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Since 2004, the number of international adoptions has decreased nearly 50%, despite the media coverage of high-profile celebrities who have completed inter-country adoptions. While the question of what has caused such a steep decline begs to be asked, the answer lies within the ever-increasing list of rules and regulations imposed upon prospective parents by foreign officials.
According to the CRC, four principles must be maintained in international adoptions:
- Non-discrimination (CRC, Art 2);
- The child's best interest (CRC, Art 3);
- Right to life, survival and development (CRC, 6);
- Respect for the child's views (CRC, 12) (Mezmur, 2012).
But within these "best interest" standards, are certain countries taking advantage in a bid to keep their native children within their own borders? Take China, for instance. According to a recent CNN report, China implemented a lengthy list of rules for foreign adoptions. A handful of these rules prohibit adoptions by foreigners who are morbidly obese, homosexual, blind, single, or over the age of 50-all in a bid to protect the children, according to Chinese officials.
The result of these "best interest" policies, and the manipulation of rules by foreign officials has caused a steady increase in the number of orphans remaining in their home countries and a decline in the rate of foreigners looking to adopt internationally.
It is interesting to know that not only the United States Government is now offering financial breaks for adoption. Northwest and British Airways have an adoption fare that is up to 35% of their normal fare with flexible dates and several hotels in Moscow also offer a reduced rate. After receiving our referral for Katrina and being approved by the Russian Ministry of Education, we made our first, week long trip to Russia to meet Katrina and officially sign papers saying that we wanted to adopt her. Katrina was such a dear girl from the first time we met her there were no doubts that we would take her home, not that we weren't convinced of our plan beforehand, but at that point it became very real. On our return to Russia, we stayed two weeks until we had attended a Russian court, the American Embassy and Russian Consulate to complete final documentation for bringing her home. We visited Katrina every day for about two hours and by the time we were ready to fly home it felt like she was already getting to know us and becoming a part of our family.
This has been a unique experience to say the least. The girls get along well for the most part although I am the first to admit that they are still in the "honeymoon" stage of their relationship. The staff at the elementary school has been truly wonderful. Katrina spoke no English when we brought her in December of 2004, but they were able to use a hand held translator to communicate with her. Although they still need it at times, she has already significantly improved her communication.