As waiting times increase, fewer choosing adoption


Waiting times of up to five years have would-be parents giving up plans to adopt, study finds

Even though fewer Danes are applying to adopt, the decline is less dramatic than in other countries

Fewer people in Denmark today adopt children from other countries, mirroring a general global trend. However, the downturn here is less dramatic than elsewhere, according to a new report by the National Board of Adoption.

Adoptions of foreign children by Danes fell by 20 percent between 2004 and 2010, but they dropped by 44 percent in the US, and by 26 percent in France in the same period, according to the study.

In 2010, 419 foreign children were adopted by Danes, as opposed to 527 in 2004.

“From a global perspective the number of international adoptions grew in the period 1998-2004, but began to wane after 2004, when the volume of international adoptions reached its highpoint,” the National Board of Adoption reports.

Not only are fewer Danes adopting children internationally, but the ones who still do are waiting longer.

In 2010, adoptive parents in Denmark waited an average of two years and ten months from the time their applications were approved until they brought their children home – eight months longer, on average, than in 2009.

Most strikingly, single applicants waited seven months longer on average than couples did in 2010. Between 2004 and 2009 waiting times for singles and couples varied by just one or two months.

Public broadcaster DR reports that waiting times for adopting children from particular countries are considerably longer.

Danes waiting to adopt children from Bulgaria, Colombia, the Czech Republic and India typically wait three or four years today, while those applying for children from China wait an average of five years, according to DR’s sources.

By contrast, waiting times for Kenyan children are short, but few Danes pursue those adoptions, because the Kenyan government requires foreign adoptive parents to live there for a minimum of six months.

The National Board of Adoption also found that both adopted children and their adoptive parents are getting older.

Whereas in 2004, 31 percent of children adopted from another country were under the age of one when they were brought to Denmark, in 2010 only four percent were. The number of adoptive parents over age 45 has also risen in the past few years, the study found.

Join the debate – join us on Twitter or Facebook, or leave a comment below