Posted by: Tracy Barsamian | October 7, 2012

Domestic vs. International Adoption

Friends of ours are ready to start a family!  And they are considering both domestic and international adoption.  I really don’t know much about domestic adoption.  Rob and I had ruled it out based on our understanding that the birth mother had a certain amount of time during which she could change her mind and decide to parent the baby, even after the adoptive parents had taken custody of the baby.  That felt like way too much risk.  But now that I am doing some research for our friends…it appears that the birth mother’s right to change her mind varies greatly by state.  This Infant Adoption Training Initiative seems to have a good list of differences in state adoption laws.

Anyway…in doing this research, I was so surprised to learn that “the annual number of infants adopted domestically (excluding foster and relative adoption) is estimated to be around 18,000 — far greater than the annual number of international adoptions. Moreover, the process of adopting a newborn in the United States can go more swiftly than you may imagine. In a 2011 Adoptive Families survey, the majority of respondents were matched with a birth mother in less than three months, and 40% were matched less than one month before their child was born.” Adoptive Families Website.  Wow!!  That’s fast!!

But here’s a big risk with domestic adoption, “a “false start” can occur–about half of prospective birth parents later decide against adoption, although most who change their minds do so before birth. ” Adoptive Families Website.  Interestingly (and it’s only interesting because we are currently snug at home with our two beautiful daughters!), we weren’t even thinking about the birth mother changing her mind during the wait…we were only thinking of her changing her mind in the hospital or once we were home with the baby.

So Adoptive Families has some really good information on its site!!

Start here for adoption options (both domestic and international).

Start here for an international adoption – country overview.

Now I will start my bossy-pants advice portion of tonight’s post.  If I were starting an adoption today, I would…

(1)  Investigate domestic infant adoption.

(2)  If domestic adoption was not a good match for my family, I would look at South Korea.  South Korea’s program is the best.  The babies are well cared for.  The birth moms are well cared for.  The medical information is accurate and thorough.  You will most likely be matched with a boy in South Korea and they have some strict rules (you may not be older than 44 years old at time of placement, for example).

(3)  I would then investigate Colombia by calling Greenberg and Greenberg, a law firm specializing in international adoptions (specifically Colombia).  One of the partners, Jamie Greenberg, was adopted by his parents (the original Greenberg and Greenberg) in Colombia in 1973.

(4)  And I would investigate the waiting child program in China ONLY at CHINA ADOPTION WITH LOVE.  A “waiting child” is a child with a special need.  For the most part, these are medical needs.  Some are really minor, like cleft lip/palate, club foot, strabismus, etc.  We were very comfortable going down this path with our second adoption.  But, quite honestly, I’m not sure that I would have been able to take this extra leap of faith were it our first adoption.

As a closing thought.  Adoption through foster-care is an important option that I didn’t even touch here.  Most of the kids are older and Rob and I really wanted to adopt our children as young as possible.  But there sure are a lot of kiddos who need and deserve a loving family RIGHT NOW.  Again, Adoptive Families provides really good information about Adoption through Foster Care.  They report that there are 408,000 children in US foster care and 107,000 are waiting to be adopted.  Only 12% of the children are younger than two.

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