The International Adoption Process: Where Do I Begin?
Love Without Boundaries is not an adoption agency. However, most of the children we work with are considered orphans who could potentially be adopted domestically or internationally, and so naturally we talk with many families who are thinking about whether international adoption might be a good fit for them. So during this November — National Adoption Month — we thought we would go through some of the basic considerations for people considering international adoption.
Figure out what you want, and why.
- Why are you considering adoption? Adoption may be driven to fill a personal need or desire or to meet the needs of a child. The desire to be a parent may spur your interest in adoption. Alternately, knowing that there is a child out there who needs a family may be the clincher, or the other way around. For many people, it is a combination of the two!
- What type of child is the best fit for your family at this time? There are lots of wonderful resources to help you answer this question, and we have put together many of them at our new Adopt Special Needs website, www.adoptspecialneeds.org.
- What is important to you in a country program?
- What do you expect from an agency?
Know that you have options!
- You are not committed to the adoption process, a program or agency until you say so.
- There are many country programs, domestic, foster care, older children, sibling groups, and special needs adoption. You must decide what is right for you and your family.
- Write down a list of your priorities.
- List the countries you want to consider. You might feel drawn to a country because of a cultural or personal connection, after reading an adoption story, or reading an article about children living outside of family care in that country.
- Use your lists to form questions.
Once you review the country process and fees as well as eligibility requirements to see if they fit your family dynamic, these lists of ideas and priorities will help in eliminating programs that are not a good fit . You will be able to cross off programs, and your list of possible countries will become shorter as you do your research. Once you have shortened your list (hopefully to one program that seems like the best fit), you will be able to move on to the next step.
Identify agencies with the country program that interests you, and interview them using your priority list. You can use a search engine such as www.adoption.state.gov to identify accredited agencies. However, remember that there are other sites out there too — as well as your Google search engine! Once you have interviewed the agencies, you should be able to decide which agency you want to work with.
Request an application to get started!
Many families who begin the process often feel like they are “jumping through hoops.” They often receive the list of documents and approvals which must be completed in order to adopt and feel very overwhelmed. Just remember that in adoption, agencies and governments are responsible for the welfare of the child that will be placed in your family, and everyone needs to feel confident the child is going to the perfect place for them. Thousands of families have completed the process, and you can, too. Just take everything one step at a time!
Adoption begins — not ends — at placement. Take this lifelong journey seriously.
You may find yourself wondering if the love will come naturally. Honestly, love is something that grows like a flower. It starts as a seed and needs to be watered to bloom; it often needs pruning to stay healthy. Be patient! If you take care of your little flower, you will be able to believe in it when it starts to wilt early into spring and nurture it after a harsh winter.
~Meg Gallson Montgomery is LWB’s Adoption Advocacy Director.
Love Without Boundaries proudly advocates for adoption but is not an adoption agency. We invite you to contact [email protected]