Foreign Adoptions to US Fall by 14 Per Cent, Continuing Trend

Associated Press, March 14, 2019

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The department’s report for the 2018 fiscal year shows 4,059 adoptions from abroad, down from 4,714 in 2017 and 82 per cent below the high of 22,884 in 2004. The number has fallen every year since then.

China, as has been the case for several years, accounted for the most children adopted in the U.S. But its total of 1,475 was down 22 per cent from 2017 and far below a peak of 7,903 in 2005.

Suzanne Lawrence, the State Department’s special adviser on children’s issues, said the steady decrease in adoptions from China was linked to an improved Chinese economy and the expansion of domestic adoption there. She also said U.S. adoption agencies were hampered by China’s laws restricting activities by foreign nongovernmental organizations.

Adoptions from Ethiopia dropped sharply to 177, down from 313 in 2017 when it was No. 2 on the list. Ethiopia imposed a ban on foreign adoptions last year, citing concerns about the well-being of its adopted children and improprieties by foreign adoption agencies.

Adoptions from impoverished Haiti, which is trying to establish a domestic foster care program, dropped from 227 to 196.

India accounted for the biggest increase, with adoptions to the U.S. rising from 221 to 302. Adoptions from Colombia rose from 181 to 229. Lawrence said the State Department had developed strong relationships with child-welfare authorities in both countries.

For a fourth straight year, there were no adoptions from Russia, which once accounted for hundreds of U.S. adoptions annually but imposed a ban that fully took effect in 2014. {snip}

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{snip} One persisting problem is failure to comply with requirements by foreign governments to regularly submit post-adoption reports on the welfare of the adopted children.

{snip} There also have been troubling cases where adoptive parents in the U.S., without authorization, have sought to return adopted children to their country of origin.

International adoptions have been declining worldwide in recent years. The United States accounts for about half of all foreign adoptions, including large numbers of children with special medical and psychological needs.

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