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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

January 14, 2007

Written by C.N.

Foreign Adoptions Declining

As many people know, foreign adoption has been a hot topic among Asian Americans for several decades now, especially as foreign adoptions have almost tripled in the past 15 years or so. However, as the Associated Press/Orange County Register report, there was a substantial decline in foreign adoptions in 2006, which could have significant consequences going forward:

Overall, according to new State Department figures, international adoptions by Americans dropped to 20,679 in the 2006 fiscal year from 22,728 in 2005 – the first significant decline since 1992. Adoptions from China, the No. 1 source of children since 2000, fell 18 percent, from 7,906 to 6,493, while adoptions from Russia, the No. 2 source for the previous six years, dropped about 20 percent to a 10-year low of 3,706.

Both are among many nations trying to reform their child welfare systems and increase domestic adoptions. In some cases, reform campaigns are coupled with skepticism toward foreign adoption, including concern about occasional cases of abuse. Romania has banned adoptions by foreigners, except for relatives; Ukraine and Kazakhstan insist that foreign parents submit regular reports on their adopted children. . . .

The number of orphans and abandoned babies in China remains substantial, though authorities say it is dwindling. About 51,000 were adopted in 2005, according to the government – 13,000 by foreign families, the rest in China. Professor Li Luxin, deputy secretary general of the China Association for Juvenile Studies, said domestic adoptions will surely increase. “More families are well-off,” he said. “They own apartments and cars and it is a way for them to repay society by adopting an orphan.”

I’ve written before that China has instituted restrictions that have made it all but impossible for gays/lesbians to adopt. Obviously not every adoptive parent who adopts from China is gay/lesbian, but apparently the results of such restrictions are now being felt. What’s also notable however, is that this trend is not just with China, but apparently exists among several other countries as well.

Coupled with an inevitable push for more domestic/internal adoptions in China, this trend seems to signal China’s push toward becoming increasingly self-sustaining and “modernized.” In other words, using an economics analogy, China may be trying to change its image as an “export” country into a more balanced one. If that’s the case, she should expect to see foreign adoptions from China continue to decline from this point forward.

Author Citation

Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Foreign Adoptions Declining" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <> ().

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