Rachel Gilbert comes from a background in which adoption is very much a normal way of life.The article also notes that adoptions from foster care in Massachusetts have also declined, for a very good reason:
Gilbert, a civil engineer from Haverhill, was adopted from Korea in 1978, as was her nonbiological brother. Her best friend and her best friend's husband are also Korean adoptees.
So when Gilbert and her husband, Geoff, decided they wanted a baby several years ago, there was little doubt as to what avenue they were going to take.
"I thought that I could be a great mentor to a Korean adoptee," said Gilbert, 35. "My parents were great, but they weren't Korean adoptees, so they don't know how it feels. That's something I could give back to a child."
After wading through a two-year application process, the Gilberts welcomed a year-old baby, Isaac, into their lives. The process may have been grueling at times, but Gilbert said she and her husband would do it again in a heartbeat.
Stories like the Gilberts' are becoming increasingly rare, however. With each passing year it is more difficult to adopt internationally, because countries are tightening their adoption restrictions.
In fiscal 2011, 181 babies were adopted internationally in Massachusetts, compared to 936 in 2002, an 81 percent drop in that 10-year span. Nationally, international adoptions have dropped by 57 percent over that same period, according to State Department figures.
The number of domestic adoptions processed through the state's foster-care system has also fallen in recent years. In fiscal 2011, there were 663 children adopted through the state Department of Children and Families, the lowest figure in more than a decade, down from a 10-year high of 922 adoptions in fiscal 2005.
This decline is in line with a reduction in the total number of youth in foster care. Today, DCF has 2,000 fewer children in foster care than it did five years ago. Officials attribute this to the department's work to keep families intact, place children with kin, and reunify families when appropriate.