Posted by: Vernon Ready
Thinking about adopting a child? By making the decision to adopt, you begin a long, exciting, and rewarding journey to become and being parents.
If you are still in the early stages of the process, you have a lot of decisions to make: what age range are you looking for? Do you want to adopt a boy? A girl? Does gender not matter? Do you want to adopt from a mother who is expecting?
One of the big questions you may be facing is where in the world you want to adopt your child from. There are a lot of things that attract many couples to international adoption – some may even have a specific country in mind. However, other couples may be intimidated by costs, timing, or other factors that make international adoption different than domestic adoption.
If you are still working on making a decision, we’ve laid out a few things that you should take into consideration before choosing where the newest member of your family should come from:
Domestic Adoption Gives You More Flexibility in Age: If you want to adopt a newborn, you can only do so through domestic adoption. International adoption requires you to adopt older children (though they can still be as young as an older baby). Of course, if you want to adopt an older child or a teenager, you can do so through either type of adoption.
Popular Countries Tend to Have Longer Lines: If you do decide to adopt internationally, you then have to ask yourself where you would like to adopt a child. The most popular countries that Americans adopt from include China, Ethiopia, South Korea, or the Ukraine. Each of these countries have advantages and disadvantages, but keep in mind that other couples will also be waiting to adopt from these popular countries as well.
Think Carefully about the Timeline: Many people opt for international adoption because they believe it will be faster. And this can be true. In some cases, domestic adoption agencies have long waiting lists and it may be quite a while before you are “next in line.”
That being said, many domestic adoptions can be completed within a few months. International adoptions often take longer, and you have the added risk that they can be affected by policy changes and changes within the adoption agency itself. Moreover, distance and time differences will likely make these agencies harder to reach in the event that the process faces a roadblock.
How to Weigh Costs (and What to Expect): No matter where you adopt, it requires a big budget – but where your money goes differs. For an international adoption, you may have to fly out of the country (and obtain visas or passports) to meet with your child and bring him or her home with you. But if your domestic adoption involves an expectant mother, you may have to set aside money for her living expenses, medical bills, and other needs. Going through a private agency in Colorado requires an adoption license, which can cost up to $3,500.
Check out this blog post for a more in-depth look at the costs of adopting a child internationally or domestically.
Contact with Birth Parents: Domestic adoptions can be either open or closed, which will determine how much contact the child can have with his or her birth parents. Open adoptions have its advantages and disadvantages, but can intimidate parents who worry about birth parents trying to take back their child later in life.
However, this scenario is based on myth. Once a child has been adopted, their adoptive parents take over the legal rights of the child.
With international adoption, your child will have no contact with their birth parents. This has initial advantages, and can set many parents’ minds at ease, but may cause some emotional or mental trauma later in life.
Medical History and Records: When you or your children do not know who the child’s birth parents are, there can also be confusion later in life regarding the child’s medical history. Access to medical records is important to have so you can tell your child’s doctor what medical risks they may face and conditions they may develop.
These records are very rarely accessible to parents who adopt internationally. When you adopt domestically, however, you are more likely to have a full medical history of your child’s birth parents. You can even use this information while selecting or being matched with potential children. If you do not want a child who is predisposed to certain medical conditions, you may be able to narrow down your search.
Whichever route you decide to take, you deserve proper representation and legal counsel to ensure the smoothest adoption process. Call us today for a free consultation on the next steps to take with your lawyer in the adoption process.
About the Author:
Vernon Ready is an award-winning Colorado lawyer with an in-depth understanding of all areas of family law, estate planning, and personal injury. His energetic and aggressive advocacy approach allow him to successfully navigate complex cases, including high asset divorce and complicated custody issues. During his time at the University of Colorado Law School, Ready won numerous awards for his trial advocacy skills. Since being admitted to practice in 2009, Ready has become well-known throughout Denver and the state for the passionate defense of his clients and his unparalleled understanding of the law.