Home » Adoptions by State » How to Adopt in Tennessee » International Adoption in Tennessee [3 Points to Know]

International Adoption in Tennessee [3 Points to Know]

International adoption in Tennessee is just one of the ways you can become a parent

If you’re researching how to become a parent in Tennessee, you’re likely exploring private domestic adoption, foster care, foster care adoption, and international adoption.

Although international adoption in Tennessee and throughout the United States is declining (and has been since 2004), it’s still a wonderful way to become a parent.

International adoption, also known as intercountry adoption, is when a U.S. family adopts a child from another country. These children are typically adopted from orphanages. They often are in need of adoption because their birth parents cannot care for them due to emotional, legal, or financial issues, or they have lost their biological family due to famine, war or other tragedies.

Because international adoption is a broad topic, we’ve listed the three main points of international adoption in Tennessee:

  • Point 1: Parents consider international adoption for different reasons.
  • Point 2: Parents must meet specific international and national requirements to complete an international adoption.
  • Point 3: The international adoption process is sometimes unpredictable.

Point 1: Why Parents in Tennessee Consider International Adoption

International adoption in Tennessee is another way to become a parent. Intercountry adoption interests couples and adoptive parents for different reasons. Some common reasons include:

  • Hopeful parents who are compelled by the present need of children living without parents
  • The desire to raise a child of a different culture
  • Families who want to adopt a child, no matter the child’s age
  • Couples who are comfortable with no contact from the child’s birth parents
  • Families who understand that their adoptive child may have an uncertain medical history
  • Couples who would prefer more predictable adoption costs and wait time

If you’re comfortable with all these considerations, it’s time to think about the details of your international adoption.

Consider the Country You Want to Adopt a Child From

If you know what country you want to adopt a child from, it’s time to research that country to understand the citizens’ cultures and the country’s adoption laws. You’ll also want to consider:

  • The country’s international adoption policies, travel restrictions, and its current political climate
  • The children available for adoption (consider their age, culture, and more)
  • The country’s adoption eligibility requirements for adoptive parents (especially for LGBTQ+ hopeful parents, as many countries only allow heterosexual, married couples to adopt)
  • Adoption costs
  • Any other considerations (an international adoption attorney can help you)

If you don’t know what country to adopt a child from, reach out to international adoption agencies in Tennessee, or consider contacting an international adoption attorney.

If you choose to work with an international adoption agency, make sure it has an adoption program with the country you’d like to adopt from. Also, ensure that the agency is Hague-accredited

Point 2: International Adoption Requirements to Consider

Tennessee has adoption agencies that can help you figure out the international adoption process. Once you’ve chosen the international adoption agency you want to work with, you and your spouse will need to meet the requirements to adopt internationally. These requirements include:

  1. You and your spouse must be U.S. citizens.
  2. You and your spouse must adopt the child jointly (even if you are separated)
  3. If you are not married, you must be at least 25 years of age.
  4. You and your spouse must complete an international adoption home study. A Tennessee-licensed home study provider that meets Hague Convention requirements will conduct the home study.
  5. You and your spouse must pass criminal background checks, undergo fingerprinting, and complete other documentation.
  6. Your family also must meet all adoption requirements in your home state and the country you are adopting from. These requirements can vary quite a lot.
  7. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the international country you’re adopting from will check and verify your eligibility. According to American Adoptions, a national adoption agency, the type of paperwork you’ll submit for this will depend on if you are adopting from a Hague Convention country or a non-Hague Convention Country. 
  8. Adoptive parents should be prepared to travel to meet their child. This trip will take anywhere from one to four weeks. While in the child’s birth country, you’ll get to know your child, start the international adoption process’ legal work, complete your visa application, and be interviewed by the country’s adoption authorities.
  9. Once you and your child return to Tennessee, you will finalize your adoption or complete a re-adoption.

After these requirements are met and you are cleared to adopt a child, your adoption specialist will send your proof of eligibility and adoption dossier to adoption authorities in your child’s country. 

Once you’re approved, you’ll wait until a child becomes available. Once a child becomes available, your adoption specialist will inform you and send you the child’s information. The information you get on the child will vary depending on the circumstances. In most cases, you will then have 24 hours to accept or decline the adoption referral. 

Point 3: Keep Your Parenting Options Open

As noted previously, international adoption in Tennessee and throughout the U.S has decreased in recent years (a 76% drop since 2004). This is partly because countries, such as Ethiopia and Russia, have implemented suspensions of adoptions by U.S. families.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have an international adoption. But note that the process could be a bit more complicated. If you are confident that this is the adoption path you want to take, international adoption agencies in Tennessee can help.

If you’re curious about the other parenting options available in Tennessee, foster parenting and private domestic adoption are great choices.

Foster Care

Becoming a foster care parent is typically a temporary parenting option. Children are placed into foster care because their birth parents cannot safely care for them or their needs. When children are placed in foster care, it is not their fault. 

The goal of foster care is to get a child back into their birth parents’ home. But, sometimes, birth parents are unable to take their child back. If this is the case, then foster care parents can adopt their foster child.

Private Domestic Adoption

Private domestic adoption allows couples to adopt an infant in the U.S. Domestic infant adoption is somewhat expensive; but, this type of adoption does have many benefits. For example, private domestic adoption allows the adoptive family and baby to build a relationship with the birth mother through open or semi-open adoption.

Final Thoughts on International Adoption in Tennessee

Although international adoption is not as popular an option as it once was, it’s still a great way to become a parent if you’re prepared.

Take time to research the international adoption process and work with a reputable intercountry adoption agency. You’ll increase your chance of finding a child through international adoption in Tennessee.