The number of international adoptions has plummeted to its lowest point in 15 years, a steep decline attributed largely to crackdowns against baby-selling, a sputtering world economy and efforts by countries to place more children with domestic families.One other way this article is different -- it talks about the demand side as well as the supply side in international adoption. The article notes two factors affecting the demand side: the global economic slowdown causing fewer adoptive parents able to afford the fees; and "[a]dvances in fertility technology and the increasing number of couples turning to surrogacy."
Globally, the number of orphans being adopted by foreign parents dropped from a high of 45,000 in 2004 to an estimated 25,000 last year, according to annual statistics compiled by Peter Selman, an expert on international adoptions at Britain's Newcastle University.
Some adoption advocates argue the decrease is also linked to a set of strict international guidelines known as the Hague Adoption Convention. Devised to ensure transparency and child protection following a rash of baby-selling and kidnapping scandals, critics say the guidelines have also been used by leading adopting nations, such as the U.S., as a pretext for freezing adoptions altogether from some countries that are out of compliance.
"It should have been a real step forward, but it's been used in a way that's made it a force for shutting down countries," Elizabeth Bartholet, a Harvard Law professor who promotes international adoptions. "That affects thousands of children every year."
She says places where international adoptions are stopped may ultimately see more children stuck in orphanages or on the street where they could fall prey to sex traffickers. "I question whether it's ever true where adoption is all about buying and selling and kidnapping," Bartholet says.
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Other countries that have seen large drops in the adoption of foreign babies include Spain and France, which fell 48 percent and 14 percent, respectively, from 2004 to 2010. Canada remained the same and Italy actually saw a 21 percent increase during that period, according to Selman, who analyzed data from 23 countries that are primary receivers of adopted orphans.
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