One of the more sobering things about attending the conference, however, was hearing how many adoption agencies have had to shut their doors due to a decrease in international adoption. Membership in JCICS has dropped by over 60 members this year and over the past three years, international adoption has dropped by half the number of children. Tom DiFilipo, President & Chief Executive Officer of JCICS, cautioned that within five years, international adoptions could drop below 5,000 children a year and there may be only be five international adoption agencies left. Some very large organizations are actually completely against international adoption.
What are you feeling about the decrease in international adoption?
Well, what's your answer? For me, I'm perfectly OK with international adoption as we know it ending. The first priority should be family preservation, including placements with extended family members whenever possible. When that isn't possible, countries should look to domestic adoption BEFORE any international placements are allowed. It's so much better for children to be placed within their own country, minimizing the losses associated with adoption. With domestic placements, children remain within their culture, maintain their language, and are unlikely to deal with a transracial placement. Children within their birth country are also more likely to be able to maintain relationships with birth family. Only as a last resort should countries turn to international adoption.
Do I think that that ideal will be reached in my lifetime? Somehow I doubt it. . . .