By Megan Montgomery, LMSW, International Adoption Coordinator, Adoption STAR
Every few days or so we notice something in the news about the declining numbers of international adoptions, so we decided to examine it and truly believe the decline can’t be narrowed down to any single factor. However, over the past few years international adoption agencies have closed their doors or their country programs, or have attempted re-build their programs. New policies and procedures have been put in place and in some cases fewer children have been made eligible for Inter-country adoption in a greater effort to find families in their country of birth.
For years International Adoption statistics were soaring, with the peak being in 2004 with 22,991 children adopted into U.S. families from foreign countries. Now, as hundreds of thousands of families celebrate National Adoption month and the uniqueness that International Adoption has brought to our families, we also near the end of another year of declining International Adoptions.
Perhaps there would not be a decline should adoption agencies work harder to find families hoping to adopt an older child. Over time the type of children who are ready to join a family has changed. It has become more common for children to be older, have known medical or special needs or be part of a sibling group.
The bottom line is that many children are waiting for families. According to UNICEF there are as many as 13 million orphaned children (have lost both parents) living in institutions around the world. While, according to the Department of State the number of children joining their family in the US for 2010 was 11,058 and for 2011 it was 9,300 children.
This is a critical time in International Adoption. The need for parents for the many children who are un-parented has not diminished. The bottom line remains that the benefit of being in an adoptive family greatly outweighs remaining in institutional care.
Adoption STAR believes that all children deserve to know the love and nurturance of a permanent family. We hope to promote international adoption with the intention of meeting the needs of children living without parents so they can reach their full potential.
Currently Adoption STAR has two International Placement Programs: Bulgaria and Hungary.
In Bulgaria the numbers of adoptions to the US have been increasing since 2008, and per the Department of State totaled 1,416 as of last year. Bulgaria maintains a registry of files on waiting children, which is updated regularly so there are children waiting and ready to be matched with families today.
According to the Department of State, Hungary has placed 155 children, primarily under 12, with families in the US since 1999.
While it is constantly evolving process, there are families and children who are wishing, waiting, hoping to be joined together through adoption.
Please feel free to contact us for more information on International Adoption.