Adopt American?

Kathryn Joyce registers a decline in domestic adoption rates:

[F]fewer women are willing to relinquish children for adoption if they find themselves pregnant at a young age, or while unmarried. A 2010 report from the Center for American Progress noted that annual domestic infant adoption rates have fallen so significantly that they are hard to track accurately. There is the simple fact that teenage pregnancies are down across the country. And for young women who do experience unplanned pregnancies, there are more choices available today. Although adoption is often presented as the pro-life alternative to abortion, the Center for American Progress report found that the greater acceptance of single parenthood is a stronger factor in fewer women choosing adoption than the availability of abortion, since both adoption and abortion rates have fallen, while rates of unmarried parenthood have dramatically increased.

Paradoxically, Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza notes that hundreds of American-born children are being raised by Canadian and European adoptive parents:

Over the past 10 years, Canadian parents have adopted more than 1,000 American-born children; another 300 are growing up in the Netherlands; and at least another 100 will be raised in the United Kingdom. … The best estimate, from Joan Heifetz Hollinger, a professor at the University of California-Berkeley School of Law, is that as many as 500 infants, most of whom are blackleave this country through outgoing adoption every year. When it comes to the adoption of black infants, the European market is all demand and America all supply. Social acceptance of single parenthood, the accessibility of contraception, and the legalization of abortion have drastically reduced the number of children available for adoption domestically in much of Western Europe, and U.S. agencies have emerged to meet the demand.

Buckwalter-Poza adds, “the perseverance of race-based preferences is troubling for a number of reasons, not least of which is that black children are less likely to be adopted than white”:

Any policy – official or not – that slows the adoption of non-white children is a worrying one. More than 100,000 thousand children become eligible for adoption in the US in a given year; on average, about 50,000 of these children will be adopted annually. Rough math finds a troubling truth: Approximately 46 percent of black children awaiting adoption were placed in 2012, compared to 58 percent of eligible white children over the same time period.

It can be argued that outgoing adoption is an indirect consequence of the commoditization of adoptees in the American market: White children are, in these terms, more “valuable,” and there is, as now-judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Richard Posner once put it, “a glut of black babies.” Foreign prospective parents, it seems, appear less concerned with a child’s race than American parents; in some countries, international, transracial adoption has become “the norm.” One legal scholar explicitly champions outgoing adoption as a “win-win” for black adoptees, arguing that they benefit when we allow less racist countries to adopt children of color.