- The Washington Times - Friday, December 6, 2002

The number of international adoptions reached a record level this fiscal year, with 20,099 children from other countries adopted here, according to State Department figures.
The number this year is triple that in 1992, when there were 6,472 such adoptions in this country.
Foreign adoptions should keep growing "for the foreseeable future," said Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute in New York City.
There's no sign that the larger sending countries are going to reduce their participation in adoption, he said. There's also "no sign that there are going to be fewer children who need homes or that the number of Americans who want to adopt is dropping."
The highest number of children 5,053 came from China this year, as was the case in fiscal 2000 and 2001.
Russia was the second-highest sending country, with 4,939 children adopted this year.
China and Russia are popular countries for adoption because they are amenable to adoptions, and China has an especially good system, with financial transparency and ethics in place, said Mr. Pertman, who has written a book, "Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming America."
Other top countries for adoption in 2002 were Guatemala, South Korea and the Ukraine, all of which had more than 1,000.
International adoptions rose and fell between 1989 and 1993 but steadily increased thereafter, according to State Department data, which is based on immigrant visas issued to orphans coming to the United States.
One of the reasons foreign adoptions have been climbing is the increasing unavailability of healthy white infants in the United States, Mr. Pertman said.
Fewer than 2 percent of unwed white mothers gave their children up for adoption in the mid-1990s, said a 1999 report issued by the National Center for Health Statistics. In contrast, 19.3 percent of white unwed mothers allowed their children to be adopted in 1973, the report said.
Foreign adoption allows American couples to adopt infants and toddlers. In 1998, the Immigration and Naturalization Service found that 46 percent of international adoptions were of children less than 1 year old and an additional 43 percent were between 1 and 4 years old.
A second significant reason foreign adoptions are growing is a new "historically unprecedented" willingness to adopt across racial, ethnic and cultural lines, Mr. Pertman said.
"People don't mind adopting children who don't look like them," he said. "As a couple adopts from China and the neighbors see that that's OK, then when you want to start a family, [foreign adoption] is OK."
Adoption from U.S. foster-care system is also at a record-high level, with 51,000 adoptions reported in fiscal 2000, the latest data available.
Most children adopted from foster care are older: 45 percent were aged 1 to 5, 35 percent were aged 6 to 10, and 16 percent were aged 11 to 15, according to Department of Health and Human Services data.
Reliable statistics have not been available on private and independent adoptions for many years. There were 47,700 adoptions of children by unrelated adults in 1975, the last year for data on these kinds of adoptions, according to the Donaldson institute.
Adoptions from foster care remain the least expensive, with costs ranging from nominal levels to $2,500, the institute says.
Adoptions of U.S. children by private or independent adoption professionals cost from $4,000 to $30,000, and foreign adoptions cost from $7,000 to $25,000, it says.

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