NOTE! This site uses cookies

By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more detalis, see Read more


What are you looking for?

Child adoption in Catalonia: International figures fall while domestic numbers increase

Around 4,000 Catalan families are waiting to complete an adoption process. International child adoptions in Catalonia have fallen by 30% over the last five years in Catalonia whereas local adoption rates have risen.


16 March 2012 03:56 PM


ACN / Marta Lacima

Barcelona (ACN).- International child adoptions in Catalonia have fallen by 30% over the last five years in Catalonia whereas local adoption rates have risen. The Director of the Catalan Institute for Adoption, Núria Canal, told ACN that the current international adoption drop shows that different countries have improved their systems to protect the under-18s, they have changed their laws and criteria, which have become much more demanding. Applications for international adoptions have decreased by 55% in Catalonia over the last five years, whereas national ones have increased by 28%.

International adoptions, a social phenomenon in Catalonia

Adoption in Catalonia has become a social phenomenon over the last decade, especially international adoptions, which reached historical maximum figures in 2004. The following year, international adoptions started to fall in line with the global situation. This led most families to choose domestic adoptions.

The fall in the number of international adoptions is especially relevant in the case of China, where there are 63% less adoptions than five years ago. The number of applicant families for an adoption in China has hugely decreased: from 303 in 2007 to 20 in 2011. According to Canal, the Government of China has increased and levelled the requirements and, consequently, whereas before \u201Cthe stipulated period to wait was less than a year, now it is between six or seven years\u201D. During 2007, 1,858 applications to adopt foreign children were registered, whereas in 2011 this figure was just 827, 55% less. As for individual countries, Russia has dropped from 536 to 243 and Ethiopia from 342 to 108, whereas Colombia has increased from 78 to 110 and Morocco from 39 to 68.

The number of international adoptions has dropped by 30% in Catalonia, from 880 in 2007 to 614 last year. The countries which brought most kids to Catalonia were Russia (265), China (89), and Ethiopia (78).

International adoptions, \u201Cless needed\u201D

Núria Canal told ACN that nowadays international adoption \u201Cis very complex due to the huge number of elements that influence this decision and the changing global situation\u201D. Lots of native countries \u201Care changing laws and criteria\u201D and \u201Cevery year more native countries are developing and improving their national system for the protection of children\u201D. \u201CThis makes international adoption less needed\u201D, she concluded.

China: from one year to seven

The case of China is paradigmatic due to the drop both in applications and adoptions. Last year only 20 families asked for the adoption of a Chinese child, whereas four years ago this figure stood at 303. According to Canal, this happened because of the changes that the country has undergone. These changes have led to a situation where \u201Cif before waiting time was less than a year, nowadays it is six or seven years and families know that. Not everyone can wait this long\u201D.

Few adoptions of Catalan children but lots of applications

As for national adoptions, while 599 applications were registered during 2011, only 141 adoptions actually took place, two more than during 2007, when the number of applications was lower, at just 467. 

The difference between applications and adoptions is explained by the fact that the Catalan Government provisionally delayed the valuation of national adoption applicants leading to a situation where interested families can apply but won\u2019t be asked for documentation and neither will they enter the valuation process unless a child is assigned to them.

4,000 Catalan families waiting for adopting

Nowadays, the waiting period for a domestic adoption can reach six or seven years. According to Núria Canal, from 2006 onwards the number of domestic applications increased but not the number of kids waiting to be adopted. At the moment, 950 families are waiting for a domestic adoption. The total figure of kids to be adopted is between 120 and 140 per year. The number of families waiting to obtain an international adoption stood at 3,023 on December 31st 2011. In total, 3,980 Catalan families are waiting to adopt a child. 


  • Families showing their babies adopted in China (by Reuters)

  • Families showing their babies adopted in China (by Reuters)