By Jennifer Shaw
International adoption has been declining at an alarming rate. Nearly 23,000 international children were adopted by U.S. families in 2004, but in 2016 less than 4,000 children were adopted, a drop of 80 percent. If this trend continues, international adoption will cease to exist by 2022. The United Nations estimates that 15 million children have lost both parents. Thousands upon thousands of children are waiting in institutions for families they can call their own. Here are five reasons I think international adoption needs rescuing:
Adoption saves lives
This may seem to go without saying, but I find that many people who have not looked into international adoption do not understand that for many vulnerable children, adoption to another country is their only chance to have a family. And in many cases, where medical care is poor or unavailable, it is their only chance to live. Our son, Noah, had been waiting with his paperwork completed for over five years. With his critical heart condition, no one had stepped forward, and even if a family in his birth country had been open to adopting him, the medical care he needed was not available there. He would have died without international adoption. Since joining our family at age 9, he has had life-saving surgery, a complete change in his quality of life physically, and the security and love of a permanent family. While I personally believe that children should stay with their birth families or be adopted within their birth culture if possible, the fact remains that there are a significant number of children for whom this is just not feasible. These children need international adoption, and we need to put the welfare of vulnerable children at the top of our priority list as a nation.