A foreign adoption, also known as an intercountry or international adoption, allows you to adopt a child from a different country. When done following proper procedures, the child becomes legally and permanently your child. Countries have their own set of guidelines and procedures, and you must follow the procedures established in both your country and the country of the adopted child.
Expanding your adoption search to foreign countries means you have more options. You might have an easier time finding a child of the gender and age you prefer. Many children available for an intercountry adoption live in orphanages, so there is less chance of a birth parent changing her mind about giving the baby up for adoption. You also get the chance to travel to the child’s country of origin when you bring her home.
A child adopted from a foreign country will not likely be a baby by the time the process is complete, and you have physical custody. The process often takes between 12 and 18 months so even if your baby is only a few months old when you choose him, he’ll be older when he comes home with you. You are also less likely to receive information on the child’s medical or family history. His birth mother may not have received prenatal care. A child who spend time in an orphanage could have developmental delays.
Foreign adoptions are either completed through an agency or independently. Independent adoptions are usually supported by adoption facilitators or other services in the country. The process to adopt a child in a foreign country is similar to a domestic adoption. You complete an application, complete a home study and provide supporting documents. The country you choose affects the forms and additional steps required to complete the adoption. You also have to obtain an immigrant visa for your child.
The vast difference in adoption laws from one country to the next can lead to restrictions for adoptive parents. While a child might be eligible for adoption on her country’s laws, she might not be eligible for immigration into the United States. Likewise, the country you want to adopt from might have strict guidelines that you don’t meet. For example, some countries require a period of residency within the country, while others don’t allow single parents to adopt.
The cost for a foreign adoption varies depending on your specific situation. Each country’s adoption program charges different amounts. You also have fees for the application, home study and other procedural costs. At the conclusion of the adoption process, you incur travel expenses to get your child to your home. In total, the adoption could cost anywhere from $7,500 to $30,000, as of 2010.