The Difficulties of Foreign Adoption

Posted by Jonathan Jerkins | Apr 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

Tens of thousands of American families open up their homes to adopted children every year. This includes adoptions of children from foreign countries, including children with special needs and medical issues. However, the total number of foreign adoptions in the U.S. has declined in the past decade, in part, because of the difficulties involved in foreign adoptions. Some countries have banned adoption by families in other countries, or specifically by families in the U.S.

Adoption can be a long and complicated process, wherever it occurs. Understandably, government and private agencies want to make sure that children are going to safe and secure homes. However, the costs and hurdles of the adoption process can be a deterrent to some families who simply want to provide a loving home to a child.

The expense and difficulties involved with overseas adoptions can be even more complex. This may require multiple overseas trips for the families to meet the child, undergoing physical and psychological exams, and background checks. This is in addition to high adoption fees to be paid to foreign adoption service providers. To make things more difficult, more countries are banning foreign adoption outright.

According to the State Department's annual report, there were 5,372 adoptions from other countries by families in the U.S. in 2016. This is down significantly from the peak in 2004, with 22,884 foreign adoptions. The top ten countries where children were adopted from in 2016 include:

  1. China (2,231)
  2. Democratic Republic of Congo (359)
  3. Ukraine (303)
  4. South Korea (260)
  5. Bulgaria (201)
  6. India (194)
  7. Ethiopia (183)
  8. Uganda (187)
  9. Haiti (178)
  10. Philippines (156)

Ethiopia has recently announced a ban on foreign adoptions. Ethiopia is among the top 10 countries from which Americans adopt children. However, the number of adoptions from Ethiopia has been on a steady decline since about 2010, partly caused by delays in how the Ethiopian government processes adoptions. At its peak in 2010, Americans adopted more than 2,500 children from Ethiopia. According to Ethiopian news, intercountry adoptions left children “vulnerable to identity crisis, psychological problems, and violation of rights.”

Additionally, the U.S. has limited adoption from some countries over concerns of document fraud and adoption scandals. This includes adoptions of children from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Nepal.

The biggest change in recent years is the ban on U.S. adoptions of Russian children. In response to the sanctions imposed on Russia, the country retaliated by banning U.S. adoptions of Russian kids. Prior to the ban, families in the U.S. had gone through the difficult and expensive adoption process to adopt almost 3,000 Russian children every year. Many families were in the middle of the adoption process when the ban went into place, leaving their future families in limbo.

The difficulties of foreign adoption have made many families look closer to home to adopt a child. There are many children awaiting adoption by families here in North Carolina, including kids with special educational, emotional, or medical needs.

Jerkins Family Law

If you are considering opening your family to the adoption of a child in North Carolina, Jerkins Family Law can help. Visit our dedicated adoption page to learn more about the adoption process. Located in Raleigh, North Carolina, Jerkins Family Law is committed to helping our clients in their time of need. Contact us today and see how we can help your family through the complex adoption process.

About the Author

Jonathan Jerkins

Jonathan "Jay" Jerkins, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, intentionally focuses his practice on all aspects of North Carolina family law litigation and negotiations. Jay was admitted to the practice of law in North Carolina in 2014.


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