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The big picture: International adoptions fall in U.S.

Domestic adoptions are back to the same level they were before the financial crisis, but adoptions of children from foreign countries continued to decline in 2017 — down from 22,989 adoptions in 2004 to 4,714 in 2017.

Data: Department Of Health & Human Services, Department of State; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Between the lines: This drop comes mostly due to changes in policy in Russia, China and the Democratic Republic of Congo over the past several years, where a majority of international kids adopted by the U.S. come from.

Yes, but: 98% of international adoptions from China have involved children with special needs but policy changes, not directly related to adoption, has impacted U.S. adoption providers who sought to find a better home for these children, according to a spokesperson for the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs.

  • The Democratic Republic of Congo, meanwhile, resolved a backlog of exit permits, which led to a drop from 359 adoptions in 2016 to 26 in 2017.
  • In 2012, Russia banned adoptions by Americans following the death of a Russia-born 2-year-old who was locked in a hot car by his adoptive father in 2008.