If you’re hoping to adopt a baby, one of the first steps is to decide whether to pursue an international adoption or a domestic adoption. There are many benefits to both types of adoption. Below we’ve outlined some of the differences between the two in order to help you make an easier and more informed choice about which is best for your family.
Many people think that international adoption costs a lot less than domestic adoption, but that is a common misconception. The reality is that the cost of adoption can vary greatly from family to family and situation to situation, regardless of the type. Sometimes one form costs significantly more than the other, and other times they are relatively similar in cost — it depends on many factors.
Both types of adoption come with their own unique costs. For example, in an international adoption, you’d be paying for foreign travel and lodging expenses and the costs associated with a visa and immigration documents. In a domestic adoption, you’d be paying birthmother expenses, legal fees, and the costs of traveling to and staying in the birthmother’s state.
Keep in mind that general statistics about adoption costs you may find elsewhere typically apply to working with a traditional adoption agency. LifeLong Adoptions’ adoption marketing program is found to cost at least $20,000 less than the total cost you’d pay with traditional adoption agencies. So if you choose to work with LifeLong Adoptions, you’ll be choosing one of the most affordable ways to adopt a baby.
With domestic adoption, there is not usually a traditional waiting list. An expectant mother chooses you based on the family profile you create. Because of this, the process can take anywhere from just a couple months to a couple years. This also means that the process itself is more unpredictable than with an international adoption. On top of that, with domestic adoption, there is always the possibility that a planned adoption could fail at any point during the process.
In an international adoption, hopeful adoptive families are usually placed on a traditional waiting list, meaning you will start at the bottom of the list and rise to the top as children are adopted. The international adoption process is a little more structured and predictable than with a domestic adoption. Planned international adoptions rarely fail; however, laws may change, other social or political issues may arise, or a natural disaster could occur while you’re in the process of adopting, which could cause delays.
Age and Background of the Adopted Child
Domestic adoption is the only way to adopt a newborn baby. Usually, the baby will be able to go straight home with you from the hospital, which avoids the need for cradle care. In addition, it’s likely you will have access to the medical history of the birthmother and sometimes the birthfather.
With an international adoption, you will be adopting an older infant or a toddler. The child will have spent most or all of his or her life in some sort of foster care or orphanage. You may get medical records on the child, but you would rarely receive any background or medical history about the child’s family.
Adoption Legal Concerns
With a domestic adoption, the birth parents will have legally terminated all their parental rights after finalization. Many families choose international adoption because they are worried the child’s birth parents might try to take the child back at some point in the future. Not only is this extremely rare, it’s often the result of questionable legal practices.