NEW YORK — The number of foreign children adopted by Americans has dropped for the third year, a consequence of tougher policies in the two countries — China and Russia — that over the past decade have supplied the most children.
Figures for the 2007 fiscal year, provided by the State Department on Friday, showed that foreign adoptions have fallen to 19,411, down about 15 percent in the past two years.
The number of foreign adoptions had more than tripled since the early 1990s, reaching a peak of 22,884 in 2004 before dipping slightly in 2005, then falling to 20,679 in 2006.
China cuts back
Adoptions from China, the No. 1 source country since 2000, fell to 5,453. That's down by 1,040 from last year and well off the peak of 7,906 in 2005. Two main factors lie behind this: an increase in domestic adoptions as China prospers, and tighter restrictions on foreign adoptions that give priority to married couples between 30 and 50 and exclude single people, the obese and others with financial or health problems.
One consequence, adoption agencies say, is the waiting time to complete an adoption from China has more than doubled to 24 months or more.
Adoptions from Russia also dropped over the past year — from 3,706 to 2,310. Russian authorities suspended the operations of all foreign adoption agencies earlier this year and have been reaccrediting them gradually.
Adoptions from South Korea and Haiti also declined significantly, although the drop was partially offset by big increases in adoptions from Guatemala , Ethiopia and Vietnam
Tom DeFilipo, president of the Joint Council on International Children's Services, said adoptions from Guatemala could decline over the coming year as its government — under intense international pressure — tries to impose tough regulations on adoption that was widely viewed as susceptible to fraud and extortion.
The State Department has advised Americans not to initiate adoption applications for Guatemala while that overhaul is under way.