Trends in international adoptions from Ethiopia

Last week, I was reading an AP article on international adoption by David Crary that examined how Ethiopia’s adoption trend is in stark contrast to many other countries.  Crary highlighted that in 2004 when international adoptions peaked in the U.S., Ethiopia only accounted for 284 adoptions.  In 2010, the U.S. Department of State projects adoptions from Ethiopia will total 2,500.  At the same time, international adoptions in general have fell about 50% since 2004.

Ethiopia emerged in 2006 as one of the top five sending countries, which was the first time an African nation was in the top five.  Since then, the number of Ethiopian children adopted by U.S. families has steadily increased.  As Ethiopian adoptions have increased, China has implemented strict international adoption regulations and promoted domestic adoption within China, resulting in Ethiopia being near surpassing China and becoming the top sending country.

Last month, CCAI led a Congressional delegation to Ethiopia to meet with government leaders in an effort to build relationships between the U.S. and Ethiopia and ultimately promote positive adoption and orphan care policy.  As a result of the trip, Crary’s article states that Ambassador Susan Jacobs, Special Advisor for Children’s Issues for the U.S. Department of State, said that she was encouraged by meeting officials in Ethiopia because they are willing to work with the U.S.  This is important as Ethiopia is not yet party to the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption.

This increase in international adoptions from Ethiopia is not specific to the U.S.  While the U.S. is the most popular receiving country from Ethiopia, across the board adoptions from Ethiopia have increased.  Trailing the U.S., France adopted 445 Ethiopian orphans in 2009, followed by Italy (346 adoptions), the Netherlands (39 adoptions), Sweden (37 adoptions), and Finland (17 adoptions).

Per capita, Sweden is ranked number 1 for the number of international adoptions from any country according to their population.  Italy, France, and Finland all have higher per capita international adoption rates.  The U.S. is ranked 12th, even though by the numbers, significantly more children are adopted by U.S. families than any other country.