Friday, July 15, 2011

International's and con's

Many people in America choose to adopt their families from other Countries. Russia, China and Ethiopia have long since been some of the number one choices for Americans considering international adoption.


These countries, unlike the more wealthy western countries, do not have the finances available to support personalised care systems for the number of infants and children that are left without parents. The result is that the majority of orphans and otherwise abandoned children end up living an institutionalized existence in one of many orphanages. (Please read's heartbreaking!!!)

For people waiting to adopt, this means
there are plenty of babies and toddlers readily available. Furthermore, the birth parents have already relinquished their rights to the child, so there is absolutely no risk that the family is suddenly going to change their mind, leaving you minus several thousands of dollars, and of course, a baby. Equally, the adoption will be a 'closed' adoption.......the birth parents have no right to ask for updates, photographs or contact visits whatsoever.

This makes the idea of adopting from overseas very appealing. Although, in reality, there are many other issues to consider.

  1. If you are wanting to adopt a newborn, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to do this when adopting from abroad. Many countries insist that their infants are held in orphanages or foster care for several months (usually to allow opportunity for someone from their own country to adopt) before becoming available for international adoption. Thus, the youngest age available is usually around 4 months.
  2. Many people think that adopting from abroad is a much quicker process than adopting in the USA. Whilst this may be the case in some instances, it is not always true. It really depends on what exactly you are looking for. If you have stipulated that you want a blonde haired, blue eyed baby girl, no older than 5 months of age, then you could be in for a very long wait. If, however, you want a kicking, screaming baby or toddler of any sex and any race, you could place within 6 months. It is really no different to adopting in the USA.
  3. Adopting from abroad is even more of a financial drain than adopting stateside. It is usually required that you make at least two trips to whichever country you adopt from, first to meet and get to know the child, then to finalize the adoption through the courts. It is normal practice to have to remain in the country for at least 10 days, before you can finalize. So, on top of the normal adoption costs, you then have two expensive trips abroad to fund (flights, hotel, transport, meals, unpaid time off work) as well as extra expenses for the agency within that country and a language translator. It adds up pretty quickly and the total can be anywhere from $25,000 to $50, 000+ . It is definitely not cheap!
  4. Many children from abroad come with little or no background or medical information. Quite often, you will not be informed about things such as whether the baby was exposed to alcohol or drugs in utero or whether there were difficulties at birth that may have an impact on health. You probably won't have access to any possible genetic problems; there may be behavioural issues present and/or the child may be emotionally and developmentally delayed. Further to this, there will come a time when your child starts asking about where they came from, who their parents and grandparents were, which town they were born in etc. The chances are that you will not be able to answer those questions and this in itself can also have an impact on the child, both emotionally and behaviourally.
  5. Finally, whilst it is unusual for anything to 'go wrong' with the actual process of adoption, there are times when a country will suddenly shut its doors to overseas adoptions, only to open them back up again a year or so later. Indeed, Russia has just signed a bilateral adoption agreement with the USA, agreeing upon the process necessary to safeguard and improve international adoption from Russia. This came after 15 months of negotiation, during which no further Russian adoptions could be made. (see here for details) Although such instances are rare, it is still a risk that needs to be factored in to your adoption planning.
So, adopting internationally (as with adopting domestically) is not completely risk free. It comes with it's own challenges and is definitely not an option for the faint hearted. Make sure you research everything, get yourself as prepared as you can and chose your agency with care.

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