A more procedural and costlier way of adopting a child is through international adoption. The laws to consider are doubled, the expenses and efforts exerted, and the requirements more exhaustive. However, these seeming barriers to international adoption do not stop many adoptive singles or parents to go the extra mile.
Advantages of international adoption
There was a drop in the number of international adoptions that were completed in 2004, which are 22,884 compared to 2014, which are 6,441. This is a 72% decrease but still remains considerable given the difficulties involved. The number dropped even further in 2015 where 5,648 adopted children were issued immigrant visas through their adoptive American parents.
Despite this decrease, many parents are still interested in inter-country adoption including some celebrities like Madonna, who adopted two children from Malawi, and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who adopted three children from Vietnam, Cambodia and Ethiopia.
International law on adoption
The most relevant international regulation that relates to inter-country adoption is the Hague Adoption Convention of 2008. This treaty governs adoption procedures conducted between America and other members of the Convention. It has a federal oversight on the adoption agencies in the US as well as on policies abroad.
The goal of this Hague adoption treaty is mainly to provide protection to the child, the adoptive parents and the biological parents against illegal and unethical practices, such as hidden costs and child abduction.
Requirements for international adoption
Basically, international adoption transpires when parents look to adopt a child from a different country. The adoptive parents must accomplish all the adoption requirements of both their U.S. home state and the foreign country of the child. Some of these requirements include the following:
- Prospective adoptive parents should be married;
- If single, must be aged 25 or more;
- The child should come from a member country of the 2008 Hague Adoption Convention;
- The adoption agency in the U.S. and its foreign counterpart where the child resides should be licensed;
- Adoptive parents should file an Orphan Petition before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) if child is orphaned, abandoned or the parent is unable to provide care, disappeared or unknown;
- A favorable home study report drafted by the agency should be submitted; and,
- Adoptive parents should apply for immigration visa for the child once petition is approved.
On top of the given requirements, the U.S. State Department on international adoption imposed new additional ones, namely, the need for the U.S. agencies concerned to be certified by the State Department and a proof from the adoptive parents that the foreign agency in charge acquired the natural parents’ consent and conducted counseling for them. It should also be shown that the child was cleared for adoption in the U.S. and that local placement was considered.
Other international adoption information
Despite going through all the international procedures and after bringing the adoptive child in the U.S., it is important to check the state laws where you intend to live to make sure their requirements conform with yours. There are cases when the adoptive parents had to re-adopt their child to fully comply with state regulations.
In terms of same-sex international adoption, there is currently no foreign country that allows it. However, it still persists since gay or lesbian couples initiate foreign adoption without divulging their sexual orientation.
Direct international adoption
The foregoing information applies to international adoption through licensed agencies, both in the U.S. and its overseas counterpart. However, international adoption can be conducted directly, which is not only more difficult to achieve but riskier also. Agencies are experts in adoption processes and are quite knowledgeable of the relevant laws of the countries concerned. Still the choice on how to commence international adoption, whether through agencies or direct, rests on the adoptive parents. Notably, however, going through an agency is the safer option.