WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., this week took to the Senate floor to discuss the troubling decline in intercountry adoption in the United States and the long-running obstruction by officials at the U.S. State Department against the practice.
“I am here to say to my colleagues today that intercountry adoption is in real trouble, and much of the reason that intercountry adoption is in trouble is coming from our own Federal policies, from unelected bureaucrats, particularly at our own Department of State,” Wicker said.
Wicker pointed to recent figures that show a precipitous drop in the rate of intercountry adoptions in the United States. From 2004 to 2019, adoptions fell 87 percent, from 23,000 to below 3,000 in 15 years.
Wicker pointed to the “clear and consistent bias” by the U.S. State Department’s Office of Children's Issues (OCI) and its adoption accrediting body, the Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity.
“It saddens me to say this, but career bureaucrats in the State Department have deliberately obstructed the adoption process with new fees, new requirements that amount to red tape, and unrealistic standards on foreign governments.” Wicker continued. “This has been done by design, and the results are devastating.”
In his remarks, Wicker called upon his colleagues on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to hold an oversight hearing to review the State Department's role in intercountry adoption, to examine the allegations of bias against intercountry adoption, and to hear from accrediting agencies and other stakeholders about their experiences. He also urged the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to review allegations raised against the OCI.
“Let's not neglect our duty in correcting the situation we find ourselves in and, once again, becoming the country that provides welcoming, loving outreach to children to be part of a forever American family,” Wicker concluded.
Read the full transcript of Wicker’s remarks here in the Congressional Record.