What's the cause of this decline? AP lists several: Russia has stopped foreign adoptions. Ethiopian authorities have been trying to place more abandoned children with relatives or foster families. Other reasons come to mind: More South Korean women are keeping their babies, thanks to the efforts of Korean-born adoptee Jane Jeong Trenka and her supporters who have lobbied the
South Korean government to change its adoption laws and help single mothers keep their babies. China has loosed up on its one-child policies. Guatemala, Cambodia, Nepal and other countries have stopped or largely curtailed out of country adoption due to wide-scale corruption.
THOSE 'TROUBLESOME' ETHICAL STANDARDS
According to the AP, Chuck Johnson, CEO the National Council for Adoption, blames the decline in part on the State Department for imposing higher ethical standards. "'The U.S. has encouraged and in some cases strong-armed impoverished countries to sign the Hague Convention, and then cites their inability to comply with strict Hague standards as a reason for not doing intercountry adoption with them.'"
Johnson and his allies in Congress--led by adoptive mother Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana--seek to "fix" this emphasis on ethics though legislation (Children in Families First Act of 2013, S. 1530) which would clamp down on these troublesome standards and condition foreign aid on those poorer countries making children available for adoption. Although 14 naive senators wanting to cast themselves on the side of children have signed on to the bill and 31 representatives have signed on to a companion bill in the House, it has not gained traction.
Changes at home may be playing a part in the decline as well. Megan Twohey's excellent Reuters report last fall on families "re-homing" their troubled foreign kids is likely to have discouraged some from adopting. Joyce Maynard's re-homing of two Ethiopian sisters before that was also well-publicized. In the past, intercountry adoptions offered certainty, for there was likely to be no first mother changing her mind, or a father coming out of nowhere to contest the adoption. But a clamping down on some of the corruption in adoption in poorer nations have made these adoptions far less certain. Stories abound about prospective adoptive parents waiting years to "bring their child home," as they like to say, due to internal politics.
Those seeking to adopt must have become aware of the rampant corruption reported by the media, by Kathryn Joyce in The Child Catchers and by parents who have adopted from abroad including, Dave Smollin and David Kruchkow of Parents for Ethical Adoption Reform (PEAR). Finally, those who have lived intercountry--the adoptees themselves-- like Jane Jeong Trenka; Kevin Haebeom Vollmers, founder of Land of Gazillion Adoptees; Shelise Gieseke; Peter Dodds, and many others have become outspoken critics of intercountry adoption. Perhaps people are beginning to listen.
FEWER INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS PART OF LARGER TREND
It is also possible that the decline in intercountry adoptions is part of a trend of fewer voluntary non-related adoptions generally, a trend we enthusiastically support. At the same time, advances in assisted reproduction is making it possible for people who would not have been able to have children before to do so today, a trend that has as many minuses as pluses. This may be the future, but it has the potential to objectify and take advantage of poor women who become egg suppliers and breeding wombs; and it already has led to the creation of more children who may never know their own biological heritage and ancestry.
In Oregon where I live, voluntary infant adoptions have declined 17.5 percent, from 234 in 2010 to 193 in 2013. I don't know if this is a trend nationally because domestic adoption statistics, other than those from foster care, are collected separately by each state. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last compiled adoption figures 2008. The data is inexact in any event because states don't separate out relative and step-parent adoptions--many which occur after a divorce and remarriage--from the total number of adoptions.
Whatever the cause of the decline in intercountry adoptions, it's good news for poor mothers and children throughout the world.--jane
S 1530, Sens. Blunt, Burr, Gillibrand, Inhofe, Kirk, Klobucher, Shaheen, Warren, Wicker, McCaskill, Schumer, Coons, Markey, Schatz. A companion bill is in the House, H.R. 3323, with 31 sponsors listed here.How Many Children Were
Adopted in 2007 and 2008?Oregon Adoption Statistics (non-related plus private agency)
Senate Bill Encourages More International Adoptions
Re-Homing: Dumping Unwanted Adopted Kids
International Adovcates Fight Back against decline in adoptions
Joyce Maynard's adoption "disruption"
The Child Catchers exposes the stench of international adoption--and domestic adoption too
The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption by Kathryn Joyce
Adoption has long been enmeshed in the politics of reproductive rights, pitched as a “win-win” compromise in the never-ending abortion debate. But as Kathryn Joyce makes clear, adoption has lately become even more entangled in the conservative Christian agenda.--Amazon
"An important voice for adoption reform and should be read by those who shape adoption policy and those considering adopting from abroad or donating to an international adoption agency or foreign orphanage. It's laden with facts and figures, but is never dull. FMF highly recommends The Child Catchers."--from jane's review: The Child Catchers exposes the stench of international adoption--and domestic adoption too
Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Connor Grennan
“Funny, touching, tragic...A remarkable tale of corruption, child trafficking and civil war in a far away land—and one man’s extraordinary quest to reunite lost Nepalese children with their parents.”—Neil White, author of In the Sanctuary of Outcasts
"...police have rescued 20 children from Mukti Nepal, a Maharajgunj-based orphanage, and arrested its operator after finding the children living in squalor and without enough food. The children range from five to fifteen. Six boys and 14 girls were kept in one room. It seems clear that the orphanage was the dumping ground of one of the child traffickers in Nepal, and the deplorable conditions are often shown to Westerners as a sham to get money to "take care of the children." --from lorraine's review: Finding the Families of The Lost Children of Nepal