Heightened awareness of child trafficking and improving economies abroad are making it harder for Americans to adopt foreign kids. US officials are taking a closer look at visa applications and discouraging adoptions from countries that don’t comply with a new international adoption agreement, USA Today reports. At the same time, China, Russia, and South Korea have begun encouraging more domestic adoptions.
Child welfare advocates say the new agreement will protect children as well as adoptive and birth parents. It may also be a boon to adoption-eligible kids currently living in American foster care—129,000 in 2006—as well as to orphans in Africa and disabled children abroad. Critics complain that the State Department has unfairly rejected or delayed proposed adoptions from Vietnam and Guatemala under the new guidelines.