International (MNN) — The amount of international adoptions has hit its lowest point in the last 35 years.
Christianity Today reports 2004 saw an all-time high when Americans adopted 22,884 children from foreign nations. Yet over the last 12 years, international adoptions have taken a major hit. Only 5,648 international adoptions took place in 2015.
The sharp decline is caused by multiple factors, including harsher restrictions on adoptions, and bans of international adoptions by Americans. According to the State Department, 80-percent of American adoption decreases were from China, Russia, and Guatemala.
Guatemala took a hit when it suspended foreign adoptions. The country wanted to end corrupt sales put on by officials and child brokers. Over 3,000 children were adopted in 2004, but the number plummeted in 2015, when only 13 children were adopted.
In 2012, the Russian government banned U.S. citizens from adopting Russian children. Whereas 5,682 children were adopted from Russia by Americans in 2004, none were adopted last year. Thousands of children have been left without the chance to belong to a family.
Because eastern Ukraine is being held under Russian rule, foreign adoptions of Ukrainian children have decreased as well. Christianity Today notes a 40-percent decrease of foreign adoptions, but a 60-percent increase in domestic adoptions.
Orphan Outreach’s president, Mike Douris, told Christianity Today domestic adoptions may be the future. “I don’t expect international adoptions will ever be over 20,000 again, for a lot of reasons. They’ll always be a part of orphan care, but not the major thrust. I think domestic adoption, and foster care, in these countries is going to emerge and be a big growth over the foreseeable future.”
China has seen domestic adoptions soar in the past decade. Up to 30,000 children are adopted by Chinese families each year.
But, China is still seeing a majority of global adoptions. Baptist Press News reports nearly half of the children adopted by U.S. families in 2015 were from China. Last year, 2,354 were adopted, an increase of 15-percent from the previous year.
Though international adoptions are declining quickly, ask yourself if adopting is the right path for you. Thousands of children are in search of a home.
Join Orphan Outreach and other ministry experts at the Christian Alliance for Oprhans’ Conference (CAFO) in Orlando on May 5 and 6. Discussions will focus on adoption, foster care, global orphan care, and family restoration.