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May 2013Vol. 14, No. 4Reconsidering Intercountry Adoption

In January 2011, UNICEF estimated that the global orphan population had increased to more than 150 million children, up from 132 million in 2008, with 18 million orphaned by both parents. In comparison, there are 900,000 Americans seeking to adopt and approximately 10,000 intercountry adoptions in the United States every year.

In light of declining intercountry adoption rates and the increasing number of orphaned children worldwide, American author and Professor Christopher Balding of Peking University Graduate School of Business in Shenzhen, China, set out to shed light on this growing disparity. His article appears in the March 2013 issue of Adoption Advocate, a publication by the National Council for Adoption.

Balding utilizes data from the 2006–2008 National Survey on Family Growth (conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), the USAID/UNICEF Demographic and Health Surveys, and United Nations and U.S. Census Bureau statistics. He examined the dangers faced by orphaned children across the world, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. The article discusses the dire consequences—for children—of restricting or closing intercountry adoption programs and the gap between the number of orphans who lack safe, permanent families and the number of international adoptions that occur in the United States. Data and a graph that underscores this orphan crisis are also presented. 

"Reconsidering Intercountry Adoption: Who Wants to Adopt and Who Could Be Adopted" is available on the National Council for Adoption website: