Number of international adoptions in Belgium continues to drop

Number of international adoptions in Belgium continues to drop
Credit: Belga / N. Maeterlinck

The number of regulated international adoptions authorised by Belgium further dropped in 2020, continuing an ongoing decreasing trend.

Last year, Belgium’s international adoption service ACF recognised some 49 international adoptions, down from 200 regulated adoptions authorised abroad in 2016 and in 2017, according to reports from La Dernière Heure.

Since then, the number of international adoptions shrank to 75 in 2018, 58 in 2019, before dropping below 50 last year.

One of the main reasons behind this decline is the higher living standards in the children’s countries of origins, which resulted in internal adoption being more favourable, according to the Justice Department.

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Another factor is the closure of certain channels due to legal insecurity or the enforcement of the 1993 Hague Convention, which establishes international standards for intercountry adoptions, and which would oblige some countries to review their systems before international adoption can be resumed.

For adoptions regulated by the Convention, the main country of origin is Thailand, from which people living in Belgium adopted 12 children in 2020, down from 27 in 2016. Other children were adopted from South Africa, Colombia, Burkina Faso and Togo.

The number of international adoptions that are unregulated but are still recognised by the ACF is also dropping, as 34 adoptions went ahead in 2016, while in 2020, just 20 were recognised. Most children came from western countries including France, the Unites States and the United Kingdom.

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