A Closer Look at the Decline in Inter-Country Adoption Numbers

It’s widely know that the number of children adopted to the U.S. from other countries has been cut significantly—decreasing 59% from its high in 2004 of nearly 23,000 to under 10,000 in 2011.  As discussed previously, although carrying certain positive elements, this trend ultimately means tens of thousands of children across the globe are growing up without families as a result.

Two newly-released writings delve deeper into this reality.  This month’s Christianity Today explores the impact of last year’s decision by the government of Ethiopia to significantly constrict adoptions in “A Crack Down on International Adoption.”

Meanwhile, the National Council for Adoption today released a more scholarly analysis of what inter-country statistics look like across the world in “Global Trends in Intercountry Adoption:  2001-2010.”

Intercountry adoption will never be the single solution to the global orphan crisis, even if—as advocates hope—these trends can be reversed in years ahead.  It will, in fact, only touch a small portion of the world’s orphans.  So a wide array of in-country responses to the needs of orphans, from support of indigenous adoption movements to active family preservation efforts, must be foundational to any serious effort to address the global orphan crisis on a sweeping scale.

But this broad vision need not present us with a false dichotomy between support of in-country initiatives and intercountry adoption.  Nor should it diminish the unparalleled significance of intercountry adoption for the children and families whose lives are transformed by it.  Those desiring to champion the well-being of orphans have every reason to advocate for “all of the above”—expanding options for the loving care of every orphan, both nearby and far off.