International Adoption Statistics & Trends

Posted on 05/03/2010
In Adoption



Each year, thousands of US families adopt children from other countries. But international adoption statistics can vary somewhat drastically from year to year.

How many international adoptions are processed each year? What are the most popular countries to adopt from? What countries don’t allow American families to adopt? Take a look at some of the most popular international adoption statistics!

The International Adoption Process

International adoption is the process of being matched with a child from another country and bringing him or her home to live with you through permanent legal means.

The international adoption process can be lengthy and expensive, but ultimately an amazing, rewarding decision that impacts a family’s life together forever.

One of the first things prospective parents should look into is if the country they wish to adopt a child from is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. If the child is from a country that is party to the Convention, it will be known as a “Convention adoption” and has certain standards and safeguards to protect all parties involved in the adoption process.

Top 10 Most Popular Countries

Some countries make it easier for prospective parents from the US to go through the adoption process. Here are the international adoption statistics for the top 10 countries children were adopted from in the year 2009.

Top 10 Most Popular Countries for International Adoption

Country Number of Adoptions to the US
1. China 3,001
2. Ethiopia 2,277
3. Russia 1,586
4. South Korea 1,080
5. Guatemala 756
6. Ukraine 601
7. Vietnam 481
8. Haiti 330
9. India 297
10. Kazakhstan 295



Out of these 10 countries, China and India are party to the Hague Convention. Guatemala is also party to the Hague Convention, but is not currently processing any adoptions with US families at this time.

Adoption Alerts

The US State Department is responsible for issuing “adoption alerts,” which inform prospective parents of any suspensions of adoption processes with another country.

Recently, Russia halted adoptions by American families after an incident where a child was put on a trans-Atlantic flight by his adoptive family after they decided they did not wish to care for him anymore.

Other countries that have halted adoptions because of civil unrest or flaws in the adoption process currently include Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Nepal, Guatemala, Swaziland and Sierra Leone.

In more positive news, Haiti’s adoption authority has informed the US government that they are now accepting new adoption applications. Many US families offered to adopt or provide foster care for Haitian children displaced by the January 12 earthquake, but authorities worked for months to match the displaced children with their family members. Now applications are being accepted once again, and normal visa processing has resumed.

International Adoption Statistics Through the Last Decade

In the year 2009, 12,753 US families brought children from around the world into their homes.

While that sounds like a generous number, it is actually a steep decline from the average number of international adoptions over the last decade. From 2000 to 2008, the average number of international adoptions by US families was around 20,000 a year.

Hopefully the international adoption statistics for 2010 will show an increase of families giving deserving children from around the world a new home.


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