Expanding your family through international adoption is an incredible decision; most infants in foreign countries face a life of poverty, lack of education and proper healthcare without a family. Adopting an international infant doesn't just change your life; it saves theirs.
There are a few things to know if you're considering international adoption. While you should speak with an adoption agency like A Child’s Dream to explore all your options and ensure the process goes smoothly, here are things every person considering adopting an international infant needs to know.
The Time and Costs
Adopting a child is no small feat. International adoptions take three years on average to complete and cost over $30,000. You may be matched with a child early on, but it can be years before you're actually approved to take them home.
They Can't Just Come to You
Many countries require international adopters to travel or even reside in the child's birth country for an extended period of time. There are also American legalities surrounding international adoption; in order to enter the country, a foreign child must be orphaned, abandoned or have one living parent who is unable to care for them.
Your House has to be Baby-Proof before You Even Meet Your Child
A social worker will visit your house and do a full inspection before you're cleared to adopt. If you've been matched with a child, this visit can make the difference between becoming their parent and having them placed with another family. You will need to have your entire house prepared for the baby before they're ever in your arms.
It's Difficult to Adopt an International Newborn
Because the international adoption process is so lengthy, the likelihood of you bringing home a child who is younger than 12 months is slim. If you've dreamed of taking home a tiny bundle of joy, you may want to consider domestic adoption. With domestic adoption, you're typically chosen by a birth mother and are able to take your baby home a few days after its birth. Some states allow no revocation of surrendered birth rights upon adoption, while others may give birthparents up to 72 hours to change their minds.
International Adoption is Overwhelming
You may feel discouraged after looking into all the varying laws and fine-print surrounding international adoption. Every country has its own rules, requirements and adoption process. The cost can be astronomical and sometimes, even after years of waiting, things might not work out.
But there's still hope. Although international adoption has become more complex over the past several years, it's still possible. Working with an adoption agency is the best way to get the process started, but in the meantime, do research on different countries, study international adoption guides, and continue to nurture your desire to give a child a home.
Ultimately, international adoption isn't for everyone. If it's out of your budget or simply too much hassle and emotional investment for you to handle, there's always adoption through foster care and domestic adoption to consider.