Pursuing an international adoption is no easy task. Adoption in and of itself is a big step in the lives of everyone concerned. It is not for everyone. Certainly for many people, domestic adoption is their personal choice and their answer to a journey’s mission. However, for other people, it is a calling. I know in my case I considered international adoption seriously before we decided to do it. But there are factors you need to be aware of before adopting internationally. Some considerations overlap with domestic issues as well, but some are unique to the overseas experience.
- Choose an ethical, established international adoption agency with good reviews and/or references and credentials. Ask questions; do your research. You will rely very heavily on them, so take your time and feel comfortable with them before proceeding.
- Consider finances. Fees and unexpected expenses tend to pop up, so you must be prepared to handle these often on short notice. Agencies and courts abroad are not subject to the laws and ethical guidelines accepted in the United States.
- Become familiar with the adoption laws and processes of the country you wish to adopt from. Better yet, narrow down your options to 3, 4, or even 5 or 6 countries you are considering and research their laws, adoption statistics, health of children adopted, and other factors. Either online or in person, ask other families who have adopted from a specific country what their experience was like. Lean on your agency, too, because that’s what they are there for.
Nancy J. Evans Hall is married to the love of her life and has a wonderful teenage daughter. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A.T. in Humane Education. She had the privilege of studying at Oxford University in England for a while and eventually moved overseas for nearly 4 years. She enjoys traveling, writing, yoga and Pilates, rock music and festivals, and all things animal-related–she has several rescued pets. She currently works as an academic advisor at a state college.