Hundreds of millions of children across the world are destined to grow up on the streets and in institutions. One of the best solutions to this crisis is international adoption. However, adoptions to the United States have dropped by 75 percent over the last 14 years and international adoptions worldwide have dropped by over half. This downward trend is not slowing. Adoptions to the United States dropped by 13 percent from 2017 to 2018. As a result, every year tens of thousands of children are denied a family.
Unfortunately, the Department of State is implementing policies that will further reduce the number of international adoptions. Another factor contributing to the accelerated decline is over regulation. In 2004, when intercounty adoption peaked, it was reported that the Department of State employed 10 to 15 staff in the adoption division. In November of 2018, despite a 75 percent decline since 2004, it was reported that the adoption division employed 21 staff.
The Harvard Law School Child Advocacy Program (CAP), directed by Elizabeth Bartholet, is taking a leading role in confronting this humanitarian crisis. CAP is advancing legislation that “calls on the Department of State to report the deliberate denial of family life, including the refusal to place children in available adoptive homes, as a human rights violation in its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.” You can find out more about this initiative and CAP at https://cap.law.harvard.edu/cap-law-reform-projects/.
You can also sign a petition showing your members of congress and governement that you support every child’s right to a family at https://caplawharvard.salsalabs.org/childsrighttofamily/index.html.
— Eric Freeby is the current Adoption Deputy Director of the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys