Many families turn to adoption in order to complete their own families. Perhaps they lack the ability to have children of their own or they prefer to adopt a child that desperately needs a loving family.
Whatever the reason, people who adopt are creating loving families for children who don’t have one of their own already. Over the past five years, though adoption trends have changed dramatically.
Decrease in international adoptions
Despite the fact that many celebrities around the world, from Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt to Madonna, have adopted children from foreign countries over the past decade, international adoptions in general have become less frequent.
As of this month, the number of international adoptions has dropped more than 50 percent. While many people still desire to take in children from other countries, many nations have enacted stricter policies that make it more difficult — if not impossible — for most American families to bring a child from overseas to the US.
Number of kids in foster care
In the past five years, the number of children in foster care who are awaiting adoption has become smaller as well. In 2008 there were approximately 129,000 children in the foster care system hoping to be adopted. Today there are only 104,000 children in foster care in need of adoption.
More than a quarter million children are placed in the foster care system each year. More than half will end up returning to their biological parents and about 20,000 of the remaining children will simply age out of the system and end up on their own.
The age range of children in foster care is typically anywhere from less than one year of age to 21. Most of these kids are shuffled from one foster home to another until they age out.
How foster care is changing adoption
Today, many foster care systems are changing the way they work so that more children are placed in permanent home situations. This, it is hoped, will further alter the adoption trends of the past five years.
One such program is the Child Success NYC program, which provides intense training and support for aspiring foster parents. It also encourages permanent foster care placing from the start, rather than allowing consideration for permanent placement months after a child has been assigned a foster home.
Children in need of adoption often spend years in foster care. One of the trends that hasn’t changed in the past five years is the fact that most adoptive parents want a small child or infant. This means they tend to go for private adoptions and avoid the process with older children.