Relevant Magazine posted an article online yesterday with some statistics on international adoptions that were a bit shocking. The article is based from a State Department report (readable here) stating that Americans are adopting 72% fewer children internationally than they did at the peak of international adoptions in 2004. Last year, there were 4,868 international adoptions by American families compared to 22,884 twelve years ago. A similar decrease in inter country adoption is evident for couples wishing to adopt who live outside of The United States. A decrease in adoptions is not indicative of a decrease in children waiting to be adopted.
Certainly we should be asking why. One answer, according to the State Department, lies mainly with a renewed focus in ensuring that the children being adopted are actually orphans and are not being trafficked to adoptive families. This is the case is Guatemala where adoptions were suspended in 2007 because of widespread corruption. Another answer is that China has increased their efforts to encourage adoption by Chinese nationals within their own country. I think that it is encouraging to see countries looking to endure the safety of orphans, who are some of the world’s most vulnerable people. The danger, according to Chuck Johnson who heads up the National Council for Adoption, is that “unadopted children are the most likely to be trafficked.”
As a family who has adopted, we are encouraged every time we hear of others who are looking to adopt either domestically or internationally. We believe that caring for orphans and widows is one of the best ways we reveal to the world that we love God (and that God loves us!). We know firsthand the amount of paperwork, red tape, and financial roadblocks to providing a child with a forever family. Some of that red tape is there to ensure that children (orphans) are protected and not trafficked. I have hope that in the future there can be some sort of streamlining of the process.
In the end, our family changed forever for the better when Malachi came home with us and we would do it again to know that another one of God’s children has a loving home in this life.