Churches Rally for Orphan Care as International Adoptions Drop to New Low

The number of international adoptions hit a historic low last year, despite growing attention toward orphan care among US evangelicals.

Americans adopted 5,372 children in the year ending September 2016, down from a 35-year low the 12 months before. The number of foreign adoptions annually has fallen to less than a quarter of the totals during peak years over a decade ago, with 22,884 adoptions recorded in 2004.

Last year, just over half of internally adopted children were boys (52%), making it the first time that more males than females were adopted into America, Pew Research Center reported this week. From 1999 to 2016, girls made up 61 percent of adoptees.

The shift can largely be traced to China; in 1999, 98 percent of the children adopted from China were girls. In 2016, it had flipped to 49 percent, partially due to China easing its one-child policy at the end of 2015.

Meanwhile, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) reported “eye-opening numbers” on how Christian investment in orphan care and adoption “continues to climb dramatically”:

Overall, charitable giving by Americans grew by a strong 4.1 percent in 2015, according to Giving USA. In that same period, support for Christian orphan care grew at more than three times that rate, rising 12.4 percent.

Christian giving to support adoption grew significantly as well, rising 8.4 percent over the prior year. Other investments in serving vulnerable children, including child sponsorships and children’s homes, also saw strong growth, with 7 percent and 9.8 percent increases respectively.

ECFA calculates that giving to Christian orphan ministries increased by more than 87 percent since 2010, while giving to Christian adoption ministries increased by more than 73 percent. “Christians aren’t only talking about how the Bible calls us to care for orphans,” stated ECFA President Dan Busby. “They are truly putting their money where their mouths are.”

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Christianity Today