By Fredrica Syren
Many of Bella’s friends are adopted, and it is so wonderful to hear their journeys of how they became families. No one’s story is the same. All of them came from different places in the world — from Russia, Guatemala, and China to here in the U.S. One thing is certain: it was meant to be. They all have brought so much happiness to each other. I hope more families will be connected this way and feel it’s great that adoption exists so people can realize their dream of becoming parents. What always strikes me is the instant love that happens as soon as the parents get a picture of their child-to-be.
With this in mind, I was so surprised when I read an article that international adoptions are down and at their lowest rate in 15 years. The biggest reasons for this is the crackdown on baby selling as well as each country’s efforts to place more kids in local homes. I know the cost to adopt internationally was quite expensive and that the waiting time was becoming very long. The last time I heard, the waiting period to adopt a child from China could be up to 3 years. This is a very long time for anyone to wait for their sweet angel.
Some adoption advocates argue that the decrease is also linked to a set of strict international guidelines known as The Hague Adoption Convention. Devised to ensure transparency and child protection following a rash of baby-selling and kidnapping scandals, critics say the guidelines also have been used by leading adopting nations, such as the U.S., as a pretext for altogether freezing adoptions from some countries that are out of compliance. U.S. adoption officials and international agencies such as UNICEF say the Hague Rules, which require countries to set up a central adoption authority and a system of checks and balances, are necessary to safeguard orphans and keep profit-driven players from corrupting a system that should be purely about helping unwanted children.
One of the reasons for the lower adoption rate has to do with countries no longer allowing single parents to adopt. China, for instance, now does this, and up to one- third of all U.S adoptions were by single women. There are more advances in fertility treatments, and surrogacy is more available in the U.S., which also explain the lower numbers. Of course, the bad economy is to blame as well, since more and more parents don’t see international adoption working in their budgets. It can cost between $20,000 and $50,000 per adoption.
It so sad to see that potential adoptive parents have such a hard time finding a baby to love and care for, and I wish this would change soon. The sad part is that there are children who are stuck in orphanages while there are so many great parents out there ready to love these children unconditionally.