International Adoptions

News, information and statistics about international adoptions and the black market in child adoptions from foreign countries. Data collected from security agencies and other public information sources.

In 2011, there were an estimated 25,000 international adoptions around the world, down from the 45,000 adoptions that took place in 2004. The decline was attributed to a global crackdown on illegal adoptions and baby trafficking.

In the United States, a little over 9,000 children and babies were adopted from foreign countries, down 60 percent from 2004. The cost to adoption a baby for parents in the United States is between $20,000 to $40,000.

Guatemala was previously a major source of babies for the international adoption market, providing up to 4,000 babies in 2006. Due to corruption, the United States is no longer allowing its citizens to adopt from Guatemala.

Source:  Associated Press, “International adoptions drop amid fraud crackdowns,” Google News, May 10, 2012.

Police in China reported rescuing 8,660 children and 15,458 women from human trafficking activities in 2011.

3,200 human trafficking gangs were broken up by police in 2011.

In addition, Chinese police reported that over 2,000 children were abducted and sold for adoption during the year.

Source:  AFP, “China frees 24,000 abducted women, kids in 2011,” Google News, March 11, 2012.

In fiscal year 2008, parents in the United States adopted 4,123 from Guatemala, making the country the number one source of international adoptions in the U.S.

Due to concerns over corruption, bribery, and child trafficking, Guatemala changed its polices regarding adoptions.

In fiscal year 2011, only 32 children were adopted from Guatemala by U.S. parents.

Source: Alan Greenblatt, ” Fewer Babies Available For Adoption By U.S. Parents,” NPR, November 17, 2011.


The United States Department of State quoted news reports in China that estimated as many as 20,000 children may be kidnapped every year and put up for adoptions. Most of the children were reported to be adopted within the country.

Source: John Leland, “For Adoptive Parents, Questions Without Answers,” New York Times, September 16, 2011.

Unwanted babies are reported to be sold for $4,520 to $6,450 (750,000 to 1 Million Nigerian Naira) to brokers in Nigeria. Many of the women who sell their babies hide their pregnancy from their husbands.

Source: Ishola Balogun, “Baby factories: How pregnancies, deliveries are framed,” Vanguard, September 2, 2011.

2007 was the last year that parent in the United States could legally adopt children from Guatemala. The practice ended that year due to illegal adoption and child trafficking concerns. Other developed countries previously halted adoptions from Guatemala in 2002.

In 2007, there were 4,726 Guatemalan children who were adoption by United States couples. The attorneys involved in the process in Guatemala made about $35,000 per case.

In 2011, the Guatemalan government announced that it will begin reviewing adoptions cases from that time period to find cases where the child trafficking.

  Source: Meredith Hoffman, “Amid Allegations of Human Trafficking, Guatemala to Review Adoptions,” New American Media, August 24, 2011.

Between 1999 and 2006, at least 16 children from Longhui County in Southern China were illegally abducted by state officials. The children are believed to have been sold to adoption agencies.

Local residents were quoted by the New York Times as saying that local government officials would use babies as a source of revenue by charging $1,000 in fines for violations of the one-child policy or other governmental regulations. When parents were unable to pay the fine, which was more than 5 times the average yearly salary of a local family, the officials would take the child and sell it to an international adoption agency.

Foreign parents who adopted a Chinese child are required to donate $5,400 to the orphanage.

Source: Sharon LaFraniere, “Chinese Officials Seized and Sold Babies, Parents Say,” New York Times, August 4, 2011.

1,092 Russian children were adopted by US families in 2010, down from over 5,800 adoptions in 2004.

Russian officials have claimed that at least 17 Russian children have died due to domestic violence committed by their American families.

In total, there are around 250,000 Russian children living in orphanages in Russia.

Source: “US and Russia agree on rules to make adoptions safer,” BBC News, July 13, 2011.

After the Civil War in Spain in 1936 to 1939, an estimated 30,000 babies were stolen from their parents and sold to parents.

Often, the babies were taken at birth while the mother was told that the baby were stillborn.

Source: Associated Press, “Spain probes 849 cases of alleged baby trafficking,” Google News, June 17, 2011.

In a country in China, government officials paid families $155 for children who were turned over to the welfare agency under the guise of the one child policy.

The agency then received $3,000 per child when the child was put up for adoption in the international adoption market.

Source: AFP, “China probes child trafficking, adoption link,” Google News, May 11, 2011.