Number of adopted children reduced by half since 2004

Last year, 672 children were adopted by Dutch parents, approximately as many as in 2009, but considerably fewer than in record year 2004, when 1,378 children were adopted.

Adopted children

Adopted children

Most adopted children born in China

Between 1995 and 2004, the number of adopted children almost doubled. The increase was predominantly caused by a surge in the number of children adopted from China. China still has the highest number of children available for adoption. Other important countries are Haiti and the United States.

Slump after 2004

In 2004, the proportion of children adopted from China reached a maximum, when approximately 800 Chinese children (57 percent of the total over 2004) were adopted. Subsequently, the number of children adopted from China diminished between 2004 and 2009, probably due to the economic boom and the large number of adoption requests from other countries. The number of domestic adoptions in China is also on the increase.

The number of adoptions of Chinese children marginally increased again to 317 in 2010. Chinese children made up 47 percent of the total number of adopted children last year.

Children adopted from China by gender

Children adopted from China by gender

More boys than girls

Until recently, mainly Chinese girls were adopted, but the proportion of boys is growing rapidly these days. Two in every three children adopted from China last year were boys. A substantial proportion of these children have problems of various kinds. China has a special procedure for adoption of these so-called ‘special needs’ children.

Few Dutch children

There were 36 domestic adoptions in the Netherlands in 2010, i.e. only 5 percent of total adoptions. In the early 1970s, nearly all adopted children adopted in the Netherlands were native Dutch.

Far fewer babies

Considerably fewer children under the age of 1 were adopted in 2010 relative to the preceding years. The decline is particularly obvious among children adopted from China, Colombia and Ethiopia. The share of two and three-year-olds has nearly doubled since 2005 and is currently 41 percent. The number of two and three-year-olds adopted from China has risen substantially.

Adoptions by age category

Adoptions by age category

Wim Vissers and Arno Sprangers