Is Adoptionland becoming less demonic?
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It has been less than three years ago that Pound Pup Legacy's Demons of Adoption Award was given to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for their dubious adoption practices.
Over the years the church and its daughter organization LDS Family Services had been involved in various dubious adoptions, showing a lack of respect for the rights or unmarried parents. On top of that, LDS Family Services has been the least transparent adoption agency in the world. Unlike other adoption agencies, it is registered as a church and therefore it is not required to submit any financial information to the Internal Revenue Service.
LDS Family Services resembled the type of hush-hush operation one would have expected during the 1950s and 1960s, an anachronistic organization out of touch with the societal make-up of the 21 century.
Last week, LDS Family Services announced it will step out of the adoption business after seeing the numbers of adoption placement see plummet over the last decade.
Adoptionland should be happy with this development, not just for the obvious reason that yet another nefarious adoption agency has been closed, but most of all because the supply of adoptable babies is drying up quickly.
Adoption is a measure of last resort, and it is a great development to see that this last resort is needed less and less.
LDS Family Services has for years focused on placing children born out of so-called unwanted pregnancies. A significant subset of these unwanted pregnancies relates to teen-pregnancies, and over the last two decades the numbers of teen pregnancies have been going down, In fact the decline has been accelerating over the last couple of years as the following chart shows:
Note: The pregnancy rate (y-axis) is the number of pregnancies per 1,000 adolescent females ages 15-19.
The United States still has a relatively high teen-pregnancy rate compared to other rich countries, but the situation has improved dramatically over the last two decades.
The decline in teen-pregnancies is noticeable across all ethnic groups and can be witnessed in all states. With the exception of Arkansas, the teen pregnancy rate is now below the national rate as observed only 15 years ago .
For LDS Family Services, the decline of these numbers and changing attitudes with respect to single parenthood have made their business unsustainable. It can no longer justify the existence of 69 offices around the country staffed with adoption specialists.
The trend of adoption agencies closing their offices has been going on for several years now. The following high-profile adoption agencies closed over the last 5 years, and many smaller agencies have exited the adoption market as well.
For most of these agencies, the decline of inter-country adoption has been the reason of their closure. The number of children adopted from abroad is now one third of what it was back in 2004.
The end of LDS Family Services practice as an adoption agency demonstrates that domestic infant adoption too is showing a dramatic decline.
All through the 1990s and the first years of the 21st century, new adoption agencies were popping up like weeds. At some point we counted at least 2,000 adoption agencies in existence in the United States alone, a regulatory nightmare, since no state was capable of properly monitoring all these agencies.
Adoption has clearly become a less viable business. If this trend continues, it may hopefully lead to a situation where the number of remaining adoption agencies will be low enough that state regulators can do their job and make sure the agencies in existence, operate according to proper ethical principles.
 US Department of Health and Human Services: Trends in Teen Pregnancy and Childbearing