultation.