International adoption, rise and fall

Back when my readers numbered a small fraction of the small number of people who now read this blog, I wrote a handful of posts about international adoption. This link should bring them up. It had recently become apparent that international adoption was declining worldwide, and there was a debate over whether this was good or bad.

Someday I’ll update the posts with new information and read up on the state of the issue, but in the meantime here’s my updated figure on the trend, which shows international adoptions to the United States have dropped more than a third just since 2010, and more than two-thirds since the peak in 2004:


Source: The data back to 1999 are here. I can’t find the link to the 1990-1999 numbers.

I should go pull some countries out of “other” now that the composition has shifted (For example, Ukraine is in the top 5 now, and more kids come from Haiti than from S. Korea).

One obvious pattern is that the decline in adoptions from China has slowed or stopped. After about 2008 virtually all of the children adopted from China have medical needs (see, e.g., this agency page).

In 2004 I figured a child adopted from China would be on the leading edge of a large, if not growing, wave. I wonder how the experience would be different if that had been the case.

5 thoughts on “International adoption, rise and fall

  1. I write a lot about international child welfare policy, including international adoption, on my blog Children Deserve Families. It’s a very important issue, since the number of unparented children in the world has gone up.


  2. Philip great writing. I wonder what your perspective would be on the 99 American children adopted from foster care by foreigners? Additionally what are your thoughts of Adoption Service Providers seeking out new obscure niche countries like: congo, Serbia, Morocco, Republic of Georgia, Japan (which still allows independent adoptions) Ghana etc., Lastly could you explain to everyone about the USCIS July 2014 compliance for in country facilitators? It is our understanding that these in country cattle rustlers will NOW be held to the same standards of credentials as the ASP they work for. No longer will the ASP be able to turn their heads and act like any problems or scams is because of their in country facilitator they WILL be responsible for their behavior on how they procure a child.


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