Number of international adoptions continues to fall

U.S. residents are adopting a smaller number of children from foreign countries, according to the latest figures from the U.S. State Department. While there are many reasons for this decline, experts are placing much of the blame on restrictions enacted by some foreign governments.

According to sources, U.S. residents completed 8,668 international adoptions in 2012. That is down from the 9,320 international adoptions in 2011. It’s also down significantly — 22 percent — from the record high of 22,884 international adoptions set back in 2004.

Overall, last year’s international adoption numbers were the lowest since 1994, and international adoptions have actually declined steadily since 2004’s record high.

Shockingly, experts are now predicting that the number will likely drop even further in 2013 largely because Russia has banned new adoptions by U.S. residents.

As discussed on our blog, Russia banned U.S. adoptions back in December as a form of retaliation for a new U.S. law targeting alleged violators of human rights.

Some experts, however, believe that the ban is actually a reflection of Russian resentment over the 60,000 children adopted by U.S. residents during the past 20 years and the mistreatment that some of them have been subjected to at the hands of their adoptive families.

“They’re angry with us, and they’ve found something that would hurt us,” said Susan Jacobs, a special advisor on children’s issues for the State Department. “But it also hurts the Russian children who are looking for a home.”

The overall drop in foreign adoptions has caused frustration for many U.S. families and raised significant concern among adoption experts.

According to Kathleen Strottman, executive director of the Coalition on Adoption Institute, while the number of international adoptions is falling, the number of orphans and abandoned children around the world is rising.

Last year, China was the country with the highest number of international adoptions to U.S. residents with 2,589. However, this figure is also down significantly from a high of 7,903 in 2005.

Ethiopia came in second in 2012, with 1,568 adoptions. Russia had the third-highest number of adoptions by U.S. residents with 748.

Stay tuned for updates from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about adoption rights, child custody, visitation or grandparents’ rights, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


NPR, “Foreign Adoptions By Americans Decline Again,” Jan. 24, 2013