Saturday, February 18, 2012

The painful new realities of international adoption

That's the headline from the Globe & Mail (Canada) about the changing face of international adoption, and focusing a lot on adoption agencies going broke and going out of business:
The heyday of international adoption appears to be over.

“Intercountry adoption is changing continually. It’s not static. But there are more restrictions in place now,” says Cathy Murphy, the acting executive director of the well-regarded non-profit Ottawa agency, the Children’s Bridge.

The result is higher fees, fewer adoptions, longer waiting times, older kids.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada reports that in 2010, there were 1,968 international adoptions, down from 2,130 in 2009, and peak of 2,180 in 2003.

The downward trend is more stark in the United States, says Elizabeth Bartholet, a professor at Harvard Law School and faculty director of its child advocacy program. From an all-time high of 22,991 in 2004, international adoptions fell to 9,320 in 2011.

“In seven years it’s fallen off by more than half. So that’s a pretty stunning falling-off-the-cliff phenomenon. It definitely has affected agencies in Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere that help facilitate international adoption. It’s just drying up.”

There are about two dozen agencies in Canada, and shutting down can mean hundreds of families left in the cold. A Vancouver agency, Hope Adoption Services, closed in January, also for financial reasons. An Ontario agency, Imagine, shuttered in 2009 after its founder and general manager were charged with breach of trust and fraud. It all leaves prospective parents with a feeling that their access is shrinking.“The agency pool is getting smaller and smaller,” Ms. Beeman says.
The paper also offers a snapshot of international adoption in Canada  and a by-the-numbers infographic on international adoption.


Anonymous said...

…"shutting down can mean hundreds of families left in the cold"

more importantly, thousands of children without a family. more kids in orphanages around the world.

Anonymous said...


I am all for "placing" countries(for lack of a better word) stepping up and caring for their own, preserving families and tackling the social stigmas and issues that often lead to a systemic "orphan" crisis.

But at the end of the day, these statistics don't imply that at all. They speak to more impediments erected to keep those children truly in need NOW from uniting with loving families, wherever they may live in this world.

If drastically fewer numbers meant fewer vulnerable children around the world, that would be something.

This is something else altogether.

Naively it would be wonderful to presume that only the best of the best; the most transparant, ethical and scrupulous agencies would remain open...... but I fear that's just not the case.


Anonymous said...

But aren't part of the increasing barriers to cut down on corruption? And isn't the corruption because there is a lack of young healthy adoptable children, such that agencies have been kidnapping?

Does it mean more children left in orphanages? Or has international adoption been part of feeding the push to put children in orphanages rather than extended family care? (Because the orphanages have been getting money from international adoptions, and they can lobby governments to keep laws in their favor, and such...)