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Intercountry Adoptions by Americans Lowest Since 1981


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Intercountry Adoptions by Americans Lowest Since 1981

Sad_Depressed_Lonely_Rain_List April 1, 2016 – Alexandria, VA – The U.S. Department of State has released its FY 2015 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption, revealing that American families adopted 5,648 foreign-born children in 2015. This marks a 12% decline from the 6,441 foreign-born children adopted the previous year and a 75% decline since intercountry adoptions reached a peak in 2004, when 22,991 foreign-born children were adopted. This is the lowest number of intercountry adoptions since 1981.

National Council For Adoption (NCFA), a non-profit organization committed to adoption advocacy, awareness, and education efforts, notes that this continued decline in intercountry adoptions has a tragic impact on the growing number of orphaned and abandoned children who desperately need a family.

“We would welcome a world in which all children everywhere received loving and permanent care from their biological families or from extended family or adoptive families in their birth countries,” says NCFA president and CEO Chuck Johnson. “The reality is that the world’s orphan population is growing by the millions and that many of these children will not be reunited with family members or placed with relatives or domestic adoptive families. Instead, they are left homeless or living in orphanages or institutions, which are often under-funded, under-staffed, and don’t provide the one-on-one care children need in order to thrive. For thousands of children, intercountry adoption will be their only opportunity to live, learn, grow, and thrive within a family, and be protected from trafficking, forced into the sex trade, homelessness, or premature death.”

There are several factors that contributed to the decline in intercountry adoptions. Some of the multi-year decline can be attributed to Russia and Guatemala closing intercountry adoptions to the United States in recent years and, specifically, fewer adoptions from Ethiopia, Haiti, and Ukraine in 2015.

“It’s a vicious and dangerous cycle,” says Johnson. “Developing nations have large orphan populations and intercountry adoption is a viable solution for some of them. Yet, intercountry adoption is not allowed because the developing nation doesn’t have an advanced child welfare system or an ability to offer other solutions like family preservation services or domestic adoption or they can’t provide the level of oversight to the adoption process deemed necessary by the United States.”

Many child welfare leaders and scholars from around the world are committed to improving the care their countries provide for orphaned or abandoned children within their own borders. NCFA has worked in concert in the last year with leaders from China, Colombia, Hong Kong, and Ukraine amongst others to share ideas about in-country options like family preservation, foster care, and domestic adoption processes and support.  There is a great opportunity and need for all nations to learn from one another and support one another in our common goal of finding solutions for children living outside of family-based care.

In the United States, the federal government can play a key role in reversing the trend of declining adoptions by working collaboratively with the adoption community to find solutions; seeking country-specific solutions that will open doors of opportunity for orphaned or abandoned children to be adopted; and providing technical assistance to countries who want to engage in intercountry adoption, but need support to put appropriate oversight in place. In recent months, NCFA has been grateful to see meaningful improvements from Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues in communication, openness to consider country-specific solutions, and willingness to provide support to sending countries, adoption service providers, and adopting families. Still, we think there is much work to be done to provide the appropriate support to ensure more children find their way to willing, waiting families.  National Council For Adoption continues to call on Congress to provide more mission-specific direction to the Department of State and more clearly define their responsibilities as the United States’ Central Adoption Authority to ensure that this new approach is long-lasting and continues to improve. Ultimately, we at NCFA believe that recent changes in practice paired with additional mission-specific directives will result in the U.S.’s ability to serve more children through intercountry adoption, while also ensuring legal, ethical, and transparent practices. 

Lastly, Mr. Johnson expressed, “I am hopeful that this is the last year that I am asked to comment on the decline, but, instead, be able to celebrate next year with the Child Welfare community the increase in the number of children who find loving families through intercountry adoption.”

Click here to view the FY2015 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption and the accompanying narrative.

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Founded in 1980, National Council For Adoption (NCFA) is a global adoption advocacy nonprofit that promotes a culture of adoption through education, research, legislative action, and collaboration. As the authoritative voice for adoption, NCFA’s areas of focus include domestic infant adoption, adoption and permanency outcomes for youth in foster care, and intercountry adoption. Passionately committed to the belief that every child deserves to thrive in a nurturing, permanent family, NCFA serves children, birth parents, adopted individuals, adoptive families, and adoption professionals. In addition, we work tirelessly to educate U.S. and foreign government officials and policymakers, members of the media, and all those in the general public with an interest in adoption.

For more information, visit

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Adoption 101 Class for Prospective Adoptive Families: January 9th, 2016. Reserve your place now.


