With so many alternative options to becoming a parent, Canada is experiencing a drastic decline in international adoption rates. Specifically, CBC News reports that numbers have particularly plummeted in the past five years.
According to Statistics Canada, rates from 1999 to 2009 roughly hovered around the 2,000 mark, with 2006 being the only year where there was a significant drop to 1,535 international adoptions. Since then, rates have continued to experience a serious decline.
In 2012, there were 1,379 inter-country adoptions, and last year, there was nearly half that at just 793, CBC reports.
Interestingly, this decline is also occurring in the U.S., where rates dropped from 8,667 in 2012 to 5,370 in 2016.
So why the change? The cost (which can be up to $50,000) and the lengthy process (which can take anywhere from 12 months to several years) are reported to be the biggest turnoffs for people looking to adopt from another country.
Additionally, Deborah Brennan, chair of the Adoption Council of Canada, noted that many countries have increased restrictions on international adoptions in an attempt to increase domestic adoptions in their own countries.
"I think they are paying more attention to making sure they create an infrastructure within their own country where they can take care of their children themselves," she told CBC.
I think they are paying more attention to making sure they create an infrastructure within their own country where they can take care of their children themselves.
These restrictions vary. Some countries, such as Argentina, Ethiopia and Laos, currently do not allow Canadians to adopt from them at all, while others, such as Cambodia, have suspended adoptions in all provinces and territories except for Quebec.
Countries are likely trying to increase domestic adoptions because it is so beneficial for the children who are being taken in. Not only will they be potentially closer to their birth parents or siblings, but they'll also be able to maintain their roots and culture.
Trying to teach a child about their culture of birth is one struggle parents who have adopted internationally often find the hardest. U.S. writer Elizabeth Larsen and her husband, for instance, adopted their daughter from Guatemala. But while they try to speak Spanish and spend a week at a Latin-American culture camp every year, Larsen says they still struggle.
"Our enthusiasm is heartfelt. But I'll admit that I often can't shake the feeling that we're tourists, click, click, clicking away with our cameras," the mom wrote in an article for Adoptive Families.
In Canada, there are currently more than 30,000 children in need of homes, so domestic adoption is certainly a viable option for those who want to consider it.
A lot of countries are looking to be seen as First World countries on the world stage.
Executive director Robin Pike, of Victoria, B.C.'s Choices Adoption and Counselling also noted that the trend of focusing on domestic adoption might actually be in the home country's own interests, rather than the children's.
"A lot of countries are looking to be seen as First World countries on the world stage, so if other countries are taking your children and finding homes for them — and you should be doing this yourself — then the attitude has changed in a lot of countries to say, 'We'll manage our own child welfare issues, thank you,'" she told CBC.
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