Compare and Contrast Adopting Domestically vs Adopting Overseas

The definition of adoption is “the process in which a person, usually an adult, assumes the role of parenting for a child coming of the original parent(s).” This is usually on a permanent basis unless the original parents consist the adoption in the courts. Also, one should not confuse adoption with guardianship as the latter means the person has the legal authority to care for the interests of another person. Guardianship is generally appointed by the courts due for the need of protection. You have domestic adoption and international adoption. Either way, you are giving children who are in need of loving and caring parents regardless of what method you choose for adoption. There are major differences between domestic and international adoptions.

Domestic Adoptions –

In the case of a domestic adoption, it takes place within the United States. One may choose to go for a domestic adoption over an international adoption for many reasons such as finances. Adoption, regardless of whether it is a domestic or international one, costs a lot of money.

When going domestic, it can be less expensive than an international adoption. Furthermore, there is possible state and federal aid available for adoptive families that choose to go the domestic route. There are various inexpensive options when choosing a method to start the adoption process. There is also the possibility of getting reimbursed in the case of adopting a child with special needs. However, public agencies do the process with older children whereas private agencies do the process with infants.

Unfortunately, there are myths about domestic adoption that leads to negative perceptions.

In short, adopting domestically means your adopting a child from the country let alone your own state. Like international adoptions, you can choose from infants or older children. But, infant adoption will have to be done through a private agency.  Domestic adoptions also have the flexibility of open adoptions. 

International Adoption –

International adoption, also called “intercountry adoption,” is when you adopt a child from a different country than your own through the permanent legal means. While there are many families that have used international adoption, the process can be tricky unless you do it right. International adoptions are not finalized in your country, but, finalized in the country of the child’s origin. Say that you are going to adopt a child from Estonia, then the adoption would be finalized in Estonia. If you are adopting a child from Thailand, then the adoption would be legally finalized in Thailand.

It can be more difficult than domestic adoption due to changes in the laws in the United States and abroad. Recent scandals have caused changes in adoption laws. Should you consider an international adoption, you will have to check restrictions and requirements of different counties. Depending on your current situation, you will have to rule out adopting from certain countries. You also have to factor the countries in which Islamic Shari’a Law is observed. Furthermore, Islamic Shari’a Law will be observed differently from one country to another.

To better understand the legalities of international adoption, one should read over the UN General Assembly on the Protection and Welfare of Children and the Hague Convention.

While domestic adoptions, especially of infants, can be expensive, international adoptions are even more expensive. This is due to having to cover various international costs. Again, you will be dealing with foreign governments on the matter. When putting these factors together, an international adoption is trickier than a domestic adoption.

International adoption, in general, has dealt with many scandals. In 2010, there was the scandal of Russian adoptions in which Torry Ann Hansen of Tennessee put her then-adopted son Artyom on a one-way trip back to Russia without going through the legal channels. As a result of the scandal, Russia restricted adoptions to US families. Other countries started to feel the same way in wake of that scandal.

Members of the Idaho-based group called New Life Children’s Refuge were held by Haitian authorities of trying to illegal take children abroad. A similar incident happened with the French-based charity called L’Arche de Zoe, also called Zoe’s Ark, in which it got in trouble with the Chadian government for attempting to fly children out of the country. Spain had its fill of adoption scandals as it focused on Sister Maria Gomez who is accused of stealing a baby and illegally putting the child up for adoption. Guatemala’s government is trying to crack down on illegal adoption but has difficulty due to government corruption.

Regardless of what method you use, you are giving a child a home and a caring family. Keep in mind that international scandals can be more problematic. When dealing with agencies, it is very important to get as much information as you can.