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What are the Pros and Cons of International Adoption

by Suleman

Table of Contents

  • Background
  • History of International Adoption
  • The Politics of the International Adoption
  • Reason for Choosing International Adoption
  • Statistics regarding International Adoption
  • Cost of International Adoption
  • Financial Assistance
  • Adoption Process
  • Post – Adoption Formalities
  • Pros and Cons of International Adoption
  • Regulation
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Bibliography


International adoption can be considered as an alternative but integrated part of building up a family. It involves the transfer of children from one country to another for parenting. It can be considered as a form of stranger adoption. It is entirely different from the relative adoption where either the step-parent or the child’s extended biological family take up the responsibility of the child. Even international adoption is different from national adoption also as in case of international adoption children and the adoptive parents meet across lines of disparity involving not only in the biological factor but also race, ethnicity, nationality, cultural heritage and socio-economic class. Typically in international adoption, the adoptive parents usually belong to one of the richer countries of the world where they tend to adopt children from a poor mother and to belong to less privileged ethnic and racial groups of poorer countries of the world. Many countries serve U.S. couples who are planning to adopt (Bartholet, “International Adoption”).

History of International Adoption

International adoption is a phenomenon of the last half-century. The trend had begun after the First World War. The horrible outcome of the war led to predictable deaths and devastation. In most of the vanquished countries, the difficulty of parentless children had become evident to the world. Again Korean War also opened up an option for the United States to adopt a Korean child. Recently, dissolution of the U.S.S.R. and fall of the “Iron Curtain” have resulted in the inclusion of the name of Russia, China and various new countries in that list. China’s one-child problem, along with its overpopulation crisis, resulted in the foreign adoption of thousands of baby girls (Bartholet, “International Adoption”).

What are the Pros and Cons of International Adoption

The Politics of the International Adoption

The two fundamental reasons, namely the children in need of a home and broader community issues make people in favour of international adoption. Otherwise, there is enormous controversy regarding this subject. Again one who is in favour of international adoption defines it in context of the social science and child development expertise which refers that children placed in the international adoptive home grow up much better than those who brought upon the street or in institutional homes. In this regards, the opponents argued that children could be better served through remaining in the same community of their origin and become fortunate to enjoy ethnic and national heritage. Again the advocates of the international adoption question of how children can enjoy their cultural heritage full-fledged while growing up in an orphanage or on the street.

Reason for Choosing International Adoption

There are a few reasons for choosing international adoption, and that can be described now. The primary goal is the decline in the availability of newborns in the United States. There are more than 50 countries to choose from for adoption such as Colombia, Kazakhstan, Liberia, Haiti, Ethiopia and others. According to the statisticians, 75% of the foreign children came from Russia, China, Ukraine, S. Korea and Guatemala (Astin & Et. Al., “International Adoption”).

Statistics Regarding International Adoption

A list of top ten countries has been exhibited in a tabular format along with its number of adoption to the U.S.

Name of the Country Number of Adoption to the US
China 3001
Ethiopia 2277
Russia 1586
South Korea 1080
Guatemala 756
Ukraine 601
Vietnam 481
Haiti 330
India 297
Kazakhstan 295


(Legal Language Service, “The Top Most Popular Countries”).

According to the factsheets of U.S., more than 10,000 international adoptions are being completed annually by Americans (Hassler, P. “Adopt International: Everything You Need to Know to Adopt a Child from Abroad”).

The figure was around 20,000 per annum from the period of 2000 to 2008. In 2009, 12,753 families of U.S. had adopted international children (Legal Language Service, “The Top Most Popular Countries”).

It has also been found that men of 18-44 age groups are twice interested in adopting a child in comparison to the women of the same age group (C.D.C., “Highlights”).

Cost of International Adoption

Basically, for international adoption, individual extra costs have to be incurred by the adoptive parents. They need to travel to the country of origin of the child. Even they need to visit at least two times or have to stay there for a long duration, and both are subject to high cost. After adoption, also the parents have to visit the native country of the children for maintaining cultures. Then agency cost also has to be borne by the parents. For international adoption, training is required to understand the legal procedure and also for post-adoption formalities and others. Even in some instances, parents join the classes to learn the language of the sending country and to become familiar with the culture of that nation which is essential for the parents to bring up the children. The medical cost of the adopted children should also be considered. Besides that, few other charges are also there to be considered, such as a donation to the orphanage, foreign attorney legal and placement fees, escort charges and additional charges. As per the records, the general cost for international adoption is approximately $ 30,000 (Hegwood, “What Is the Cost of International Adoption?”).

Financial Assistance

The financial assistance that the adoptive parent could get is the Tax-deductable benefits, State Tax Credit/ Adoption Subsidies, dependency exemption and adoption assistance benefit program. Even they can be fortunate enough to get the employer assistance also (Astin & Et. Al., “International Adoption”).

