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New Report from NCFA Shows Dramatic Decline in Adoptions During Pandemic

ALEXANDRIA, VA (May 11, 2022) - A new report released by National Council For Adoption (NCFA) highlights the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on adoption within the U.S. Adoption by the Numbers, a research study conducted by NCFA in partnership with the Catholic University of America, provides the only comprehensive count of the number of adoptions by type and by state in recent years.

The report shows that adoptions declined dramatically between 2019 and 2020. Private domestic, non-stepparent adoptions declined 24%, intercountry adoptions declined 45%, and adoptions from foster care declined 13%. By comparison, live births in the United States dropped 4% in 2020, totaling 3,613,647.

According to NCFA’s Acting CEO and President Ryan Hanlon, the trends are troubling. “We know from our members and other professionals in the field, that there are too many children being left behind without a permanent, loving family here in the U.S. and around the world,” Hanlon said. “This research confirms what has been reported and illustrates how great the need is for more Americans to consider adoption, particularly adoption from foster care and intercountry adoption where thousands of children continue to wait.”

The data also points to the importance of appropriate expectations for people who are considering private infant adoption in the U.S. “They need to be prepared for longer wait times, and increasing costs, because the reality is that there are far more hopeful adoptive parents than there are infants being placed for adoption each year,” Hanlon advised. “As the report shows, that is a trend we’ve seen continue over the last several years and accelerate during the pandemic,” he added.

While federal government reports showed a new decline in adoptions from foster care as well as a sustained fall in intercountry adoptions, this report is the first to document a national decline in private domestic adoptions as well. The authors say this points to the need for discretionary funding to support accurate, adoption-informed education for expectant parents who are considering their options, support for adoption service providers impacted by Covid-19, and for a federal requirement for annual state reporting on private adoption statistics.

Adoption by the Numbers provides important data points about how many adoptions are occurring, but descriptive data about the demographics and experiences of those who adopt and who have been adopted, is scant. In response, NCFA is conducting a three-part research project, Profiles in Adoption, which seeks to fill that gap, and also examines the experiences and satisfaction rates of birth mothers. Part One is set to be published in summer 2022. NCFA is available for comment on both Adoption by the Numbers and Profiles in Adoption.


About National Council For Adoption

Founded in 1980, NCFA is a leading authoritative voice for adoption and is passionately committed to the belief that every child, everywhere, deserves to thrive in a nurturing, permanent family. NCFA’s nonprofit work promotes a culture of adoption through education, research, advocacy, and collaboration that aims to serve children, expectant and birth parents, adoptees, adoptive families, and adoption professionals.