International Adoption Update Part Two

On March 21, 2014, the U.S. State Department released their international adoption statistics from 2013. It was not a surprise to anyone that the numbers have continued to decrease, with little over 7,000 adoptions completed. Before we bemoan the numbers going down, let's take a moment to celebrate that 7,000 children found families who needed them so desperately! You can read the report here.

I love to dig into statistics, but let me net out a few things for you. The top ten placing countries, starting with the country placing the most children, are as follows:

  • China
  • Ethiopia
  • Ukraine
  • Haiti
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Uganda
  • Russia
  • Nigeria
  • Philippines
  • Ghana

Of the top ten placing countries in 2013, Russia has closed and Ethiopia and Democratic Republic of Congo have come almost to a halt. If you look at the statistics over the past ten years, there has been a shift. In the past, a few countries placed almost all the children, now we are seeing many countries placing smaller numbers of children.

China is by far the largest placing country, with almost 1/3 of the children entering the United States. The vast majority of these children have medical needs that range from mild to moderate to significant. Each family, as they prepare to adopt from China, determines what special needs they as a family are prepared to parent. Most of these families complete their adoptions in about 12-18 months. Each month the China Center for Child Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA) adds between 50-300 children who need families, so the wait time for referral is usually quite short. There are many agencies throughout the United States approved to place children from this list. Single women may adopt children who have been on the waiting list for 60 days or more. Common needs are children with heart conditions, albinism, older boys, missing limbs or cleft lip and palate.

Five of the top ten placing countries are from Africa. With Ethiopia slowing down dramatically, we are seeing more countries opening their doors and placing a small number of children each year. In 2013, over 25 countries in Africa placed children in the United States, often to relatives who live here.

South Korea and Colombia are no longer in the top ten placing countries. This is due to changing laws and increased adoption within their own borders.

In 2014, the Universal Accreditation Act will have a big influence on independent international adoptions moving forward. All adoption placements must go through an agency that is Hague accredited whether the placing country has implemented the Hague or not. Please note, families often work with two agencies, one for the home study and one for the placement. The home study agency does not need to be Hague accredited unless the sending country requires it, which is the case for China. However, each adoption must have a placing agency involved that is Hague accredited. You can find the list of Hague accredited adoptions here.

So, who are the children? There are still thousands who need families. Most of these children are over the age of five years and/or have a medical need. Take a look at to see if any of the children on this listing could be someone who could fit into your family! Rainbow Kids lists children from dozens of agencies and all of them need someone like you!

Susan D. Orban is a member of Path2Parenthood's Adoption Advisory Council and Outreach and Adoption Specialist of The Adoption Programs of Children's Home & Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota

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