First Time Adoption Info

First Time Adoption Information

Are you considering international adoption for the first time?

If you’re a prospective parent new to the adoption process, the volume of information and variety of options can be very intimidating.  The adoption picture has changed in the last couple of years.

Adopting Internationally

Who chooses to adopt internationally:

Families choose inter-country adoption for a variety of reasons.  Perhaps the family does not meet agency guidelines for domestic adoption but qualifies for inter-country adoption.  Sometimes families wish to adopt from the country of the family’s ethnic origin, or they are acquainted with others who have successfully adopted from another country.  Often families who pursue an inter-country adoption speak of their desire to parent a child who really needs a family as much as the family needs a child.

How do I adopt from another country?

To assist families who are thinking about an international adoption, the U.S. government has created a web site which is very helpful   www.adoption.state.gov Typically, inter-country adoptions are handled by private adoption agencies.  Public agencies, for the most part, do not participate in inter-country adoption.  Some agencies that handle domestic adoptions also work in inter-country adoption, although there are many agencies that specialize only in one or the other.  In all inter-country adoptions, there must be a primary agency involved who has permission to assist in that particular country.

Who are the children?

Children through age 15 are eligible to come to the United States for adoption.  There are no children available for adoption by Americans from Western Europe, Australia or Canada.  Families are adopting children from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and ocassionally Latin/South America.

What are the costs?

The cost of an Inter-country adoption can range from around $30,000 and upward.  Part of the cost is the number of times the parents travel to the child’s country and the length of stay in the country.

Are there other considerations?

Families considering inter-country adoption must understand that the background and health information they will receive about their child will most likely be incomplete and may be unreliable.  Families formed through inter-country adoption must be willing to risk unknown medical, emotional, and behavioral disorders, and have the commitment to parent their child through any difficulties.  Frequently changing political situations increase the uncertainties inherent to Inter-country adoption and countries may open or close without notice.

Adopting a child from another country almost always means that the adoptive family will become an interracial family, which presents special responsibilities.  The family must incorporate into their lifestye elements of the child’s original culture, including friendsihps with other persons of the child’s ethnicity, for the child to develop pride in his or her original heritage and positive self-esteem.  Arming your child against the racism still inherent in the United States is another duty of families formed through inter-country adoption.

How do children adapt to their new country?

Studies show that most children do well, often overcoming early malnutrition and deprivation to become happy, emotionally healthy adults.  Ongoing parenting education, professional assistance, when necessary, and lots of love and patience produce magnificent results!

Who chooses to adopt from the United States?

Some prospective adoptive parents may know of birth parents who are making an adoption plan.  Others have decided to utilize the services of a licensed adoption agency or an attorney.  There are many choices of agencies which provide the birth parents with counseling as well as adoption attorneys in every state.  Most families seach through their options via the itnernet.  Some families adopt older children through the county/state social services agencies using public/private agencies specializing in assisting children in foster care.

Who are the children:

When birth parents make an adoption plan, the children are placed soon after birth  When children who are in the foster care system become available for adoption, the local social service agency chooses the adoptive family.  Most of the children are older, school-age children.

What are the costs?

The cost of an infant adoption can be comparable to an International adoption and are based on counseling fees, agency fees, and legal fees.  The cost is minimal for children who are placed by the county/state social service system and, in some cases, a monthly subsidy is given to the adoptive family until the child reaches the age of 18.  Travel costs include the parent(s) traveling to the state of the child’s birth.  Length of stay is based on the age of the child and procedures of the child’s state.