International vs. Domestic Adoptions-Things To Consider

Anyone who hasn't been living under a rock for the past few years has probably heard the many stories of X Celebrity adopting a child from Y country. All these stories make it seem easy-and almost glamorous-to adopt a child from another country. Even if you aren't someone who follows 'star trends', you might wonder what it might be like to adopt a child from another country. If you're thinking about adding to your family and want to adopt from another country, go for it. However, there are a few things that us 'average', 'non-celebrity' people need to consider. Whether you adopt from this country or from another country is up to you, but it helps to know what you're getting into. Each country has its own rules and regulations, but here are a few of the basic things to consider.

The first thing that any potential adoptive parent needs to consider is the length of the process involved. Even though the tabloids make it look like Angelina or Madonna took the kid home with them right away, this is not how it normally happens. The regulations are different for each country, but there are often residency/travel requirements that can take a person (perhaps both parents) away from their jobs and families for an extended period of time. There is also the paperwork involved in getting the child here from their home country legally. As you can imagine, this can be rough on a family. The regulations surrounding adoptions within the United States vary from state to state, but the amount of travel involved is significantly lower than with international adoptions. Like I said, each country has its own requirements, so make sure you know all the specifics.

Another thing to consider is the age of the child. Contrary to what the tabloids would have you believe, you will never get a newborn through an international adoption. This might not be a problem if you were looking for an older child to begin with, but there is often a lot of paperwork involved that naturally takes time to process. Also, some countries restrict international adoptions on babies in the hopes of finding a home for the child in her country of origin. Domestic adoptions, on the other hand, give you a much higher chance of getting an infant.

Since most of us don't have Angelina's or Madonna's money, there is an issue of cost. In any adoption, there are going to be agency and legal costs. It varies from agency to agency, but international adoptions can be particularly expensive. This isn't really surprising when you consider all of the legal hoops you have to jump through, but there's also the matter of travel and residency requirements. It takes money to travel back and forth from country to country, to set up accommodations, food, etc that not everyone has. Also, there are agency-specific costs such as applications, supervision/home visits, medical records for both child and parent, etc. Again, it depends on the agency, but be prepared to spend a pretty penny if you choose to adopt from another country. The costs are usually significantly lower for a domestic adoption, although those also vary between agencies. The fact that you won't have to pay anywhere near as much (if anything) for travel makes a *big* difference. Public agency adoptions are usually less expensive than private agencies.

These are just a few things to think about when considering where your newly adopted child will come from. It's a very personal decision that no one can make for you, so you should probably look for a social worker, lawyer or adoption agency that can give you more specific advice. Whichever option you choose, the love of your new child will be worth the effort! If you want more information about the process in general or in a particular country, visit the State Department's website at Good luck!

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