What is International Adoption?
What is International Adoption?
International Adoption is exactly what it sounds like: adopting a child from a different country. There are a variety of countries currently open to allowing other countries to adopt their available children from their country, however this number is dwindling. At one time, adopting internationally was very simple. Prospective parents had to do little more than to simply show up and select a child. While this was very simple on well-meaning prospective parents, it also made it very simple for people interesting in promoting child trafficking. As a result, adopting internationally has become very time-consuming as well as expensive.
How long does an international adoption take?
Since the idea of international adoption is quite broad and covers a wide range of governments, there is no one specific answer. It depends greatly on the requirements set by the specific country as well as the agency that the adoptive parents are using. As a general rule, most adoptions can be finalized around 18 months. The steps for adoption are quite extensive and often require being done in a very specific order, so there is little room to save time by cutting corners.
What is the process?
Due to the very real fear that adopting persons are not the loving caring families they may purport to be, the process for becoming an adoptive parent internationally in quite involved. The parents will need to go through a lengthy series of requirements that are designed to have the parents prove to the host country that the parents are really who they say they are. The process usually involves a home study, health reports, official finger prints, background checks, several letters of reference, and lengthy individual interviews. Moreover, the adoptive parents will need to provide lengthy documentation proving their own citizenship and financial stability, including letters of reference from their employers.
Each of these documents needs to be notarized. However, other countries have little regard for our local notary, so these documents, after initial notarization, need to be authenticated by the state in which they were sealed. These newly sealed documents will then be sent to the federal government where they will be certified again. This entire document set, called a dossier, will be sent by the adopting agency to the host country. Once approved, this major step in the process will now allow the parents to be officially matched with a child.
Once these documents are in place and a match has been made, the parents can apply to the United States immigration office to approve the emigration of the adopted child to the United States. After this approval has been made, then permission from the host country can be obtained to travel and consummate the adoption. These steps are only a general guide, as each situation is unique, depending on the parents, agency, and country.
How much does international adoption cost?
This really depends on the particular nation from which the parents are adopting. According to a US Department of State report reflecting 2012, adoptions ranged from $0 to $64,357. However, it seems that $28,525.00 seems to be the halfway amount. In this report, one can also see how much it cost adopting parents once arriving in country. People sometimes do not realize the cost before even leaving the country. The process of preparing a dossier can be just as expensive as the in-country costs. If an adoption costs $30,000 total, it may be safe to assume that roughly half will go to in-country costs and another half, if not slightly higher, goes towards the preparatory work before traveling.
Each of the steps in the process for adopting requires a fee of some sort, ranging from several thousand dollars to a few dollars. The governments and agencies require fees for their time and paper work, notaries need to be paid, postage fees, and a variety of unforeseen costs nickel and dime the adopting parents. Additionally, in-country travel fees include the obvious hotel and flight fees. However, the adoptive parents will need to pay for food, travel , activities, etc. Some countries even ask for an orphanage fee of several thousand dollars to support the care for the child pre-adoption.