Domestic vs International Adoption

When we were starting the adoption process, people often asked if we would try to adopt a baby from overseas, with the most common suggestions being China, Russia, Korea and Guatemala.    

Our adoption counselor, Maggie Benz, explained to us that a child must officially be declared an orphan in his or her country of origin before the child can be adopted, and this process usually takes six months or more. 

Therefore, the youngest children adopted internationally are usually between six months and a year, and frequently the children are toddlers or older by the time they reach their adoptive parents.

Andrew and I both wanted to adopt a newborn, which was probably the biggest determinant of what type of adoption we should pursue.

We also were interested in doing an open adoption, which is uncommon when a child is adopted from another country.  Contact with international birth families is infrequent, and open adoptions are seldom found.

 It is very difficult to get a family medical and social history on a child who has been adopted internationally.  Andrew and I were particularly sensitive to medical issues, given our history with a baby who suffered from a lethal condition.  

For all these reasons, we decided to adopt domestically.  This was our personal decision, but there are many compelling reasons why people do choose to do international adoptions instead of domestic adoptions.  

Frequently, adoptive parents prefer an older baby or child.  The sleepless nights of feeding a newborn are not always appealing, and not everyone is comfortable with caring for a completely helpless, floppy tiny newborn.

Some adoptive parents do not want any contact with birth families and find it comforting that their child’s biological relatives are on the other side of the world.  It certainly decreases the chances of finding a birth parent on your doorstep one day, asking to see the child.  

It is also common for adoptive parents to have a special connection to another country, creating a desire to adopt internationally.  Perhaps one of the adoptive parents has Chinese or Guatemalan or Indian heritage, for example, and wants to adopt a child of similar heritage.  

In other cases, adoptive parents may have trouble finding a domestic infant to adopt.  Adoptive parents of a more advanced age often have more success when they adopt internationally.  

If you are considering adoption, take some time to ask yourself a few basic questions such as:

·    Do I prefer an older baby or a newborn?
·    Do I have a special interest in a certain country?
·    Do I want contact with the birthfamily?
·    How long do I want to wait?

The answers to these questions will help you decide whether you should adopt domestically or internationally.

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