While it is widely known that certain celebrities seem to have an affection for adopting children from other countries, the truth is that international adoption continues to be a popular option forany couple wanting to expand their family.
According to the U.S. Department of State, over 19,000 American families petitioned for international adoptions in 2007, with the majority of orphans coming from Russia, Guatemala and China. Children are available for adoption in over 50 countries around the world. One notable exception to the availability of children for international adoption: children from Australia, Canada and Western Europe cannot be adopted by American citizens except in rare circumstances.
This trend of looking overseas for adoptable children is not just the result of a decline of available infants in the U.S. but also because the vast cultural and economic differences in other countries have created a distinct need for parents looking to adopt.
China, for example, has strict population and reproduction policies designed to limit families to one child per household. These policies offer generous benefits such as longer maternity leave and even cash bonuses for families who adhere to the rule while administering stiff penalties to those who don’t. Many rural areas do allow couples to have more than one child if the first child is a female or is disabled, but even with this exception, many children – primarily girls – are abandoned in the hopes of having a male child the next time around or simply to avoid the penalties for multiple births.
Countries with poor economic growth suffer similar situations and, as a result, a large number of children end up in orphanages because their families can simply not afford to provide for them.
These unfortunate circumstances have essentially created a surplus of adoptable children in some countries and, because domestic (US)adoption can often be a “hit or miss” process, many couples have turned to international adoption instead.
There are, of course, laws and rules regulating who can adopt or be adopted and how the process will take place (both here and in the foreign country). It’s a good idea to know what you’re getting into before you pursue an international adoption. You should also realize that many countries are in various stages of politicial and social change that could disrupt your adoption process at any given time.
That said, there are still many reasons that an international adoption might be worth considering including the reduced likelihood that a birth parent will change her mind at the last minute. Should you choose to pursue an international adoption, you would be well-advised to seek professional help from an attorney and/or adoption agency specializing in intercountry adoptions as the home study can differ and your adoption qualifying process can vary greatly, depending upon the country you’re adopting from.
You may enjoy this book on the overall adoption process as well as this book which focuses on international adoptions .