Domestic versus International Adoption /  Domestic versus International Adoption

Domestic Adoption versus International Adoption

A domestic adoption involves adopting a child who is a citizen of the same country as the adopting persons.  For USA adopting families, this means adopting a child born in the USA or adopting a USA citizen born abroad. 

All domestic adoptions are either intrastate or interstate.  In an intrastate adoption, the birth parent and adopting family live in the same state. In an interstate adoption, the birth parent and adopting family live in different states.  This intrastate and interstate distinction is very important since the laws affecting them are different.  Many adopting families hear horror stories about disrupted adoptions and about domestic adoptions in general, and, as a result, decide to look into and international adoption.  Most of these horror stories are the rare exceptions, or are distortions, or have been the result of a private, as opposed to an agency, adoption.  Families should carefully check out both domestic adoption resources and domestic adoption agencies as part of their process in deciding to adopt internationally.

In the United States, as a result of the decrease in the number of children available for adoption, the long waiting lists of many agencies, escalating costs of domestic adoptions, and the increase in male and female infertility factors, more and more U.S. citizens are adopting children from other countries. Within the last few years, thousands of children have been adopted from foreign countries by U.S. citizens. This site provides both information and guidance to U.S. citizens seeking information about international adoptions.

In an international adoption, the birth parent and adopting family live in different countries. An international adoption can allow you to experience all of the joys and emotions of being a parent but, as with domestic adoptions, the adoption process is fraught with potential problems and concerns.  An international adoption must meet the requirements of the state, US and foreign governments, and the Hague Convention. You need to be aware of the existence of these requirements, but all the details involved should ultimately be taken care of by the agency with which you have registered.

Three initial points to remember are not to sign up with an agency until you have carefully checked their license and then not to have the required home study done before you have finalized the selection of your child placing agency. Most foreign organizations, and many U.S. agencies, require that you have the home study completed by the placing agency. By selecting your agency and program first, and then having your home study completed, you will prevent unnecessary delays and expenses.

The third point involves international travel. In some countries, you can adopt a child without ever having seen the child and without traveling to the foreign country. This can be a very risky process and we recommend strongly that you should always see the child in person before you finally adopt. In adopting a child through one of our international programs (Russia and China), you will travel to the country at least once, and sometimes twice, to first see and then adopt the child. The actual adoption in each of these countries takes place with you present and must be done in the country itself.

Additional Information

If you would like additional information and assistance regarding adoption of a child please feel free to contact us.