Another Year of International Adoptions Declining Despite Children in Needs of Families Rising


IMG_5971The U.S. State Department has released the FY 2015 numbers on international adoptions completed by U.S. Citizen parents, which can be found here. The State Department’s Narrative on the numbers can be found here. The number of children being placed through international adoption has yet again decreased. This past year the numbers decreased by 12% from 2014. This is a 75% decrease in international adoption over the past 12 years.

If it was the case that children living outside of family care  was decreasing at the same rate, this would be cause for great celebration. But the unfortunate reality is that children in need of families is on the rise. As National Council for Adoption’s CEO, Chuck Johnson states, “[t]he reality is that the world’s orphan population is growing by the millions, and that most of these children will not be reunited with family members or placed with relatives or domestic adoptive families.” International adoption is not the solution for all children without families, but for some children it is the only option for a family, and for these many children, this news is tragic.

The causes for the decrease in international adoption are complex, and include additional processing on both the United States’ side and in the sending countries. In addition to a greater emphasis on family reunification in the past 12 years, there is greater scrutiny given to each adoption case, more entities involved, increased restrictions on prospective adoptive parents, and sometimes longer residency requirements at the end of the adoption process. Unfortunately none of these causes for decreases mean that more children have been able to remain in their birth families or that more domestic adoptions are occurring in countries where international adoption is most needed.

We have seen a drop in international adoptions every year since 2004. When we will hit the bottom of this downward spiral? It is the children who are losing.

Cause Worth Fighting For

Nicole Skellenger works as MLJ Adoptions’ Chief Executive Officer and Adoption Attorney. Nicole has spent time in orphanages with children who have nothing and are desperate for affection and has committed herself to using her skills to create better futures for these deserving children.