The beginning of the adoption process is a series of seemingly unending questions, and one usually comes up before the rest:
Which type of adoption is right for us?
There are three primary types of adoption: domestic adoption, foster care adoption and international adoption. Picking a type of adoption is a life-changing decision, and it’s best to take your time. Learn about each process — the distinct advantages and challenges — and ask yourself what is going to be best for your family.
There are plenty of factors to consider in this process. One that can narrow your options is which country you would like to adopt from.
Choosing a Country to Adopt From
Hopeful parents can choose to adopt from many different countries. Having a particular country in mind will help guide you toward a specific type of adoption. For instance, if you know you want to adopt in the U.S., then international adoption is ruled out.
How can you possibly know which country you want to adopt from? It can be hard to tell which ones are the best countries to adopt from. Some hopeful parents say they feel a sense of “calling” toward a country. However, there are other ways to determine whether or not a country is good to adopt from.
From cost to legality to safety, these are some things to know about the most popular countries to adopt from.
Adopting from the U.S.
Most American families who adopt do so from somewhere in the U.S. Adopting from the U.S. can happen in several different ways, all falling under the umbrella of “domestic adoption.” The two primary types of domestic adoption are infant adoption and foster care adoption.
There are many benefits to domestic adoption for U.S. families. To name a few:
- Working with state and federal laws, rather than international law
- A clear, defined and safe adoption process
- Abundance of helpful resources and professionals
- By far the safest type of adoption for same-sex couples (many countries still do not allow same-sex parents to adopt)
- Greater financial protections, depending on the professional you work with
- Less long-distance travel
- The opportunity for an open or semi-open adoption
- Quality medical care for the prospective birth mother and baby throughout the process
- Access to medical history and other important records
- The ability to adopt a newborn, with placement often occurring at the hospital
Additionally, a growing body of research shows a significant advantage for children who are able to maintain a connection to their biological heritage. Domestic adoption, especially infant adoption, makes this connection even stronger through the possibility of open and semi-open adoption.
Adapting to not only a new family but also a totally new country and culture can present increased, but not insurmountable, challenges. For this reason, many adoption professionals believe that it is important for a child to be placed with a family in their country of origin whenever possible, and then considered for placement through international adoption when the first option is not possible.
International adoption, also called intercountry adoption, occurs when an American family decides to adopt a child from a different country (often called the “sending country”). U.S. international adoptions peaked in 2004 and have been in decline since then. Still, it is a route that thousands of American families choose each year.
A lot has changed since that 2004 peak. While there could be a book written on the changes to intercountry adoption in this period, two major events stand out.
- The Hague Convention:
In 1993, a large group of countries ratified an international treaty called The Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. A mouthful, we know. It’s more commonly known as The Hague Convention. Even though it was signed in 1993, its importance came fully into focus in the last decade.
This convention set standards and guidelines for countries to meet in their international adoption processes. These standards are meant to stop child trafficking (sometimes done in the disguise of adoption) and to make sure that all adoption placements are in the best interest of the child. Many nations have not conformed to Hague Convention standards, but most international adoption agencies with only work with Hague Convention countries.
- Russia Closes to American Families:
Russia was consistently one of the top two sending countries for U.S. international adoptions for years. Then, in 2013, it closed its borders to U.S. families pursuing international adoption. Despite an outcry from America and other nations, it is still a “closed country” to this day. Russia is not solely responsible for the drop in international adoptions, but it did create a steep decline and started a growing trend of other nations focusing on intracountry adoptions (placing children with families in the same country).
With this context in mind, here are some things to know about some of the best countries to adopt a baby from in 2020.
Adopting from China
Most American families that adopt from a different country adopt from China. In 2018, there were 1,475 completed international adoptions from China. The next most popular country, India, saw 302 finalized adoptions.
The process to adopt from China can be long and expensive, but it is relatively stable. There are established international adoption agencies that work with China’s child welfare agency. This working relationship has created a good environment for adoption, which is why many lists have it among the best countries to adopt infants from.
Many Chinese children who are placed with families for international adoption have medical or developmental needs. Additionally, due to China’s decades-long “One Child Policy,” many Chinese adoptees are girls.
Adopting from India
- Adoptive parent must be at least 25 years old.
- Same-sex couples are not permitted to adopt.
- Couple must be in a stable, married relationship for two years or more.
- Adoptive parents must prove they are financially capable of providing for a child.
If you meet these requirements, then adoption from India could be the right option for your family.
Adopting from Nigeria, South Korea and Ukraine
This seems like an odd group, doesn’t it? An African nation, a country from the South Pacific and then northeastern Europe — how do these all fit together?
Each of these nations ranks among the top 10 sending countries for U.S. international adoptions in 2018. They are also all non-convention countries, meaning the system for adoption does not meet Hague Convention standards.
We’re wading into contested territory with these countries. Opinions from respectable professionals land on both sides of whether or not a family should adopt from a non-convention country. Rather than attempt to decipher this debate, we will simply leave you with what the U.S. State Department says on the matter:
“Adopting a child from a Convention country is similar in many ways to adopting a child from a country not party to the Convention. However, there are some key differences. In particular, those seeking to adopt may receive greater protections if they adopt from a Convention country.”
Have Questions? Contact an Adoption Professional Today
Did one country on this list jump out to you? Are you still totally unsure of what country will be best for you? Choosing the best country to adopt a baby from can be a challenge. There are many international adoption agencies that can answer your questions and help you get started with the process.
If you are still considering adoption in the U.S., then we would encourage you to contact us today, and we will put you in touch with a helpful adoption specialist.
Getting started with adoption can seem overwhelming. With the right help, you can do it.