As the U.S. economy slows down, Americans are seeing international adoption numbers plummet. This is a combined result: international adoption fees are astronomical and in a world filled with tension, there is an abundance of political gridlock.
With numbers at an all time 15-year low, many adoption advocates say the decrease is linked to the Hague Adoption Convention. Instituted to help prevent kidnapping and baby-selling scandals, it is unfortunately being used as a pretext to freeze adoptions from countries that are less than open to maintaining child protection compliance.
As these children are not given the opportunity to be adopted by families abroad, the increase of children dependent on orphanages has increased, worrying adoption advocates. They fear this may indicate an increase in sex trafficking in the next few years.
Decades ago, busloads of prospective adoptive parents would visit countries such as Guatemala, Vietnam and China, which had relatively simple and quick adoption processes. Those days are long gone and waits are years and requirements far more stringent. As these financially fledgling countries realized years ago, the demand for foreign orphans equated to a cash flow business for underdeveloped nations.
Today, there is more emphasis on domestic adoptions within foreign countries, with Nepal, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, China and Russia further tightening restrictions on foreign adoptions. Historically, the U.S. participated in approximately half of the world’s international adoptions, which declined a staggering 60-percent between 2004 and 2011. While the U.S. economy is partially to blame for this decrease, as foreign adoptions average $20,000 to $40,000, it is also a retaliatory effort on the part of some countries.
As the trends of limiting foreign adoptions continues worldwide, many prospective adoptive parents may want to pursue alternatives, such as domestic adoptions within the U.S. There are thousands of U.S. infants, toddlers and children waiting to be adopted into loving homes, including those in foster care, child welfare and in orphanages.
Heart to Heart, a Utah adoption agency, works with birthmothers to find loving, adoptive families that are looking to adopt infants. The advantage with this type of program is the benefit the birthmother receives in helping select which family her baby will be adopted by, including whether it will be a private adoption or open adoption process.
Ultimately, the victims in this tragic turn of events, with countries starving the adoption process, are the unwanted children. These children will not only grow up parentless, but statistics show they fall into troublesome paths, typically brought about by the psychological effects of feeling unloved and unwanted.