The popularity of overseas adoption has seen a surge in recent years, prompted in part by high profile celebrities adopting, and also by the shorter wait times for completing the adoption process. This is a wonderful way to welcome a child into your home and hearts, but much like domestic adoption, it’s not entirely without its risks. There are things you’ll want to be aware of, in order to make an informed decision about what’s the right thing for you to do. We’ll examine where to start, and some of the pros and cons of this method of adoption for hopeful parents here in the United States.
International, or overseas adoption, is generally more predictable and structured than adoptions here at home in the States. To begin with, you can research international adoption agencies, and their track record for the successful placement of children with the least amount of complaints. A reputable agency will have nothing to hide, and will gladly offer you full disclosure of their practices and successful adoption rate. If you have family or friends who have gone this route in the past, ask them who their adoption agency was, and what their satisfaction levels were when going through the process.
Children available for adoption come from over 50 countries, ranging from Eastern Europe and Asia, to several African countries, and Latin America. Currently, no children from Australia, Western Europe, or Canada are eligible to be adopted by U.S. citizens. Some things you need to think about when considering overseas adoption are the gender, age, and race of the child, along with any preexisting medical needs he or she may have. There are qualified adoption professionals that will be able to help you identify the most important requirements to consider if you’re unsure about any of these things, and they can tell you which country’s program will be best suited for you.
For some prospective parents, it’s important to avoid meeting the child’s biological mother and father. With overseas adoption you will probably never have to meet, or deal with, birth parents. The children that are available are legally free to be adopted, because they usually are orphans, and come with an extremely low risk of there being any child-custody issues. Once an approved home study has been conducted, you are almost guaranteed a child, and you generally know how long it will be before your child will be placed with you. On average, this generally takes 12 to 18 months. With some countries like Russia, they have what are called no-wait adoptions you can look into.
Mounds of paperwork are involved in an overseas adoption, and it can really seem endless. Take heart though, because it’s not so difficult, and your social worker and adoption agency will assist you in filling out the various forms. With any legal overseas adoption, you will not be able to claim a newborn as your own. They will come as young as under a year, but new babies are out of the question. In all likelihood, you will have to travel to the host country on more than one occasion, and it’s highly advisable that you do so to view the conditions of the facility. Children in orphanages often suffer from what is termed “institutional behavior”, often caused by a lack of attention, and can also come with their own set of developmental problems. Try to obtain information about the child’s family background and medical history, this can sometimes prevent problems down the road for you and your adopted child.