Foreign Adoptions Plummet After Rising for Decades

Overseas adoptions drop by almost half while more black U.S. children are heading to families abroad

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James Quinton / WireImage

International adoptions have dropped sharply in recent years, in spite of high-profile adoptions by celebrities like Angelina Jolie, who adopted her son Maddox from Cambodia in 2002.

Overseas adoptions are slowing globally, due to greater regulations and growing opposition in countries like China and Russia.

The number of foreign adoptions nearly halved over the last decade, leading to long waiting times for families hoping to adopt children, particularly infants, CNN reports. The trend has prompted concerns that millions of orphans are set to remain in institutional care.

However, some argue that adopted children are often not orphans at all. They say families in developing countries are at risk of being exploited by traffickers keen to profit from demand in the West.

Meanwhile, the number of U.S. children being adopted by families overseas is rising, and most are black or mixed-race infants. Birth mothers are drawn to foreign families and believe their offspring will have a better chance of avoiding racism abroad.