The number of eligible children for Americans who want to adopt is has reached a record low as foreign countries such as Russia close their doors to adoption in the United States.
According to the State Department, adoptions by Americans peaked at nearly 23,000 in 2004 and fell to 9,319 in 2011. The number is expected to plunge even lower now that Russia, America’s third largest adoption source in the last five years, has announced that it will no longer allow Americans to adopt any more of its orphans.
“It’s been a cataclysmic implosion of intercountry adoption,” said Tom DiFilipo of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services. “It’s truly the children who are suffering,” he said, because countries that are accused of adoption fraud refuse to make changes and others are insisting that they can provide for their own.
Other large foreign countries such as China, Ethiopia and South Korea are prompting some prospective parents to look homeward. “A lot of families may switch to domestic,” said Jenny Pope of Buckner International, an adoption agency. Yet even that’s a growing challenge, because as single parenthood becomes more acceptable, she said “there are just not as many women placing their children for adoption.”
There are also fewer foster-care children available, because more are reunited with birth parents or adopted by relatives and foster parents. The overall number of kids in the system, 401,000 in 2011, has hit a 20-year record low. According to the U.S. Children’s Bureau, the number of children waiting to be adopted fell from 130,637 in 2003 to 104,236 in 2011. Their average age is 7 and they are a mix of races (28% black, 22% Hispanic and 40% white.)
The options are becoming fewer and fewer for families. They are traumatized by costly failed attempts to adopt abroad, and do not want to risk fostering a U.S. child only to lose guardianship later to the birth parents whose parental rights are restored. Surprisingly, chances to adopt from foster care are quite high.
Despite the fewer options, just as many Americans are as eager to adopt as ever. Advice: “Be prepared for a bumpier ride than 10 years ago.”
Article Source and Picture Source- USA Today