Adoption Rates

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(KPTV) - Local adoption agencies tell FOX 12 adoptions are down lately.

Katie and Austin Carmichael waited nine months for their son, who is now 3-years old.

“Like as soon as we realized it might not happen naturally, we immediately started the adoption process,” said Katie.

“We had a rare experience,” she continued. “Our birth mother decided to adopt in the hospital, so we got the phone call that Ethan’s birth mother had chosen us, 30 minutes after birth.”

Just like that, Katie and Austin went from a couple longing for children to full on parents.

“All of a sudden you’re like, boom, your life’s changed,” said Austin. “For the better, right.”

A year into his life, they started the adoption process again. They’ve now been waiting for a baby for more than 18 months.

FOX 12 sat down with Julie Webb, the Domestic Infant Program Director at the Clackamas adoption agency, Choice Adoptions. She’s also adopted children herself.

Webb said it seems like the amount of adoptions they were doing dropped overnight. She said she can only speculate but has a few ideas why adoptions are down.

"For one, birth rates have gotten less and less,” said Webb.

Data backs up Webb’s thoughts. According to the Oregon Health Authority, the birth rate last year dropped to about 42,000, the lowest it’s been in about 25 years.

“Last year, to me, it was the least I’ve ever done,” said Webb.

Webb said parenting your child is what’s best, but if for some reason an expectant mother can’t, she said adoption is a beautiful choice.

“There are so many wonderful families out there, some with no children, that have had a lot of heartache and want a baby so bad and I was one of them,” Webb said. “It was such a gift and can be such a blessing.”

The Carmichael’s said they’re already getting to experience that blessing and hope to experience it again.

“It’s not like your child is taken away and you never see your child again,” said Katie. “That’s not how it works at all anymore, in that the birth mother has complete control over where her child goes."

"She gets to interview people,” continued Katie. “She gets to set her own criteria.”

Webb said there could be other potentially contributing factors to adoptions being down, like birth control being more accessible so there are fewer unexpectant pregnancies.

FOX 12 also found there is more help and support for expecting parents, so less are likely to choose adoption.

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