November is National Adoption Month. The month is marked by adoption-related articles and discussions. For members of the triad (adoptees, birth families, and adoptive families), it's a time to remember our paths to family. For adoption professionals, it's a moment to take stock of the past year and think about changes and trends.

Posted by Betsy Hochberg
This article was first published by Resolve New England.

babiesIn 2004, international adoptions in the U.S. reached an all time high with 22,990 visas issued to bring children home. Since 2004, each year has seen a steady drop. The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and the Child Welfare League of America reports international adoption has fallen, reaching a low of 9,319 in 2011. Adoption professionals expect this number to decline further in coming years.

The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption and the subsequent Hague Treaty has impacted adoption. This international treaty is expected to result in better care of orphaned children and establish a higher standard of practice in adoptions. In the short term however, slower adoption processing is expected as countries struggle to comply.

In-country changes are another factor affecting international adoptions. Poverty has always been the "driver" of international adoption. As the standard of living has improved in many countries, in-country adoption has begun to thrive. As a result, fewer babies are available for international adoption and those who are tend to be harder to place because they are older or have a medical issue.

As the traditional "sending countries" in international adoption are less active, other countries are beginning to increase international placements. Ethiopia and several other African nations are now placing healthy children of all ages. Russia continues to place children of all ages.

JF&CS Adoption Resources offers a variety of programs to assist individuals and couples pursuing adoption. We are licensed in Massachusetts to provide domestic and international adoption services, as well as a wide range of post-adoption services.

betsy hochbergBetsy Hochberg, LICSW is director of Adoption Resources, the adoption agency of JF&CS. She has held this position for the past 12 years and has been a clinical social worker for 35 years. She began her adoption work 25 years ago after adopting the first of her two daughters. Betsy is a board member of Resolve of New England and the Adoption Professional Association of Massachusetts (APAM). When not at JF&CS, Betsy enjoys walking her Bernese Mountain dog, reading, and spending time with her husband, daughters, and granddaughter.