Domestic vs. International
Each family’s decision on the type of adoption to pursue is a personal one. Whether you choose to adopt internationally or domestically depends on the circumstances in which you feel comfortable. There can be issues associated with both types of adoption. Education is the key to making an informed decision for your family situation.
Types of children Available
- Domestic Adoption – Newborns.
- International Adoption – Typically older infants and toddlers, yet children up to 16 years of age are in need of adoptive families in most countries.
Risk of adoption not working out
- Domestic Adoption – In North Carolina, birth parents have a revocation period of 7 days after they sign the legal documents.
- International Adoption – The risk is low in most countries; however, leadership and social issues in foreign countries change and there can be a slow down or termination of programs without notice. The countries’ goal is to place the children as soon as possible.
- Domestic Adoption – All adoptive placements are made in North Carolina. Adoptive parents residing outside North Carolina, generally travel once approvals are granted by NC and the receiving state. Otherwise, parents should be prepared to reside in NC for up to 14 days for state approvals.
- International Adoption – One or both spouses are required to travel to the foreign country to become engaged in the legal adoption process. Parents normally stay either a few days or up to 4 weeks depending on the requirements of the foreign country. In some countries, families are required to travel twice; escorts are still available in some countries.
Referrals (the identification of a child) generally are appropriate in both programs. Those who adopt internationally do not have to deal with the "legal risk" and "open" adoptions that are increasingly common with domestic adoptions.
In the following sections, we discuss some of the risks associated with both domestic and international adoptions. The reality is whether you adopt internationally or domestically most families are able to adopt healthy children.
Factors to consider before adopting domestically
- Birth fathers are becoming increasingly involved in the adoption process.
- Birth mothers generally select the adoptive family so families must provide photos and general non-identifying information.
- While drug and alcohol exposure is lower domestically, this is still a possibility.
- The wait for an adoptive placement greatly depends on the adoptive parent’s flexibility regarding such issues as: open vs. closed adoption; acceptance of a child in a “legal risk” situation; flexibility in race, medical issues and gender.
- Pregnancy counseling for the birth parents directly impacts their decision to parent or to choose an adoption plan.
Factors to consider before adopting internationally
- Medical information is sometimes sparse and often non-existent.
- Countries of the child’s origin may have drug/alcohol abuse.
- Children from overseas orphanages who have experienced multiple moves can exhibit attachment problems.
- Mental/developmental problems can result from poor nutrition.
- Travel can be unpredictable in some programs although most itineraries are set before travel.
- Delays can occur in foreign countries.