International Adoption—What to Know

If you and your partner are considering adoption, then you’ve probably realized there are several aspects that need to be properly researched and understood thoroughly. You’re both emotionally ready, but there’s a lot more that goes into adopting than being ready to become a parent. It requires the equal support from each partner to nourish a child. But before you can become parents, you may be considering all your different adoption options.

international adoption

One type of adoption that several adoption agencies offer is an international adoption. It’s become very popular in the United States, and in several cases is responsible for building families or helping families expand. While international adoptions can be very similar to domestic adoptions, it’s still crucial to do the appropriate research before following through with it.

International Adoptions Can Be Lengthy

In the last year, several studies concluded that Americans seeking to adopt children from Mexico averaged about 770 day wait times. Closely behind, adoptions from the Dominican Republic could take up to 741 days, only about a month shorter in time. On the other hand, the international adoption of children born in China could take up to 267 days, less than half the time it takes to adopt a child from Indonesia (606 days).

What determines the time it takes to complete an international adoption? One thing is for sure, it is important to complete the home study process in a timely fashion. It will take anywhere from a month to three months to complete, depending on how many other home studies the adoption agency has on its plate. Taking longer than 6 months can lead to delays and other issues with your adoption process.

Next, prospective parents need to complete dossier documents—these are necessary when adopting from another country. Altogether, the first two steps necessary to complete an international adoption shouldn’t take you longer than 5 months to complete. The quicker you finish both these steps, the quicker you’ll be granted approval to continue with the process.

Each country’s processing time will vary. In some cases, an international adoption can happen within three to six months in countries like Samoa and the Ukraine. As we mentioned earlier, others can take several years. Some things that may factor into the time it takes to complete the process will depend on the child’s gender and age. Additionally, if your prospective child is living with special needs, it may cause the time of this process to fluctuate too. To clarify how long your adoption may take consider talking to your adoption agency.

The Cost Of International Adoption

There are several contributing factors that determine the cost of an international adoption. Many people misperceive this idea as you purchasing a child. However, the total cost of fees you pay cover agency service fees and expenses as well as the fees and expenses of the country your child is from. The sum of the cost will depend on where you live and the international adoption program of the designated country you’ve chosen to work with.

The average cost of international adoptions varies for many countries. If you are looking to adopt a child from China, the overall adoption could cost up to $37,000. Other countries like South Korea, the Ukraine and Ethiopia will range from $30,000 to $46,000.

You’re probably wondering what fees your paying for. First, there is an agency’s fee. This fee covers the cost for the initial program application. Next, prospective parents will pay for dossier preparation as well as clearance. This step is significantly cheaper than any other part of the international adoption process. There are also in-country adoption expenses you will be paying for. One of the more expensive expenses will be paying for traveling expenses. This may cover your visit to a country and the final trip your child will take to join their new family. Additional expenses will include your child’s visa, passport and medical exams.

By looking into the breakdown of the cost of adoption, it can be incredibly reassuring to realize that the cost and fees of the process covers multiple things.

Country Specifications

Not many people know, but the laws of adoption vary from state to state in the United States. This is why there’s a heavy emphasis on hiring adoption lawyers who can successfully help adoptive parents really understand these laws. The same is true in the case of international adoptions. Countries have their own rules and regulations when it comes to the way they handle international adoptions.

For example, Russia banned adoptions by Americans. Many have criticized this decision as a “politically motivated” choice. At the time of the law being passed, several adoptions underway were evidently called off. Adoptive parents from the U.S. aren’t the only ones having a hard time adopting internationally. In 2005, 50,000 international adoptions had been granted. Since then, the rate of international adoptions has fallen to roughly 15,000 a year. This is the result of several countries completely shutting down international adoption opportunities.

In other cases, the falling rate of international adoptions is a result of the increased scrutiny adoptive parents are undergoing. In many cases, Americans are being completely restricted from applying for an international adoption at all. Korea is now requiring adopters to be married. Additionally, prospective adoptive parents cannot have a body mass index higher than 30. China does not allow individuals to adopt if they’ve taken antidepressants prior to undergoing the adoption process. Many other countries have begun setting age restrictions for adopters. They may not exceed a certain age if an international adoption program feels it will deter them from being ideal parents.

It’s incredibly important to be well informed about the different aspects of an adoption, no matter what type you and your significant other are looking into. Whether it’s becoming familiar with the documentation it requires, being aware of the timeline or any other factor, you shouldn’t leave anything to chance. Ultimately, you can never be too prepared.

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