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Dramatic and Tragic Decline in Intercountry Adoption Numbers Continues


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Lauren Koch
(703) 299-6633

Dramatic and Tragic Decline in Intercountry Adoption Numbers Continues

April 1, 2015 – Alexandria, VA – The U.S. Department of State has released its FY 2014 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption. According to the report, American families adopted 6,441 foreign-born children in 2014, a more than 9% decline from 2013’s 7,094 adoptions, and a 74% decline over the last 10 years since 2004 when there were 22,991 foreign-born children adopted. This is the lowest number of adoptions since 1982.

In 2008, the U.S. implemented the Hague Adoption Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption (The Hague Convention), an international agreement established to provide universal protections and regulations for the adoption of children and promote cooperation among signatories of the agreement.

At the time of implementation, many advocates, including National Council For Adoption (NCFA), believed the Hague Convention had the potential to increase opportunities for orphaned and abandoned children around the world to find safe, permanent, loving families through intercountry adoption. NCFA supported the Hague Convention’s signing and implementation in the hope that it would provide new opportunities and hope for children living without the care of a family. We believed the U.S. Central Authority would be advocates to help move children ethically and without undue delay into the care of the permanent families that are so crucial to their development. We believed the U.S. Central Authority, Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues, would serve as a proactive support to adoption – working with other nations to find ways to work together to bring children in need out of the dangers of institutionalization, homelessness, or other horrors and into families where they could pursue their full potential.

“At a time when the orphan population is growing and there are many thousands of willing, waiting adoptive parents it is heartbreaking that intercountry adoption has faced such drastic decline,” notes Chuck Johnson, president and CEO of National Council For Adoption. “Although we believe the Hague has brought positive ethical reform and uniform practice, we are extremely disappointed in the lack of advocacy. We believe that the Hague Convention still holds great potential, but it has been inappropriately implemented.”

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The Office of Children’s Issues in Consular Affairs does not advocate for the betterment of children, they serve only regulatory functions. We believe that a new office for the Central Authority is necessary to see the need for advocacy met. Advocacy would include seeking out ways to educate, partner with, and support countries willing and desiring to partner with the U.S. in their children’s best interest through intercountry adoption. We believe that moving the authority to manage intercountry adoption to an alternate office with the mandate not only to maintain an ethical process, but also to pursue the best interests of children is essential to the future of intercountry adoption and the many thousands of children who can find their way to the safety and wholeness of home through it.



Founded in 1980, National Council For Adoption (NCFA) is a global adoption advocacy nonprofit that promotes a culture of adoption through education, research, legislative action, and collaboration. As the authoritative voice for adoption, NCFA’s areas of focus include domestic infant adoption, adoption and permanency outcomes for youth in foster care, and intercountry adoption. Passionately committed to the belief that every child deserves to thrive in a nurturing, permanent family, NCFA serves children, birth parents, adoptees, adoptive families, and adoption professionals. In addition, we work tirelessly to educate U.S. and foreign government officials and policymakers, members of the media, and all those in the general public with an interest in adoption.

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