Stories often fill the news about celebrities, religious leaders and others adopting children overseas. Recent changes in international adoption will make these adoptions more difficult. On February 16, Associated Press writer David Crary reported that the United States government had made changes to international adoption procedures, regulation and fees designed to prevent scams that have harmed the public. Increased fees passed on to prospective parents are expected to generate funds necessary to safeguard them by enlarging and improving accreditation and investigation staff and processes.
Business leaders at the National Council for Adoption and many adoption agencies are upset about the new changes. One adoption agency CEO, Greg Eubanks, told the press that international adoptions are a “life-and-death issue” for some kids who have mental health issues and need relocation from their birth countries. Yet, Eubanks’ claim seems to ignore that international adoptions have actually dropped over the last decade and a half from tens of thousands to less than 6,000. American families only adopted 5,372 children from other countries in 2016.
Although it is true that children are suffering in countries around the world, leaders at adoption agencies seem to have ignored the suffering taking place in the United States. Experts estimate that as many as one out of every 30 children in the U.S. don’t have a home. Although many of the estimated 2.5 million school-aged children without homes have families or guardians who are also experiencing their homelessness, a lot of children have no one to rely upon to help them. Additionally, a 2015 government report revealed that an estimated 400,000 children were waiting in foster care for someone to adopt them. Over 28,000 children had been waiting for five years or more.
Given these numbers, critics often ask why the government permits any foreign adoptions outside of special circumstances. Faith-based organizations usually see it as their mission to adopt children from foreign countries even though there’s an obvious need for an increase in domestic adoptions. Some U.S. citizens hope that the new international adoption fees and associated regulations will prompt more families to adopt here at home.