I will attempt to answer this question, although the answer comes in several parts. This has turned out to be a much longer post than anticipated and should almost be on one of my other pages, as it borders on the process of adopting.
I have delayed over a week in posting this but think it speaks truthfully of the process.
In regards to international adoption, there have been some articles published recently that try to outline the challenges and explain what prospective parents are presently facing. The challenges seem to be thanks in part due to the Hague convention and UNICEF (same as link at end of paragraph). On one level I sort of understand why countries would want to keep their children within their own country but when you're involved in this process it doesn't seem fair when adoptive famlies can provide loving, caring homes. Finding families in developing countries to adopt children or become foster families might be challenging; however, it does keep children "at home". It also stops many of the concerns regarding baby trafficking that have arisen lately with a handful of countries. I couldn't imagine waking up every morning to face my child and knowing that his or her birth family were forced by ruthless individuals to sell their child. To be in the position of having to sell one of your children to feed the rest of your family is unimaginable. This said though, being one of many prospective parents, it is heart breaking to think children are living in orphanages until 4, 5, or 6 plus years of age. Is it really advantageous to these children to grow-up in this kind of environment? Many of these orphanages are staffed by loving, caring individuals who do their utmost for the children in their care and this we all aprreciate but it isn't quite the same as having a loving family. By having to wait longer to adopt children, prospective parents adopting older children face greater challenges in regards to attachment as well as missing out on important formative years. Caught in trying to decide whether to raise the age of the child I am willing to accept, the difficult in and decline of international adoption has a direct impact on me. There are very few countries accepting applications from married couples for babies or toddlers, and far fewer that will accept single applicants. Those that do are usually for older children. I will not be coming home with an 8 or 9 month old like some of the women whose blogs I follow. This breaks my heart but I have moved on for being a parent is something I really want. I am now focused on around 3 years of age. For further reading on international adoption you can read the following articles. The first article I have posted before and is from the Financial Times. It outlines one of their journalist's struggles with internatonal adoption in the UK. More recently a retired colleague gave a mutual friend an article from the Globe and Mail. I read the article in print copy but found the comments left after the on on-line version very interesting to read. It took a while to read all the comments left by readers and 'Northern Princess' certainly has some strong views but obviously no experience with the system. A third article which explains UNICEF's views can be found in the Washington Times. Here again is Unicef's position on inter-country adoption if you didn't read it above.
In regards to domestic adoptions there are two kinds. Those from a private agency and those from the Ministry. There seem to be fewer adoptions from private agencies or websites such as Canada Adopts. I attended a meeting in the fall where a birth mother involved in a very successful open adoption spoke and said she was able to "pick" a mixed-race couple that matched the mixed-race of her baby. This kind of win-win situation where the birth mother is able to choose the adoptive family is a wonderful story for all three parties, the birth mother, adoptive parents and child. As a single prospective mother however, there is less chance with domestic adoption but one can always hold out hope. My fingers are crossed for a connection with a woman considering giving her baby up for adoption, (birth mothers aren't always young, unwed teenagers), who was raised in a happy, loving caring home by a single mother and is quite willing for her baby to raised the same way but perhaps doesn't have the means or support to do this herself. One of the reasons for the decline in numbers of domestic adoptions are due to the many programs available to teens to stay in school, complete their education and bring their baby to school. Don't get me wrong as a teacher I see the merit in this and think this is better than what happened in the not so distant pass where teens were forced to give their babies up (article from Vancouver Sun) but as a waiting parent it decreases my chances of becoming a mum. Also, nobody tells these young women that after they leave school the welfare they will receive will put them below the poverty line, especially in BC, and thus has society really helped this woman and her baby. Until our provincial government fully supports welfare and takes an interest in child poverty, heck I think BC has one of Canada's highest rates, is this really fair to these women and their children?
In the comments left by readers to the Globe and Mail article above, there are many people that think prosepctive parents should adopt from the ministry or social services. What these people don't realize is that this is not any easy process either. To adopt directly from the ministry, one has to be willing to take on a significant level of special needs or wait a very long time to start the process. It is easy to be made to feel some guilt for not taking on a child with special needs but, whether single or a couple I think knowing one's limitations in this area is very important. A prospective parent or couple can work with a private agency and then check to see what the ministry has available, knowing that your homestudy at some point will have to be converted to a SAFE ministry format if a match is found. As several prospective parents leaving comments on the Globe and Mail article said, a significant number of children in care and that are eligible for adoption are of First Nations ancestry and thus only eligible to be adopted by people with First Nations ancestry. To non-Canadians following this blog, this perhaps stems from Canada's difficulty with the residential school system. Applications and special exemptions can be made in certain cases but the process is long and hard. Many of the other children in care who are eligible for adoption are older and may have a history that poses challenges for them in the adoption process.
The lack of inter-provincial adoption as made in some comments is also frustraing as although expensive, travel across the country to keep connection with birth family members is not impossible. The privacy concerns and waiting children profiles also vary greatly from province to province and kudos to Alberta's waiting children list that includes photos and video vignettes. The British Columbia list seems to be seldom updated (take Anita born in 1999 and in Grade three at 12 or 13 years of age) and thus is most frustrating! I would be more than happy to check this list on a regular basis if it were kept up to date so as to give these children a chance. I have pointed this out to several people but our infamous Premier of BC continues to preach her "Families First" policy. Please Premier Clark tell Anita why her profile isn't up to date so as to increase her chance of finding a "forever family"!