Adoption Process

Before adopting a child, the parents should take care of two things, the adoption process and the immigration process. For the first process, one needs to understand the requirement of their home country and child’s home country. Even to become eligible for international adoption, this becomes a precondition. Certain territories and provinces undertake licensed agencies to take care of the adoption process. The parents should ensure that they have a sound understanding of the laws and legal procedures of that country to adoption. Many states follow the ‘Hague Convention’ and to adopt children from those countries; parents are required to meet with the provincial governmental officials (Citizenship and Immigration Canada, “Before You Apply”).

To get started with international adoption, few processes are followed. At the planning stage, the parents need to complete specific background research. They should choose the agency based on history, credentials and employees. Information can be collected from various sources like that of internet, books, and magazines and most importantly from the adoptive parent groups. Next, they need to file a form ‘I- 600’ for advance processing. The next step is about applying for the passport unless they have it.

Simultaneously, they need to prepare the referral of the child and obtain final guardianship. Then, they have to apply for the orphan visa which will lead to post-placement supervision and lastly, they need to readopt the children in their country and have to file for the citizenship (Astin & Et. Al., “International Adoption”).

Post – Adoption Formalities

After adoption, certain formalities need to be accomplished. The adoption procedure is to be finalized in the nation of origin. After approval, the parents have to send back the citizenship notification to the country of origin. Apart from this legal procedure, they need to undertake proper counselling. The children have to be familiar with the culture of their parents, and for appropriate training, guidance and support of parents are essential. The adoptive parents can organize a picnic, holidays and motherland trips to build up a healthy relationship (Astin & Et. Al., “International Adoption”).

Pros and Cons of International Adoption 

The pros and cons of international adoption are demonstrated below:

Pros: It leads to the learning of a new culture, with an idea of the time frame and cost where a guarantee can be provided in terms of referrals.

Cons: They have to travel to other counties. Therefore, after adoption, medical issues can arise because of unknown health conditions. Unlike relative and national adoption, it is challenging to track birth parents, and the adopting parents have to deal with substantial legal documentation that often results in too unpredictable delays (Astin & Et. Al., “International Adoption”).


No children from Australia, Western Europe or Canada are allowed to be adopted by Americans. Even in the countries of Armenia, Sri Lanka and Thailand, no single parent can choose. Some states require long term residency limits for adopting. Significant hazards are faced by the parents while taking from Korea as the parent should not be 30% overweighed concerning the average weight for their respective height (Ashe, “Restrictions & Requirements”).


Many countries serve U.S. couples who are planning to adopt. Therefore, parents search for the country that provides the best service along with uncomplicated legal procedures. The aspects that have to be considered while choosing internationally are gender, race, age and most importantly, the medical needs. Couples should take the suggestion of the qualified adoption professionals, who can provide them with the most effective solution (Adoption, “Getting Started with International Adoption”).

With this note, the project can be concluded that shortly all the hazards and legal procedures of international adoption are expected to be minimized, and the number of international adoption will be gradually increasing which will result in a broad cultural upliftment worldwide and a strong political relationship among the nations of all over the world.

  • Adoption. “Getting Started with International Adoption”. October 06, 2010. International Adoption, 2010. <http://international.adoption.com/>
  • Ashe, N. S. “Restrictions & Requirements”. October 06, 2010. Foreign, 2010. <http://international.adoption.com/foreign/restrictions-requirements-in-international-adoption.html>
  • Astin, C. & Et. Al. “International Adoption”. October 06, 2010. Adoption, 2008. <http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/ashlynn1386-110475-adoption-ijams-bastin-astin-parra-ellis-basic-overview-education-ppt-powerpoint/>
  • Bartholet, E. “International Adoption”. October 06, 2010. Children and Youth in Adoption, Orphanages, and Foster Care, 2005. <http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/bartholet/pdfs/IAChapter5FINAL.pdf >
  • C.D.C. “Highlights”. October 06, 2010. Adoption Experiences of Women and Men and Demand for Children to Adopt by Women 18–44 Years of Age in the United States, 2002, 2008. <http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_23/sr23_027.pdf>
  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada. “Before You Apply”. October 06, 2010. International Adoption, 2010. <http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/adoption/index.asp>
  • Hassler, Patricia. Adopt International: Everything You Need to Know to Adopt a Child from Abroad American Library Association, 1996.
  • Hegwood, V. G. “What Is the Cost of International Adoption?”. October 06, 2010. eHow, 2010. <http://www.ehow.com/about_5073432_cost-international-adoption.html>
  • Legal Language Service, “The Top Most Popular Countries”. October 06, 2010. The International Adoption Process, 2010. <http://www.legallanguage.com/legal-articles/international-adoption-statistics/>
  • Davenport, Dawn. The Complete Book of International Adoption: A Step by Step Guide to Finding Your Child Broadway, 2006.
  • Marre, Diana. & Briggs, Laura. International Adoption: Global Inequalities and the Circulation of Children N.Y.U. Press, 2009.
  • Traver, A. E. “Sociologists for Women in Society Fact Sheet”. October 06, 2010. Gender & International Adoption, 2008. <http://www.socwomen.org/fall08_fact_sheet.pdf>

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