Posted by: icmadoptionnetwork | March 25, 2013

The Ever Changing Scope of International Adoption

This is an article written for our ICM Connection Newsletter last week. If you would like to receive our bi-weekly newsletter, please contact our administrative assistant, Jane, at

Over the last decade, we have seen many changes within the world of international adoption. According to the U.S. State Department, in 2002 there were 21,467 international adoptions processed by the U.S. government. The top three countries in numbers of children being adopted by U.S. citizens were Russia, Guatemala, and China. Two-thirds of international adoptions were of female children.

In contrast, in 2012 the U.S. government processed 8,668 incoming international adoption cases. That is less than half of the number from 2002.  The top countries from which children were being adopted in 2012 were Ethiopia and China. Over the last ten years, many countries have closed their doors to allowing their orphaned children to be adopted by U.S. citizens, including Russia, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, and Romania. The gender of children being adopted internationally has evened out, almost equal number ratio of boys and girls being adopted by American families.

While the number of international adoptions has decreased, it is as important as ever for the church to advocate for these orphaned children. The number of orphaned children in our world is growing exponentially. UNICEF estimates that there are currently between 143 and 210 million orphans in our world, with most organizations using the estimate of 163 million.

If you would like to learn more regarding adoption, please contact our offices. If you would like to learn more about orphan care, and advocating for these children in ways other than adoption, I would encourage you to pick up the new book Orphan Justice by Johnny Carr.


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