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Intercountry Adoptions Chart

The Problem

Hope for a family has rapidly disappeared for thousands of children

One of NCFA’s foundational values—and a cornerstone of the Hague Convention on Adoption—is that a continuum of child welfare options should prioritize family preservation, adoption by relatives, and domestic adoption options before intercountry placement is considered. Institutional care should be a last resort.

While policymakers and advocates in many countries are taking strides to improve their nations’ child welfare practices, the reality is that, for hundreds of thousands of children worldwide, domestic family-based care options are not currently available to children, leaving them to languish in orphanages. Upon reaching adulthood, many of these children will lose access to the resources they need to survive safely on their own. Intercountry adoption provides a family to children growing up without parents — unfortunately, the opportunity of growing up in a family is realized for far too few children year after year. It does not have to be this way.

Congressional Action is Needed to Restore Hope for Children

NCFA continues to appeal for greater Congressional involvement and oversight of government offices overseeing intercountry adoption to the U.S. We believe that accountability is needed to fully restore a proactive approach to strengthening pathways for more children to be placed in permanent, loving homes where they will be nurtured and thrive to their greatest potential. Because every child, everywhere, deserves that opportunity.

Sept. 15, 2022 - "For a number of years now, the intercountry adoption community has experienced a significant number of stressors, impacting all those involved in serving children and families. The time is ripe to revise our processes and build a better functioning system that can meet the needs of all those connected to our work – especially those of children whose interests should remain paramount in all that we do."

November 21, 2021 - "The bipartisan Senate co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Adoption have introduced the Children in Family Security Act, which creates “an Office of Children in Family Security and an Ambassador at Large for Children in Family Security dedicated to working with child welfare systems abroad and promoting solutions to unnecessary hurdles to international adoptions to the United States.”

July 22, 2021 - "NCFA recognizes the effort to repair the fractured relationship between adoption stakeholders and the Department. Communication is more frequent and transparent, and reflects a less adversarial posture than in recent years. We hope that the Department’s words will now translate to significant and timely action to reverse the current trajectory. Without massive course correction, it will be the legacy we leave to future generations of children around the world who are without the permanent, loving family they deserve."

July 16, 2021 - "The court ruling includes a remand to the district court to enter an order vacating the Department of State’s unlawful guidance."

May 8, 2020 - "We’ve been sounding the alarm on this for years and too often it’s gone unheeded,” said Ryan Hanlon, Vice President at NCFA. “In light of yet another year of tragic decline, NCFA believes we cannot wait any longer for swift action to halt this decline and implement solutions that work to safely and ethically bring more waiting children into permanent, nurturing, prepared families as soon as possible. For many years now, we have provided specific, practical policy suggestions to the Department of State that would improve this process for all involved. It is time – past time – for the Department of State to implement these much-needed changes.”

March 27, 2020 - “U.S. citizens who have adopted children internationally cannot be asked to abandon their children while waiting for a visa, and return to the United States. Instead, we must be willing to respond to these extreme, unprecedented circumstances with solutions that prioritize the safety, health, and welfare of these families and the children they have legally adopted.”

March 14, 2019 - "Intercountry adoption provides a family to children growing up without parents — unfortunately, the opportunity of growing up in a family is realized for far too few children year after year. It does not have to be this way."

"The only appropriate reflection upon the last ten years of intercountry adoption in the United States is that, on the whole, we have woefully failed to meet the needs of children to find families. Government officials, adoption professionals, and child welfare advocates have collectively failed to achieve the hope and promise offered by the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption.

Though the last decade has given us tens of thousands of individual examples of immeasurably positive, life-changing adoptive placements, they are far too few given the millions of orphans worldwide, and given the continued decline in adoptive placements year after year. Had the number of adoptive placements from the early 2000s stayed steady, well over 100,000 more children would be living with families, instead of in institutions or deceased."