GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Fewer families are bringing home children from other countries.
The U.S. State Department released its 2013 fiscal year report showing 7,094 adoptions from abroad last year.
That’s down from 8,668 in 2012 and a 69 percent decline from the high of 22,884 in 2004.
Russia’s ban on American parents adopting and stricter guidelines in other countries are believed to have contributed to the drop.
There’s about 500 kids in foster care right now in Kent County, about half of them are through the agency, D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s.
The organization’s executive director, Sharon Loughridge said they are seeing more interest from parents now that international adoptions are getting tougher in some countries.
Loughridge said she hopes it will encourage families to look locally for a child to adopt.
The center stresses not all of their foster kids are up for adoption, their first priority is to reunite kids with their families, when they can provide a safe and nurturing home.
When that’s not possible, they want to find a new home for the child.
“When you adopt locally, for example a child through our foster care system there is no expense to that,” Loughridge said. “Many times we will see families who become the foster family first.”
Loughridge said the wait for a child through the foster care system could be as little as a year, depending upon thecircumstances while sometimes international adoptions can take longer.
Loughride said D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s is always looking for more foster parents, especially for medically fragile children.