As countries around the world began locking down their borders in an attempt to stop the continued spread of COVID-19, international adoptions came to halt. Families who were in the last steps of placement scrambled across borders, knowing that the future was less certain than ever. Even today, families still remain stranded in foreign countries or remain separated from their children.
But families who were in the earlier stages of their international adoption process also face new uncertainties. When things are no longer at a complete standstill, should they resume the process or not?
If you’re in this situation, you may have a lot of questions:
- When will I be able to safely resume the process?
- How long will the world remain threatened by this virus?
- Should I continue my international adoption at all? At what point should I switch to adopting domestically?
None of these questions have definite answers. However, we can help by encouraging you to ask yourself the right questions — so you can decide whether or not attempting to resume your international adoption process is right for your individual situation.
Before making your next move, honestly answer these three questions:
1. What is my financial reality?
International adoption is the most expensive way to adopt, and many families’ adoption savings took a hit as a result of COVID-19. In addition to assessing your current financial state, you’ll need to consider how you would be financially affected in different scenarios.
For example, if you decide to continue your adoption process, can you afford to have the process halted for an indeterminate amount of time? Take into account the renewal of various elements of an expiring home study, for example.
How much money have you already invested in this process, and how much would be returned to you if you decided to switch to adopting domestically? If you’re earlier in the process, you’d likely lose out on fewer non-refundable fees, but there would still probably be some financial loss. You’ll likely also need to pay additional fees to switch to a new agency or a new adoption path with your current professional. Should you try to stay the course, or should you cut your losses now before they continue to add up?
If you suffered a serious financial toll as a result of the pandemic, your best course of action may be to delay your adoption dream, at least until you’re able to afford the costs of international adoption again. You may also want to consider the less-costly options of domestic adoption, like foster care adoption (the least expensive type of adoption).
2. Is traveling still a possibility?
Adoptive parents should find out:
- What are the travel policies in between the U.S. and the country you were hoping to adopt from?
- Would you be required to quarantine in one or both countries after your arrival?
- Have there been other adoptive parents who were successfully able to travel to and from that country?
- If so, is this still possible in your situation, and what procedures would you need to complete?
- Do you or your family members (including the child you hope to adopt) have any underlying medical conditions that would make travel riskier? If so, you all may need to quarantine appropriately if you’re ultimately able to bring your child to the U.S.
Travel, especially international travel, will likely remain one of the riskier situations for the foreseeable future. If you were to adopt within the U.S., you would more likely be able to travel by car (or at least on shorter, direct flights) on your own and safely socially distance yourselves throughout the process.
For now, the safety and possibility of international travel remains a serious issue.
3. How can I safely resume my adoption plans?
When you’ve taken stock of the financial and travel complications that may be an issue in your situation, you’ll need to decide if, how, and when you’d be able to resume your adoption journey:
- You may decide to try to resume adopting internationally.
- You may decide to halt the process for now (or for good).
- You may decide to switch to adopting within the U.S.
Remember that there are thousands of children in need of families within the U.S. and even within your own community. There’s no need to look overseas to find a child waiting for a family. Now be the time to reconsider private domestic infant adoption or foster care adoption.
No matter what you decide to do, this isn’t an easy decision. You’ve likely put forth no small amount of time, thought, effort, money and love into your initial decision to adopt internationally. Now, you must reassess that original dream and decide whether or not you can (or want to) reattempt that dream — and when.
Advice from families who are in similar situations to your own, as well as the advice of your adoption professional, will be your best resources at this point. Take some time to research your options, calculate costs of different scenarios, research different adoption paths and reflect on your goals.
We wish you all the best in this difficult time, and we wish you all the success in your path to parenthood, despite the challenges you’ve faced!