International adoption statistics

Being in Guatemala made me wonder about the statistics for international adoption. Adoptions are closed here, of course, although several hundred cases are still pending. I found this blog post by Angela W on an adoption website, Adoption Under One Roof. In it, Angela W analyzes the 2009 statistics—the most recent available— in a way that even I found easy to understand.

Adoptions from Asia continue to make up the largest percentage of international adoptions, at 47%, while adoptions from Africa are the fastest-growing: 21% in 2009, up from 9% in 2007 and 13% in 2008. 

As Angela W points out, Homeland Security includes Guatemala in the North American statistics.  In 2007 and 2008, North American adoptions accounted for 27%. In 2009, that number dropped to 10%, due in large part to Guatemala’s closing. Angela W notes that boys and girls are adopted in nearly equal numbers when adoptions from China are removed from the equation.

It would be interesting to find statistics on the effect on countries where the rate of international adoption drops, such as Guatemala. Does the birth rate drop? (It is often alleged that international adoption causes a spike in birth rates.) Do birth mothers elect to keep their children or place them with other family members? Are the children relinquished to orphanages? What happens to the children who would have been adopted? That’s a statistic I would like to know.


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