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Top 10 Things Adoptive Parents Should Know About International Adoption
Families who are considering adoption for their families have three primary options: domestic infant adoption, foster care adoption, and international adoption. While each of these paths has its own benefits, challenges, and special considerations, they are all viable options for you to grow your family. If you are thinking about pursuing an international adoption, here are the top 10 things you need to know first.
1. It is becoming less common – but there are still children in need of homes.Over the years, international adoptions have declined because children have been able to find loving homes in their home country or because of certain country’s changing policies on international adoption. As a result, many families turn instead to domestic adoption, but there are still many children across the world waiting to find a family.
2. Every country has different adoption laws.One of the first decisions you will want to make is where you want to adopt. During this time, you can benefit greatly from researching adoption laws and even speaking to an adoption professional about whether or not you are eligible to adopt in a specific country. Some of the common criteria in other countries can include:
- Age – It is very common for countries to have a minimum and maximum age for adoptive parents. Sometimes, they will also state a minimum or maximum age difference between the parents and the adopted child.
- Marital Status – Many countries require married couples to be married for a certain amount of time, and they may not allow same-sex or single-parent adoptions.
- Income – Sometimes, a country’s laws may require a specific minimum income, but more often an adoptive family must simply show proof of a stable income.
- Health – Not all countries have specific health requirements, but the ones that do may look at factors such as medical records, mental health history, and more.
3. Most available children are not infants.Although a child might be a newborn at the time you receive a referral, it can be another year or more before you officially adopt the child. Many kinds of children are available for adoption abroad, and some of the variable factors include:
- Age – Depending on the country where you adopt, you may receive a referral to a toddler or a child approaching adolescence.
- Gender – While many countries have an equal amount of boys and girls, there are some exceptions. For example, China used to have significantly more girls than boys available for adoption.
- Medical history – Your child could be healthy or have a variety of needs, ranging from minor and correctable to severe.
- Siblings – In almost all cases, countries will do what they can to keep sibling groups together.
4. Some countries are party to the Hague Adoption Convention.The Hague Adoption Convention is an international treaty created to protect children being adopted internationally. Countries that have signed the treaty must follow specific guidelines and regulations, which ensure that the process is carried out correctly and ethically. Here, can find some of the most common Hague and non-Hague countries from which families adopt:
- South Korea
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
5. The costs can be very different from a domestic adoption.The costs of domestic and international adoptions can both vary greatly, and each type of adoption has unique expenses. For example, an international adoption requires much more time and money for travel than a domestic adoption. On the other hand, couples adopting internationally do not have to pay birth parent expenses. Some of the expenses that are unique to international adoption include:
- Government adoption application forms
- Passport and visa applications
- Translation/authentication of dossier documents
- Orphanage donations