FILED IN: Social Issues

Adoption rates increasing at an alarming rate

Myriad of reasons why so many children are waiting in foster care to be adopted

Adoption statistics show that adoption rates are increasing all over the world. When we see this type of rise in statistics, especially in an area that is so critical it brings several questions to mind.

There are over 100,000 in American children in the foster care system awaiting adoption. Photo via Kevin Rohr.

Why is there such a huge increase in the numbers of children in foster care or in need of adoption? What action plan could be taken to control the rising numbers and who should be held responsible?

Lack of education – Some school programs are to vague on the issue of Sex Education and even though the topic may be discussed it is only in general and there isn’t much guidance as to abstinence. With state and federal laws putting so many restrictions on how schools are to handle sex education it is primarily up to the parent to give the education and the knowledge of how to abstain, use safe sex practices if they are active and to some, look, and listen. Stop and think about the consequences of having a child you cannot care for. Look at the number of children already in the foster care system and think about what you will be doing if you add one more child into an already over crowded system. Morals and values are extremely important and when we take the responsibility to have children it is also our responsibility to teach them to have those high morals and values, to respect themselves and others and to strive for positive results for the future.

Poor living conditions – Poverty and the economic strain that faces not just one country but the world plays a major role in the number of children facing adoption today. When the world wide economy began to falter families lost their homes, divorce cases escalated and the lack of money to care for families caused a major break up of the traditional family environment. Single parents especially fall under this category. The heartbreak of having to place your child in foster care because you cannot provide for them is terrifying. Especially if you are not sure you will “ever” be able to provide.

Child Abuse – There are over 3 million child abuse reports in the US every year. This is a major issue with children who enter the foster care programs and eventually are adopted to new families. This is just the number that are documented, there are at least 6 million reports not just actual cases.

Accidents or death in the family- Large numbers of children in foster care are not there due to lack of caring or neglect, or to the woes of our environmental and financial situations. They are there due to the loss of one or both parents. This could be from natural causes or from accidents that cause the death of one or both parents. In some cases there are other family members who can take the children but in some cases there are not. Foster care services try to keep siblings together during the adoption process but, due to the overwhelming strain on families today, sometimes they can only take one.

Lets look at the affects of adoption on children. Some children cope quite well to adoption and others do not. Grief over the loss of parents and or siblings can take hold of even the youngest of children.

Some adopted children may feel abandoned or neglected and have questions as to why they were given up or what was so wrong with them that their own parents did not want them. Please remember this is not true for everyone. Only some experience these types of issues.

Educational issues and relationship issues may arise from children who are adopted or living in foster care. They may not relate well with others due to lack of self esteem, fear of being abandoned again or anger over being in the system with no control over what happens to them or their siblings if they have them.

Knowing a child’s medical history can in some cases be paramount to helping them later in life should they become ill. If you are the adoptive parent it would be advised to find out as much as possible about the birth parents. Note: due to privacy laws this may not always be easily obtained.

The US State Department estimates that over 11,000 children from foreign countries were adopted into US families just in the year 2010 alone. The top five countries that the largest number of adoptions have been obtained are: The People’s Republic of China with an estimated 3400, Ethiopia with and estimated 2600, Russia with just over 1000, South Korea adoptions totaled 863 and the Ukraine came in at number five with 445 adoptions to the US. Please note that these statistics show a decline in adoptions to the US but not a decline in the over all world wide statistics of children waiting to be adopted.

According to the US State Department there are at least 250,000 children who enter foster care in the US alone, every year. The responsibility falls on everyone to take charge of this alarming issue and help to bring down the numbers of so many children needing love and guidance.

What can we do to help change the growing number of children in the adoption system? We can be proactive in our communities. Join Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, join your local church groups and support as many of your local organizations as possible to help in the fight against the enormous burden on our future leaders and parents. They need our support now to help them change the cycle.