According to The Globe:

The number of foreign children adopted by Americans plunged more than a quarter in the past year, reaching the lowest level since 1996 and leading adoption advocates to urge Congress to help reverse the trend.

China was the No. 1 source country in 2009 — but U.S. adoptions from there dropped to 3,001, compared with 3,909 in 2008. China has been steadily cutting back the numbers of healthy, well-adjusted orphans being made available for adoptions; a majority of Chinese children now available to U.S. adoptive families have special physical or emotional needs.

Johnson also said all parties who have tolerated corrupt adoption practices bore some of the blame for the dwindling numbers. “People in the practice of adoption worldwide have made ethical blunders that have cast a shadow over intercountry adoptions,” he said. “It’s highlighted how difficult it is for some of these countries to adequately supervise the adoption process, and led some countries to decide it’s just not worth the effort.”

Thomas DiFilipo, president of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services, predicts 2010 numbers to hover just below 10,000. That is a tremendous difference from 1985, when Korea alone sent away 8,837 children for adoption.

As well, the fact that the majority of children being adopted from China have special physical or emotional needs will have major implications for post-adoption services, and will likely shift the nature of discussion regarding Chinese transracial adoption, and possibly representations of transracially adopted Chinese children in the media.

The tapering off of some countries probably means that another outlet will widen; it’ll be interesting to see how Ethiopia changes in the coming years, and what the transnational adoption of Ethiopian children, as opposed to the domestic adoption of black children, implies about the racial, cultural and national preferences of (mostly white) adoptive parents. Related, what does it mean that adoptive parents are willing to adopt special needs children from China, but not so much special needs ethnic children in the United States?

So… is it “worth the effort”? As Jane Jeong Trenka asks, was her American education worth the cost of losing her homeland, birth family and Korean culture? (She asks this in her memoir, Language of Blood, but forgive me, I can’t give you the page number because I don’t have the book with me).

Who decides what’s “worth the effort”?

Read the article here.

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