On Monday, Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Education and Science released new adoption numbers for 2017. Around 400 children were adopted last year in the country of some 17 million inhabitants. Kazakhstan’s government has started a new initiative to help funnel children out of the country’s system of orphanages.
As part of the government’s effort to trim down its orphanage population, they are encouraging the adoption and fostering of orphans. Their efforts paid off last year, as the number of orphanages in the country dropped by 35%. In 2017, more than 2,000 children were placed under legal guardianship, while more than 200 went into foster care.
While the government works to help orphaned children find homes, private citizens are doing their part as well. Murat Kabylbayev, a foster father from the village of Kenessary, has adopted 12 children so far. He is an advocate of adoption and fostering, working with the Kazakhstan Without Orphans project to find children loving homes. He was recently named one of the 100 New Faces of Kazakhstan for his work in promoting adoption and fostering.
Kazakhstan has allowed inter-country adoption since 1989, and Kazakhstani children have historically been a popular choice for American couples. Kazakhstan has consistently ranked in the top 10 countries from which Americans adopt the most children. Americans typically pay around $40,000 per child, and parents must provide post-adoption reports every six months for three years after the adoption date. Annual post-adoption reports are required until the adopted child reaches 18. Kazakhstan typically does not allow same-sex parents, single parents or unmarried parents to adopt children, and sometimes it can take up to two years to complete the adoption process.
Despite its popularity, Kazakhstan has not always remained open to inter-country adoptions. In 2013, Kazakhstan halted American adoptions after two Kazakhstani children were discovered staying at an improperly licensed facility in Montana. The children were returned to their parents, and the country put a temporary ban on the American adoption of Kazakhstani children.