Domestic and international adoptions have their own unique costs. Although there can be very different types of expenses, the grand total is similar, averaging $20,000 – $30,000. The only exception to this is domestic adoption out of foster care, which can cost a family almost nothing in the end. For private adoption, in Washington State, it is possible to adopt directly through an attorney without the help of an agency. This will eliminate the agency fee and will potentially reduce the total cost of a private adoption. But there are greater risks of birth mom changing her mind and if it take multiple attempts, then you may lose the cost benefit. Couples adopting internationally should also prepare to travel for a period that could range from a few days to several months.
The time a couple waits to receive the placement of a child depends on many factors. A private infant adoption in the U.S. can range from 6 months to 3 years and an international adoption will typically take from 18-36+ months. However, some countries can close the door to international adoptions with the U.S. and the adopting family may need to start the process over again. Placement through foster/adoption is typically within 4-6 months after the family is licensed, however the wait can be 1-3 years until the adoption is finalized, depending how close the child is to being available for adoption.
MEDICAL & SOCIAL HISTORY
One difference between domestic and international adoption is the availability of the medical and social history of the child and their birth parents. The medical history of children adopted internationally is often very sparse, if available at all. It is common for parents to adopt a child internationally without any knowledge of the child’s medical history.
However, the medical and social history of children adopted domestically is typically available. Couples adopting domestically are provided the medical records of the child, and are apprised of any social history of the birth parents pertaining to the child. Agencies should make this information available to families prior to entering into an adoption agreement, giving them the choice of accepting the match based on those factors or not.
Couples adopting any child domestically or internationally should be prepared for attachment issues, the impact of trauma and feelings of grief and loss.
Medical sites that can be helpful:
- Center of Adoptive medicine: http://adoptmed.org/
- Pediatric Interim Care Center: http://www.picc.net/
Couples adopting internationally should fully research the adoption process required by each country, as they widely vary. One legal concern in domestic adoption is the myth that the child’s biological parents may come back years later and take the child back. This is also a common argument against open and semi-open adoptions, as many people are led to believe that contact with the birth parents will lead to the birth parents’ desire to revoke their consent, even after the adoption is finalized. For this reason, many couples believe that international adoptions are “safer,” due to the fact that there is routinely no contact with the birth parents in international adoptions prior to and after the completion of the adoption. The fact is that once an adoption is finalized by the U.S. courts, the adoptive family is recognized as the child’s family by law. Although adoption laws vary state to state, the laws remain very clear. Despite sensationalized media stories in a few high-profile cases, post-adoption revocations are extremely rare and are usually a result of illegal or unsound legal practices.