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Adoption 101 Flyer 1.2016

Did you adopt in 2014 or 2015? Help prospective parents by taking Adoptive Families’ survey

Did you adopt a child in 2014 or 2015? If so, please share the cost and timing of your adoption by taking our survey. Start off this National Adoption Awareness Month by providing prospective adoptive families with up-to-date information.

Each year, Adoptive Families polls readers to get the real story on the average cost and length of time it takes to complete an adoption. We frequently hear from families just starting out in adoption that the final survey results are immensely helpful to them. See results from previous years >

We’re pleased to once again offer a special giveaway to encourage more families to share their adoption experiences. If more than 1,000 parents who adopted in 2014 or 2015 complete this year’s survey, we will randomly select one participant and donate $250 to the adoption organization of his or her choice!

Take our Adoption Cost & Timing Survey ►

Take Adoptive Families’ Cost & Timing Survey for the chance to win a charitable donation in your name

22e17329-0631-4481-baca-36b238367676 Did you adopt a child in 2013 or 2014? If so, please share the cost and timing of your adoption by taking Adoptive Families‘ survey. You’ll help prospective adoptive families by providing up-to-date information.

Each year, Adoptive Families polls readers to get the real story on the average cost and length of time it takes to complete an adoption. We frequently hear from families just starting out in adoption that our Adoption Cost Breakdowns, based on the final survey results, are immensely helpful to them.

We’re pleased to once again offer a special giveaway to encourage more families to share their adoption experiences. If more than 1,000 parents who adopted in 2013 or 2014 complete this year’s survey, we will randomly select one participant and donate $250 to the adoption organization of his or her choice!

UPDATE: We are so close to our goal of 1,000 completed surveys—we need just 119 more parents to participate! Please take the survey today if you adopted in 2013 or 2014, and forward to any other families you know who did.

Take the 2013-2014 Adoption Cost & Timing Survey

Join Beth Hall for a Transracial Adoption Webinar on 1/13/15

Register now for a FREE Expert Q&A Webinar

Register for a webinar with adoption abd assisted reproduction attorney Peter J. WiernickiTransracial Adoption

with Beth Hall
January 13, 2015 @ 1 pm EST

How can you and your family prepare to become parents and relatives to a child of a different race? How do you talk about race and adoption as your child grows? How do you talk about racism and your child’s safety in a world that will see and make presumptions based on his or her skin color? If you adopted internationally, how do you balance and integrate birth culture exploration with discussion about your child’s everyday life as a hyphenated American? Beth Hall, co-author of Inside Transracial Adoption and founder of Pact, An Adoption Alliance, leads a discussion about parenting a child adopted transracially. Join us to ask your questions!

The Expert Q&A Webinar with Beth Hall: Transracial Adoption will take place on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 from 1pm to 2pm ET (12pm-1pm CT; 11am-12pm MT; 10am-11am PT).

Register for the Expert Q&A Webinar: The Hospital Experience in /surrogacy and Domestic Adoption

Don’t want to forget your question? Submit it in advance by posting a comment.
Can’t attend the webinar? We’ll post a recording here after the session.
Recordings are available FREE to Adoptive Families members. Non-members may purchase individual recordings, or join the site for full access and members’ benefits.

Petition update for New York Adoptive Families – Governor Andrew Cuomo: NYS Should Fund Statewide Post Adoption Services

Dear New York Adoptive Parents and Adoption Professionals,
New York State Citizens’ Coalition for Children just posted an update:

Governor Andrew Cuomo: NYS Should Fund Statewide Post Adoption Services

1,188 supporters

Need you to call -Federal funding for post adoption services in jeopardy

New York State Citizens’ Coalition for Children

Jul 31, 2014

HR 4980—Important Child Welfare Legislation which would fund post adoption services is in jeopardy because of Senator Coburn thinks it is too expensive and unneeded. We need as…

Read more

This message was sent by New York State Citizens’ Coalition for Children using the system. does not endorse the contents of this message.

Insights into Homeland Tours – Webinar April 1st 7pm CT

Webinar Series for Adoptive Families

Insights into Homeland Tours

TUESDAY; April 1; 7:00 PM CT

Where They Once Called Home

If you are thinking about or planning a trip to your child’s birth country, there is more to consider than travel.

Learn from adopted people and adoptive parents who have taken that trip. Along with practical advice, they will share their personal experiences and feelings to help you understand the lasting impact a homeland tour may have on your child.

Our panel will discuss:

  • Considering the right age to travel
  • Preparing your child for the experiences and situations they may encounter
  • Preparing yourself to support your child during the journey
  • Travel tips and advice on how to organize the experiences and memories to make a lasting impact


Email Mandi and Shane >


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