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TAIPEI (Reuters Life!) - The number of families offering children for adoption in Taiwan has inched up this year, a rise that welfare groups blame in part on the island's moribund economy.
"They're saying they're unemployed and owe money, or that their bosses have lowered their pay, and they're afraid they can't raise the child, so is there any way to give them up," said Wang Yu-ming, director of the Child Welfare League Foundation.
The Taipei-based child foundation accepted 465 children last year and 301 in the first half of 2008, pointing to a full-year increase, Wang said. Its list of adoptive parents has declined from 4,015 in 1997 to about 2,600 in 2006.
Other agencies, including Taiwan's government adoption authority, report slight increases in children being put up for adoption due to economic problems in their biological families.
The number of children placed in adoptive families declined in Taiwan from 2,658 in 2005 to 2,540 last year.
But economists say most families that want to save money eat out less, trade large cars or flats for smaller ones and send their children to universities closer to home.
"Giving up large dogs, possibly," said Daniel Soh, a Singapore-based economist. But giving up children is "unlikely" in Asian cultures, he said.
Last week, Taiwan slashed its 2008 economic growth forecast from 4.30 percent to 1.87 percent due to a hit from the global financial crisis. Taiwan's economy was already hurt by inflation, wage stagnation and job search problems.
Editing by Miral Fahmy