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ADOPTION NEWS CENTRAL
Robin Hilborn of Family Helper suggests which countries to adopt from
China still the Canadian favourite for intercountry
adoption: 2007 statistics
BY ROBIN HILBORN, Family Helper editor
(Jan. 6, 2009) International adoptions to Canada showed a small rebound after a low point in 2006, with China again the favourite country to adopt from.
In this analysis Robin Hilborn of Family Helper suggests which countries to adopt from.
In 2007 there were 1,713 children from abroad who found adoptive homes in Canada. Compared to 2006, that's a 12% increase, but still not enough to reverse the recent downward trend.
For a decade, international adoptions to Canada were stable, falling in the range of 1,800 to 2,200 a year:
1995: 2,010 1998: 2,222 2001: 1,874 2004: 1,955 2007: 1,713
Now, for the second year in a row, adoptions have dropped below the threshold of 1,800.
ADOPTIONS BY COUNTRY
In 2007 China was again the most popular by far with Canadian adopters. 658 children came from China to Canada, an increase of 8%. Still, adoptions from China haven't returned to the peak level of around 1,000 children a year in 2004 and 2005. China continues to limit foreign adoptions. It brought in restrictive new rules in May 2007 specifically to slow applications from foreigners wanting to adopt Chinese children. China narrowed the field of eligible adopters by shutting out single people and those morbidly obese or over 50 (unless adopting a special needs child).
With the slowdown in the Chinese adoption program, Canadians looked elsewhere, especially Ethiopia, part of a trend of more adoptions in Africa, from countries such as Ghana, Liberia and South Africa.
Adoptions from Ethiopia jumped markedly, moving that country from sixth to second place in the annual rankings. The 135 Ethiopian children adopted into Canada represented 74 more than the year before, an increase of 121%. Ethiopia was popular with adopters in five provinces: B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. The agency handling most of those adoptions was Canadian Advocates For the Adoption of Children, of Minnedosa MB. Executive Director Roberta Galbraith said, "I predict the wait times will go up and there will be more agencies there than can operate." She was quoted by Leslie Scrivener in the Sept. 13, 2008 Toronto Star article "Doors closing on foreign adoptions". Scrivener went on to say, "Some estimate that, because of AIDS and catastrophic drought, there may be 5 million Ethiopian orphans by 2010."
Also sharply up by the end of 2007 was Vietnam, from 34 to 86 adoptions, an increase of 153%. Subsequent events have cast a shadow over the chances of adopting from Vietnam. An April 2008 investigation by the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi uncovered irregularities such as forged documents, cash to birth mothers and children offered without parents' consent. The 2005 agreement authorizing adoptions between the U.S. and Vietnam was not renewed following its expiry on Sept. 1, 2008, temporarily closing Vietnam to U.S. adopters. Vietnam is still open to Canadians, but the fear is that Canada may follow the U.S. lead -- it may again suspend Vietnamese adoptions as it did from 2002 to 2005, over the same concerns about illegal practices. Vietnam is thus currently not a good bet for Canadian adopters.
Adoptions from the Philippines rose 70%, from 53 to 90. However the Philippines' InterCountry Adoption Board (ICAB) announced May 25, 2007 that it would temporarily not take applications from single people because of the long waiting list of singles. ICAB didn't say how long the suspension would last.
Other big increases were seen in Ukraine, up 100% (from 23 to 46) and Kazakhstan, up 260% (from 10 to 36). Relatively unchanged were Russia and the U.S.
Ukraine has a quota for international adoptions: for 2008 it was 1,453 applications from foreigners. Moreover the U.S. State Department reported on Dec. 4, 2008 that there are currently no healthy children (or children with minor, correctable health problems) under three years old and very few under six ... and the Ukrainian Adoption Authority has the right to refuse your application if there are no children available who meet the recommendation in your home study.
Prospective adoptive parents trying to choose a country might consider being guided by the wisdom of the crowd. Your chances of adoption success are best in a country where other people have already found success, China being the outstanding example. Focus on the countries at the top of the list, or those showing big increases: China, Ethiopia, Russia, U.S., Philippines and Kazakhstan.
You might want to think carefully before choosing a country where adoptions are slowing down, which suggests problems with the adoption process. For example, Haiti dropped 28% in one year, from 123 down to 89. (Foreign Affairs says Haiti is "relatively dangerous" to visit.) South Korea was down 53%, from 102 to 48. (The South Korean government has a goal of eliminating foreign adoptions by 2012).
Also, as you go lower in the popularity list, you tend to see more countries with longer delays and bigger bureaucratic hurdles to jump. Your adoption agency can give advice on which countries to consider.
The overall trend, however, is clear: international adoption is becoming harder as the options shrink. Waiting times are longer and children available for adoption tend to be older or have special needs and challenges. Countries are bringing in more stringent regulations on foreign adoptions, and putting emphasis on domestic adoption, in an effort to find permanent homes for children in their own country.
Five new countries appear in the Top 25 list for 2007: Armenia, Ecuador, Ghana, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Five countries from 2006 didn't make the top 25 in 2007: Albania, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia and Nigeria. For comparison purposes the table below retains those five, making a total of 30 countries in this Top 25 list.
Top 25 countries, by year
Source: 2007 statistics were obtained from CIC on Dec. 17, 2008 and analyzed
ADOPTIONS BY PROVINCE
Your choice of a country to adopt from may be swayed by seeing which countries are popular in your province. You could take advantage of an adoption agency in your province with experience in a particular country. You could also meet a group of successful adopters nearby with whom you could share information.
Ontario and Quebec remain the two leading destination provinces for international adoptions. In 2007 Ontario received 645 children from abroad. That was a big increase for Ontario, which in 2006 had 494 international adoptees. China accounted for an extra 36 and both Ethiopia and Vietnam were up 30.
Quebec was second, with 485 vs. 487 in 2006. There, Haiti dropped from 71 to 45, but Vietnam rose from 28 to 51. South Korea dropped from 52 to 20.
Third place British Columbia welcomed 263 international adoptees, the same as the year before. Alberta became home to 124 children from abroad, an increase of 17 from the year before -- there were almost as many Ethiopian children, 30, as Chinese children, 31.
For the 2006 Adoptions by Province and Country see Adoption Council of Canada.
Here is the breakdown by province of the top 25 countries in 2007.
Top 25 countries, by province
AGE AND GENDER
The figures we have comparing the number of girls and boys adopted are not as detailed as in the previous year. The CIC figures for 2006 (at Adoption Council of Canada) showed the age breakdown by individual country. For 2007 we have just totals for each year of age (see table below).
Children adopted from abroad were quite young: two-thirds were under two years old. As before, there were many more girls: 1,140 girls vs. 573 boys, with the excess of girls being under two years old. These come from Chinese orphanages, which have a high proportion of infant girls. (If adopting from China, you're almost guaranteed to get a girl under two.)
By age and gender
DECLINE IN THE U.S.
For comparison, here is a chart of 11 years of international adoptions to the U.S. Numbers have declined for the last four years. (The years are fiscal years: 2008 covers Oct. 1, 2007 to Sept. 30, 2008.)
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