When you want to adopt, you have the option of a domestic adoption — adopting a U.S. born child — or an international adoption — adopting a child born in a foreign country.
The Wall Street Journal reported that international adoptions have dropped from approximately 23,000 in 2004 to 6,441 adoptions in 2014. Several reasons exist for the drop.
Since 2012, Americans have been unable to adopt children from Russia, which used to be a major source for adoptions. Also, adoptions from China (which remains the most popular country for adoptions) dropped from close to 8,000 adoptions in 2005 to 2,040 adoptions in 2014. Adoption agencies attribute the drops to increased U.S. scrutiny of some countries in individual cases, a nationalist perspective against adoption in emerging countries like China and South Korea and U.S. policies that stiffly regulate against child trafficking. The United States ratified the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption in 2008, thinking it would facilitate adoptions, but agencies say the opposite has occurred.
Other challenges people face with international adoptions include:
- Needing to obtain visas so they can travel to the foreign country
- Travel involving visits up to two weeks and often multiple visits
- Handling the foreign country’s issues that deal with adoption
- Adoption in China possibly taking more than four years
- Agreeing to adoption of older children instead of infants
- Scarcity of medical or social history for some children
In most domestic adoptions, parents are able to adopt infants or young children. The costs involved with international and domestic adoptions, while different, are comparable. Domestic adoptions require a social study (interviews and evaluations) and adopting parents may have to pay some of the biological mother’s expenses, such as living expenses including rent or utility bills. They may need to travel to see the expectant mother and need to stay the location where the mother gives birth until the baby is released from the hospital. When babies are born out of state, families must stay out of state and wait for Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) approval. All 50 states require ICPC approval for parents adopting a child in another state, and it may take up to a week to obtain ICPC approval.
Whatever type of adoption you decide to pursue, you should work with an experienced lawyer to ensure the legal process is sound and that your legal rights are protected. Our attorneys at C.E. Borman & Associates can answer your questions and provide valuable legal guidance.