Intercountry Adoption Flows from Africa to the U.S.: A Fifth Wave of Intercountry Adoptions?



This article addresses whether there is the beginning of a fifth wave of intercountry adoptions (ICAs) from Africa to the United States (U.S.). ICAs function as a “quiet migration” of children [Weil (1984)International Migration Review 18(2):276–293; Lovelock (2000)International Migration Review 34 (3):907–949; Selman (2002)Population Research and Policy Review 21:205–225]. U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) data from 1971 to 2009 indicate that there were 421,085 ICAs to the U.S. Tarmann (2003:2, reported that in 2000, U.S. parents completed one ICA for every 200 births. In the past, top sending countries have followed flows from Europe, South America, and Asia. INS data are used to analyze the increase in the intercountry adoptees from Africa from 1996 to 2009. Similar Hague Convention data are used for the comparison of the number of ICAs from Africa to other top recipient nations. Demographic and economic data are used to support the suggestion that ICAs, similar to other migratory flows, are from developing to developed countries.