Challenges with International Adoption

Challenges with International Adoption

Adopting a child locally is not for everyone.  Some people struggle knowing that the baby’s birth family is nearby and might later want the child.  Others struggle to find a child they’d like to adopt within the timeframes they want.

These factors sometimes lead parents to consider international adoption.  While this is an amazing act of charity on the part of the adoptive parents, it also comes with its own set of unique challenges. Continue reading to discover what some of those are so you can make sure you’re ready for them.

You Probably Won’t Get a Newborn

This isn’t so much a challenge as a hard truth that people need to address early on. If you’re hoping to adopt a newborn, looking abroad may not be the best option.

There are a number of reasons for this, but the main one is that the process usually takes quite a bit of time to complete the process.  Also, many countries have regulations about when children become eligible for adoption internationally and have older age restrictions for this.

You May Not Know Much About Your Child

Depending on the country you’re adopting from, it’s possible you may not receive much, if any, detailed information about your child’s parents, medical history, or family history. In some cases, these children were abandoned, meaning the agencies have no idea about their family history and very little information about their mother or father.

Institutional Issues Are Real

One of the sad consequences of international adoption is that, if the child has been institutionalized for any length of time, there is a good chance they will have some level of attachment or developmental delays. This is something that can be worked through with time, therapy and love, but these issues often need to be addressed immediately and can be quite distressing for unprepared parents. There could also be unforeseen medical issues that are not discovered until after you have adopted your child.

You Will Need to Travel to the Country You’re Adopting From

While it varies by country and by the agency you’re going through, you can expect to have to travel to the country of your adoptive child’s origin at least once, and possibly several times throughout the process. Adoption agencies won’t let just anyone adopt a child, so it in necessary for both the agency and the adoptive child meet you in person prior to the completion of the adoption. China is one of the few countries where you only need to visit once. Many others mandate two or three trips or one extended visit.

One obvious challenge to international adoptions is the language barrier between you and the child’s home country, and potentially the child. If you are interested in international adoption, knowledge of the native language may be necessary.

It Will Be More Expensive

Adopting internationally is generally much more expensive than domestic adoption. This is especially true when you compare the idea of adopting from a local state agency which can potentially be free.

Besides travel fees, you will need to hire an attorney with experience in international adoption law. There will be what seems like an endless amount of paperwork that needs to be prepared and filed in order for the adoption to go through, in addition to screenings and background checks.

Of course, there will also be medical expenses when you adopt internationally. For one thing, they will most likely need immunization shots immediately. In addition, many agencies require a medical examination be completed right away to screen for previously undetected medical issues.

Mitigating Some of the Problems

Though there are many challenges you will have to overcome when completing an international adoption, having a team of professionals to assist you will make it much easier.  Finding the right pediatrician and having your medical insurance updated beforehand will help. Research to find the agencies that are most accommodating will also be essential.  However, one big difference-maker will be hiring the right attorney as well. You’ll need one who has experience with international adoption and, ideally, the country you’re looking to adopt from.

None of the above challenges should necessarily deter you from remembering that no matter how difficult a journey, when it’s all said and done you’ll have a new member of your family.  Many families report a positive experience from adopting internationally which is part of the reason why it has become such a popular option in the first place.  Hire the proper professionals to assist, and you will have years of subsequent memories with your family to make it worth it!