The first step in choosing adoption as a parenting route is to become familiar with the process. The process of adopting a child can be confusing and overwhelming, but with some basic knowledge of procedures, it can be a very rewarding choice. There are, of course, advantages and disadvantages to adopting both domestically and adopting internationally that include financial, emotional and logistical aspects. It is always a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of such a substantial life decision.
Domestic adoption is the process of adopting a child within the United States. There are so many positive aspects to adopting a child in-country. You are more likely to be able to adopt a younger child or a baby if you adopt within the United States since most adoption agencies match adoptive parents with birth mothers during pregnancy. It generally takes less time for the adoption process once parents are matched since there is no language barrier, less paperwork and little-to-no travel time involved. Since the United States keeps very thorough medical records, you will likely have very accurate medical information on your adopted child even before birth. Financially it may be extremely affordable, especially if you choose to foster-to-adopt; there are subsidies and government assistance available for adoptive parents who adopt within the foster care system of the United States.
While there are many pros to domestic adoption, there can be some negative aspects as well, including birth parent expenses if choosing to do a private adoption, possible emotional turmoil and long waiting lists. Since many adoptive parents seek to adopt a newborn, private adoption agencies fulfill that need by matching birth parents with potential adoptive parents. Many fees many be involved that can include birth parent medical costs, living expenses and monthly allowances. If a certain race is preferred, there may be long waiting lists. Of course, there is always the possibility of the birth parents having a change of heart before the adoption is complete.
International adoption is the process in which adoptive parents legally adopt a child born in a different country. This path is long and complicated, but there are so many positive benefits to adopting a child in need overseas. One advantage to international adoption is that there are many children who need loving homes in less fortunate countries, making availability a non-issue. Peace of mind is always important during such a big life decision and international adoption may provide that; since these children are typically orphans, there is no risk of the birth mother changing her mind before the adoption is legal and no birth mother expenses. Depending on the country, requirements may be less strict for potential adopters as well. For example, some countries allow single mothers, single fathers, parents over 40 and same-sex couples to adopt.
International adoption comes with its own set of disadvantages. One of the biggest concerns is the time involved. It can take quite awhile to get an international adoption fully complete since everything is taking place in two separate counties. Travel fees and travel time are always involved, which is also a concern for parents who have inflexible jobs. While some international adoptions only require a few days of travel, many countries require two weeks or more. Additionally, medical history may be incomplete or nonexistent in some situations, and there is relatively no chance of adopting a newborn internationally since children must first become orphaned to be adopted by someone outside of the country.
While there are many cons to adopting, many adoptive parents agree that the pros outweigh the cons. If adopting is important to you, choose the route that accommodate your lifestyle, financial situation and emotional state. Remember, just as families don't get to pick their biological children, many times they don't get to pick an adoptive child either. Disadvantages can be avoided if you are open to the possibility of adopting through foster care, adopting an older child, a special needs child or a child of any race or gender. Flexibility, an open mind and an open heart are must haves for a successful adoption.
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