Why international adoptions are declining

Laura E. Shapiro -

Child sitting on grass with teddy bear

When seeking to adopt a child, in years past potential parents were often encouraged to consider looking overseas for their next family member. Up to 2004, the number of international adoptions had been steadily climbing for the last seven decades.

However, since then it has become more difficult to bring a baby born in Asia, Russia, Africa or South America into the United States. What happened?

Hague Convention on the Protection of Children

In 1995, the Hague Convention went into effect in countries that ratified the convention. While it permits inter-country adoption, it changed how many countries perceived what is in the “child’s best interest.”

After the conclusion of World War II, the focus was on providing a stable home in a country devoid of wartime devastation. Adopting parents were encouraged to suppress the background of their child with the intention to minimize trauma and confusion.

The convention flipped this thought process on its ear, raising the importance of cultural and family background. Instead of money, a large suburban home, and a guaranteed education being perceived as the primary benefit for the child, their cultural identity and personal safety was placed on a higher plane.

Background Investigations on Parents More Intense

No longer is the financial stability of an adopting home the first consideration to approve an application in the child’s country of origin. Now it is common for extensive interviews to be conducted to verify that the adopting home will help to promote the child’s cultural identity and provides a stable, safe environment. Waiting periods have been imposed designed to discourage criminal elements interested in human trafficking.

When seeking to adopt overseas, an attorney experienced in international adoptions can be an invaluable advocate and resource when wading through paperwork and varying regulations. Please contact us so that we can help you.

Laura E. Shapiro

Laura Shapiro is an award-winning Family Law Attorney with 40+ years of experience. Laura practices Family Law exclusively with her primary focus being divorce and child custody matters.

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