International Adoptions is an extremely complex area of law that changes rapidly. According to the AP the number of foreign children adopted by Americans fell 12 percent in the past year, reaching the lowest level since 1999 as some countries clamped down on the process and others battled with allegations of adoption fraud.
Figures for the 2008 fiscal year, released by the State Department on Monday, showed 17,438 adoptions from abroad, down from 19,613 in 2007. The all-time peak was 22,884 in 2004.
By far the biggest drop was for adoptions from China, which fell to 3,909 from 5,453 in 2007 and a peak of 7,906 in 2005. Among the factors: a rise in domestic adoptions as China prospers and tighter restrictions on foreign adoptions that exclude single people, older couples, the obese and those with financial or health problems.
As a result, waiting times to complete an adoption from China have increased in many cases to three or four years, a deterrent to many aspiring adoptive parents. China offers a faster timetable for foreigners willing to adopt children with physical or emotional disabilities.