Adoption USA. A Chartbook Based on the 2007 National Survey of Adoptive Parents. Children Adopted From International Sources


This group includes children adopted from countries other than the United States. Typically, the adoption is facilitated by a private adoption agency. International adoptions had increased from about 15,000 to over 22,000 children in 2004. Since 2004, international adoptions have been steadily decreasing, to below 18,000 in 2008.17 According to the 2007 NSAP, this group is somewhat smaller than either of the domestic adoption groups: (See Appendix Table 1 on page 56.)

  • Numbering at about 444,000, children adopted internationally comprise 25 percent of all adopted children. Of these,
  • 128,000, or 29 percent, have special health care needs.

As of 2007, six out of ten internationally adopted children had been adopted from Asia, with over half of them (33 percent of all international children) coming from China. In 1979, China introduced a population control policy that generally restricted married, urban couples to having one child. This policy, in combination with a Chinese preference for male children, has contributed to the large number of girls adopted from China by American parents.18 Largely because of the high proportion of girls adopted from China, only one out of three internationally adopted children are male.

Many children adopted internationally have lived in congregate care facilities (70 percent) prior to living with their adoptive families. International adoption expenses are significantly higher than those for other types of adoption, with expenses of $20,000 or more for nearly half of this group of children. Correspondingly, internationally adopted children are more likely than other types of adopted children to live in households with incomes over four times the poverty threshold.

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