Domestic vs. International Adoption

Adoption is one of the most amazing experiences a family can have, but it’s also one of the costliest. Some couples adopt because they cannot conceive children of their own, and others adopt to give children a chance to have a loving family who would otherwise not have such an opportunity. Adoption is a wonderful thing, but it’s vital to understand the costs and the differences between domestic and international adoption.

Domestic Adoption

Domestic adoption means adopting a child born within the United States. Many people assume that international adoption is cheaper than domestic adoption, but the truth is that both options are quite expensive – typically costing upwards of $25,000. When you adopt a baby born in the United States, you will likely need to travel to the birth mother’s location for the baby’s due date until the baby is released from the hospital.

The time it takes to adopt should also be considered. Depending on your adoption profile, you may have a much longer wait than you may initially expect. An adoption profile typically consists of the child’s biological traits, such as race, age, medical issues, and special needs. The profile will also pertain to other concerns, such as contact with the child’s biological parents and your budget.

When you adopt domestically, the child’s medical history is typically far more accessible and detailed than with international adoptions. Additionally, many countries lack the medical facilities and capabilities that the United States offers, so adopting parents may be wary of an internationally adopted child’s medical history.

As far as legal concerns, many people erroneously believe that when you adopt a child born in the United States, the biological parents can suddenly show up years later and demand to take their child back. This is a false assumption. In the United States, a lawfully adopted child is legally recognized as the adoptive parents’ child by law.

International Adoption

When it comes to the legal issues surrounding international adoptions, you must consider the adoption laws in the child’s home country. In most cases, the adopting parents must travel to the home country to handle some aspects of the adoption, but most international adoptions are handled through agencies. International adoption is roughly just as expensive as domestic adoption, though in some cases, adopting a child from another country can cost several thousand dollars more than one from the United States.

As with domestic adoptions, your adoption profile will have an impact on the time it takes to successfully complete an international adoption. Depending on the child’s home country, age, and other concerns, international adoptions can take several years to complete. The more open your adoption profile is, the quicker you will be matched with a child. One concern that many parents adopting share is the child’s medical history, as some countries do not keep the same kind of medical records as the United States. Hence, a child’s health issues may not be fully disclosed.

What about the child?

Additionally, you must consider the age of the child with international adoptions. Due to distance, open adoptions that maintain contact with the child’s birth parents are far less likely to be feasible. Adopting an older child may also entail other complications. Older children and teens usually have more trouble adjusting to an adoptive family compared to babies and toddlers.

Regardless of how you choose to adopt, it’s important to have an idea of what the process will entail. Do your research, and talk with your spouse about what your adoption profile might look like. Remember that in both domestic and international adoptions, the more open your criteria for adoption, the quicker the process will be in most cases.