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Posted by Ashley Eure

Worldwide, since 2003, intercountry adoptions by all receiving countries has declined by almost half, while the number of children desperately in need of family has continued to climb around the world. As the following CNN article illustrates, interncountry adoptions to the United States have declined at a rate 24% faster than the rest of the world.

This is one of the reasons why the Children in Families First (CHIFF) legislation that is being considered in the House and the Senate is so important. CHIFF would streamline, simplify and consolidate responsibility for all processing of intercountry adoption cases by placing these functions under the direction of the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Visit the Children in Familes First page to learn more about CHIFF and how to contact your representatives to tell them to support the bill.


International adoptions in decline as number of orphans grows

By Kevin Voigt and Sophie Brown, CNN

Hong Kong (CNN) -- In April 1999, Laura Blitzer -- a 41-year-old single university professor -- decided to adopt a child. Fifteen months later the native of Brooklyn, New York, was in Hunan Province, China, holding her 9-month-old adoptive daughter, Cydney, for the first time.

"It was amazing to have her in my arms ... I still cry when I see the tape of her being given to me," recalled Blitzer. "I couldn't believe she was mine."

In 2007, Blitzer applied to adopt another child from China. Six years later, she is still waiting. "The estimate right now for me to receive a healthy infant is 2017," she said.

After decades of steady growth, the number of international adoptions has dropped nearly 50% since 2004, despite the well-publicized explosion of adoptions from China in the 1990s, and high-profile adoptions by celebrities such as Angelina Jolie from Cambodia and Madonna from Malawi.

The decline isn't due to fewer orphans worldwide nor waning demand from prospective parents, experts say. It is due to rising regulations and growing sentiment in countries such as Russia and China against sending orphans abroad.

The number of children finding new homes in the United States -- the number one location for adopting children -- fell to 8,668 in 2012 after peaking at 22,884 in 2004, according to U.S. State Department statistics. A survey by Britain's Newcastle University of the top 23 nations that adopt children from abroad recorded 23,626 international adoptions in 2011 -- down from 45,299 in 2004.

"I think it's both a surprise that it's been dropping, and it's a surprise that significant forces are opposed to international adoption," said Elizabeth Bartholet, professor of law and director of the Child Advocacy Program at Harvard Law School. With the growing forces of globalization, "why wouldn't this be expanding?" added Bartholet, a proponent of international adoption who adopted two boy from Peru in the 1980s.

As international adoption rates fall, there is one country that is sending more children abroad: The United States.


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