When the United States implemented the Hague Treaty on Intercountry Adoption in 2008, the number of agencies initially accredited was 272. The Department of State, Office of Children’s Issues’ favorite mantra is “The Department recognizes and appreciates the vital role accredited and approved adoption services providers play in the intercountry adoption process.” If they appreciated us any more, we would all be banned from helping orphans find forever families. Instead, there are still 98 accredited agencies who have survived the Department of State’s “appreciation and recognition”.
But more important than the non-profit adoption agencies who are no longer able to help orphans from around the world, the number of orphans being placed in loving U.S., families has declined from over 24,000 in 2004 to less than 2,000 in 2020. We can only speculate how much further this number has fallen for fiscal year 2021 ending September 30, 2021. How much more appreciation and recognition can we stand. At least the Department of Children’s Issues has been able to maintain its healthy staffing levels.
The scandal of blaming the withdrawal from Afghanistan for the delay in appointing new accrediting entities is not at all surprising. Although it should never be an either/or proposition, it would be “appreciated” if orphans available for adoption would have the same chance at coming into the United States as those unaccompanied children being brought in at great expense by “unaccredited” cartels. If the government would just be transparent with the rules, perhaps we could increase the opportunities for orphans without the exorbitant cost of government approved accreditation. Since adoptive parents have a stake in the accreditation of their agencies, they deserve an answer from OCI and the Department of State about when the two organizations which have applied to be accrediting agencies will receive a response.