Dwindling Adoptions

When Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, signed a law on Friday banning the adoption of Russian children by Americans, it brought the issue of international adoptions by United States citizens back into the spotlight.

As it turns out, the number of international adoptions by Americans has been falling for years. American adoptions from Russia in particular fell from a high of nearly 6,000 children in 2004 to fewer than 1,000 in 2011.

As The Associated Press pointed out in May, “the number of international adoptions has fallen to its lowest point in 15 years, a steep decline attributed largely to crackdowns against baby-selling, a sputtering world economy and efforts by countries to place more children with domestic families.”

But as adoptions from some traditional sources have plummeted, those from less-traditional sources have surged. Adoptions of Ethiopian children were nearly nonexistent until the mid-2000s, when, suddenly, the number began to jump. In 2010, there were about 2,500 Ethiopian children adopted by American families. (Those numbers fell some in 2011.)

That may well be the Zahara Jolie-Pitt effect. Angelina Jolie adopted 6-month-old Zahara from Ethiopia in 2005. Jolie’s partner, Brad Pitt, soon joined in the adoption.

This chart of adoption trends by children’s country of origin tells the bigger tale.

TAGS (Adoptions, Russia)