Would-be adoptive parents look beyond Russia

Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:16pm EST
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By Kathleen Kingsbury and Lauren Young

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Russia's new ban on U.S. adoptions is the latest setback for hopeful American parents as countries increasingly impose restrictions.

Other countries, including China and Guatemala, have erected hurdles for adoptive families as they create their own domestic adoption programs. The signing of the Hague Convention on adoption in 2008 drastically improved regulation of the process, which had been rife with corruption. But it has also led to a slowdown in adoptions or shutdowns in some countries. Internal politics and abuse concerns are additional reasons why countries have tightened controls.

In 2004, U.S. citizens adopted 22,991 children who had been born abroad, an all-time high, according to Adoptive Families magazine. By 2011, that number had fallen to 9,319. (For a graphic view of how international adoptions have fallen in various countries, see link.reuters.com/tut84t)

There are still other options for Americans wanting to adopt an international child. Bulgaria, Columbia and many African nations are some of the new, go-to countries for U.S. adoptions.

But even that's not a sure thing. For would-be adoptive parents the best bet is to widen their search to include special needs kids, sibling groups and older children.


Africa, which represented 22 percent of adoptions in 2009, is expected to be a bigger player in the future. "A decade ago, there were very few adoptions (in Africa)," according to Susan Soonkeum Cox, vice president policy and external affairs at Holt International, a Christian adoption organization. "Now, there's an explosion."

African countries seeing an increase in adoptions include South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Kenya and Ivory Coast.   Continued...

Orphan children play in their bedroom at an orphanage in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, December 19, 2012. REUTERS/Vladimir Konstantinov