CBNNews.com - Less foreign children are being adopted by Americans, as prospective parents face financial struggles and outside government restrictions.
The State Department reported that the number of overseas children taken in by parents in the U.S. went from nearly 23,000 in 2004 to just over 17,000 in 2008.
Experts also predict the number of foreign adoptions in 2009 could drop by 5,000 more children.
"This is a difficult economic time, and people don't add to their family when they are worried about losing their job or their home," Linda Brownlee, executive director of the Adoption Center of Washington, told the Washington Times.
Greater Struggles Overseas
Brownlee is now urging Americans to realize that while the U.S. faces financial difficulties, the struggles are even greater overseas.
"It is more difficult for families to keep their children in struggling countries, and more children end up in orphanages," Brownlee explained. "When families adopt from an orphanage, they often continue supporting in some way the orphanage, making it a little bit better."
Lower adoptions in Russia and China accounted for most of the 2008 decline.
Stricter regulations also account for the decline. Russian officials have placed tighter regulations on adoption agencies in recent years after fears of negligent parents. The country also has failed to sign onto the Hague Adoption Convention, an agreement that sets international standards for adoptions between countries.
High cost of foreign adoptions has also turned parents away.
Dr. Jane Aronson, the self-proclaimed "Orphan Doctor," says it's more important now than ever to continue funding to adoption agencies and groups working with orphans in other countries.
"We need solutions to help the children left behind," she said.