Trends in International Adoption


At one time it was relatively easy to find “forever families” for orphans from other countries. Today, however, a number of factors have altered the international adoptions' landscape.

Every child deserves to live in a loving, caring home, and international adoption has traditionally given orphans that precious gift of a family. However, where once it was relatively easy to find “forever families” for these orphans from other countries, a number of factors have changed the scene of international adoptions.

For example, between 1970 and 1995, the vast majority of children adopted by Americans were Korean.[1] The Korean American Adoptee Adoptive Family Network reports that the 150,000 Korean-born children adopted in the U.S. are now adults with their own families numbering over 1,000,000.[2]

In the 1990s, both China and countries from the former Soviet Union began allowing adoptions to the extent that from 1995 through 2011 more adoptions were facilitated from these countries than from anyplace else.[3] Years ago, in a move that some observers say is more about geopolitics than it is about kids, Russia has banned the adoption of its orphans by American families. This unprecedented move left many potential adoptive parents on hold in the middle of the process of receiving a child, and many children in orphanages waiting for a family of their own.

In China, many of the children currently awaiting adoption are older and have significant needs due to mental and physical disabilities.  Due to cultural stigma, these children are placed in orphanages where they are languishing without a family to love and support them. Over the years, we have seen some remarkable progress in changing attitudes about children born with disabilities. Through the leadership of an amazing young woman, Bethany has introduced the once-foreign concept of foster care in China and have placed more than hundreds of disabled children in loving foster families.

While a key prerequisite for adopting any child is a heart filled with love and compassion, adopting a child that may face years of medical treatment often gives pause to even the most caring families seeking to adopt a child. Through Caring Connection, we have been able to come alongside families adopting children with special placement needs to provide support and resources. In addition to financial grants to assist with the added expenses of adopting a child with disabilities, families receive counseling, education, and information about services available in their communities.

Finally, churches can help. Our most successful stories of families adopting children with special needs involve churches that rally around the adoptive families providing respite, encouragement, and sometimes just a shoulder to lean on.

[1] http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/adoptionstatsintl.html

[2] http://www.kaanet.org/aboutus.html

[3] Ibid.

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