According to Time Magazine, the number of international children adopted by American families has dropped 60% since 2004, due to changes in the developing world. These changes include 1) reform efforts; 2) economic growth; and 3) resurgent nationalism. (Time, January 21, 2013, “The Baby Deficit“, by Kayla Webley)
Stricter laws and policies in the form of individual countries’ reform efforts, and the widespread Hague Convention, are focused on preventing abuses and trafficking. However, these efforts have also had the unintended effect of decreasing adoptions across the board by making it very difficult and costly to comply. For instance, the countries participating in the Hague Convention are required to set up a “Central Authority”, requiring a lot of continued cost and effort. Some countries simply lacked the ability to implement the changes that would be required in order to comply administratively with these new regulations or implement their own strict safeguards.
While economic growth and resurgent nationalism have lead to better lives for many children inside their countries of origin, that is not always the case. Keeping children in an orphanage in the country of origin is sometimes seen as preferable to sending them to a family in a foreign country, no matter the opportunities that await them. Unfortunately, politics enters into these decisions. That is reality.
There are many children in the U.S. and in the world that are in need of loving, permanent homes, and many people who are waiting for the opportunity to be parents. Helping these individuals find each other is never easy.