Global rates of intercountry adoption, adopting children from other countries, are taking a nosedive, according to Peter Selman, expert in intercountry adoption who works for Newcastle University.
Since 2004, the numbers have dropped by more than 200 each and every week. They’ve halved since 2004. Italy has managed to maintain its adoption numbers, being the only country in Europe to do so.
One of the key factors playing a role is strict US adoption laws, which allow US birth mothers to choose their adoptive parents. They are far more likely to choose an American over someone from another country.
Another factor is the 1993 Hague Convention, which is set up to guard against abuses and further regulate intercountry adoption. Countries that sign up have to follow strict guidelines that may include passing on adoption requests from certain countries it would have previously approved. Ireland signed up for the convention in 2010, which adds another western country to the list.
Prospective parents in Ireland looking to adopt now can’t look for children in many of the countries that would have previously been considered and now have to look to countries like the US, which as mentioned previously, doesn’t often ship their children out of country.
It’s also possible that these numbers are just tied with declining birth rates. As the adult working population spends more time at work, the desire to have children goes down. Couples that may have previously been interested are no longer interested, especially with the mounds of paperwork and time it takes just to get approved for an adoption these days.
There are also scientific advancements in fertility treatments. Couples that may not have been able to previously have children can now in some cases find success. All of these factors can contribute to these declining rates, and it doesn’t seem that they will soon make a recovery.