Adopting a child can be a very rewarding experience, particularly for couples who have been unable to have children of their own. It’s the ability to give a child who, for whatever reason, does not have parents and/or a family of their own.
Why Adopt Internationally?
Adopting a US child can take many years. Adoption of children in foster care can (theoretically) be free or for less cost than a private adoption, but there are limited numbers of children who are available for adoption out of foster care. It’s also possible that the court will reunite the child with their biological parent or parents and removed them from your home. There are plenty of children in the foster care system that want to have a family, but the process is complicated, and may not turn out the way everyone hopes.
International adoption is appealing because other countries have plenty of children in need of homes. These children also face risks of:
- Malnutrition and lack of clean water
- Lack of lifelong educational and economic opportunities
- No shelter, or inadequate shelter
- Death by preventable and other diseases
- Being taken for human trafficking, child labor or child warriors
Adopting these at-risk children takes a little less time, and gives them an opportunity for a better life that they would not have otherwise.
Why do people adopt internationally when there are so many children in the US who need help? This article from Nightlight, a private Christian adoption agency, offers some positive insight into that question.
What You Need To Know
If you’ve decided to adopt one of the millions of children from outside the US that are orphaned, here are some things you need to know.
- Marriage. Many countries only allow married couples to adopt, and have limits on how many divorces each parent has had.
- Some countries do not permit LGBTQ adoptions. Taiwan allows LGBTQ adoptions, but does not recognize same-sex marriages.
- Adopting from overseas also takes a long time. Depending on the country from which you want to adopt a child, you will be waiting for a while. Don’t give up.
- You will be required to travel to the child’s home country at least once. Each country has its own requirements for international adoption, and you will be spending a period of time there, one week or longer before you are selected to receive a child.
- You may not be able to adopt a healthy infant. In some countries, babies are routinely born with health problems. Older children are plentiful, but have experienced traumas on their way to adoption. They may have spent time in orphanages, have special needs, or lived through a war zone. Many have unresolved but minor medical issues.
- Background information may be incomplete or unreliable. Poor countries do not have the resources to keep good records and background information.
- There is a lot of paperwork involved. Beginning with your adoption home study, there are multiple forms you’ll need to fill out, both for the child’s country and the US. The other country will require a dossier from you, and you’ll also need to submit an I-600A: Application for Advancing Processing of Orphan Petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before you bring your child into Texas. You can read more information on the USCIS website.
- Due diligence on an adoption agency and the child is vitally important. There are good and bad agencies, but it’s up to you to research their past, their clients, their Facebook pages, and other vital information before moving forward.
- Time to adapt. Your new child isn’t going to be “family ready” when you take him or her home. A child adopted from another country will probably have already lived through a trauma. Adjusting to a new country, a new language, and new people as parents and siblings is also a big change and a lot to deal with.
These are just some of the things you should consider before deciding to adopt from overseas. While many families adopt successfully, you’ll need to be prepared for the process and to welcome your new child into your family.
The Best Countries For International Adoption
- South Korea
All of these countries have their own individual rules and regulations about adoptions from outside of their countries. You’ll also need to spend time doing due diligence on the country you choose to adopt from before you get started.
Let Wendy L. Hart Help With Adoption
Whether you’re adding to your family from Texas or Taiwan, Wendy L. Hart is an experienced family law attorney who is ready to help you with an adoption. For help with your international adoption process or for help with anything else adoption related, call our Mansfield-Fort Worth family law office today at (817) 842-2336.