Preliminary inter-country adoption statistics of the US
This week preliminary figures for the number of children adopted from abroad were made public. Not surprisingly the downward trend continued, and it is to be expected that in there were at least 5000 inter-country adoptions less in FY 2009 than in the previous year.
A big contributor to the decrease is Guatamala, which in 2008 still exported 4100 children and has since stopped inter-country adoptions, except for those cases that were pending. It is to be expected some 750 children have been adopted from Guatemala in 2009.
After having a peak of sending 7900 children in 2005, China's numbers have dropped ever since. In FY 2008, the number was down to 3900 and in 2009 the number further decreased to 3000, according to preliminary data.
Most of the other countries saw a decrease too, though not as dramatic. The only two countries seeing an increase were Ukraine, growing from 490 to 600 and, not surprisingly Ethiopia, which saw a further increase from 1724 to 2275. With that increase Ethiopia is now the second biggest sending country in the world and if trends continue, it will surpass China next year as the biggest child exporting nation in the world.
Ethiopia's exponential growth curve is not sustainable, just like it wasn't in Romania and Guatemala before. Somewhere down the line it will hit a brick wall and Ethiopian government will be forced to close its borders. Stories of child trafficking and other forms of illegal adoption are coming in more and more and it's only a question of time before the first country will close its borders for adoptions from Ethiopia.
Canada did that with respect to Guatemala already in 2001, while several European countries followed in 2003. Prospective adopters in the US unfortunately only interpreted this as a sign that children were easily obtained from Guatemala and the number of adoptions soared in the following years.
If Guatemala is a blue print for developments in Ethiopia, it wouldn't be surprising if some countries would stop doing business there in the next year or two, while the export of children will probably reach their maximum around the year 2015 with 4000 to 5000 adoptions annually. The United States being the last to keep importing children, until Ethiopia itself decides to put an end to it. What will be the booming country by then remains to be seen, but it is to be expecting agencies are already working on programs in other countries to make up for the eventual loss of Ethiopia, years from now.
Here are the preliminary figures of inter-country adoptions for FY 2009:
|Country of Origin||# of Visas Issued|