When a couple begins to explore the idea of adopting a child, it is easy for them to quickly become overwhelmed with information, questions and decisions. One of the first dilemmas couples face is whether to pursue international adoption or domestic adoption. By thoroughly researching and weighing both options, a couple can decide whether international or domestic adoption is best for their family. Some of the requirements that must be met to adopt in China include marital Status, only married couples with marriage defined as between a man and a woman, who have been married for at least 2 years are able to adopt from China.
If either has been divorced, the couple must be married for 5 years before considering adopting from China. No more than two divorces are allowed; the age of prospective adoptive parents must be between 30 and 44 years old to adopt babies around 1 year old. Prospective adoptive parents can be between the ages of 30 and 50 for other children (about. com, 2012); Educational requirement for both parents are that they must have a H. S. diploma or vocational training. Typically from start to finish it will take 36-48 months for the adoption to be final.
The biggest factor influencing the wait for a child is the time it takes the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) to make a referral to a family. The current referral time is approximately eight months after the detailed prospective parents files are submitted and registered with the CCAA. The cost to adopt from China is not inexpensive; it can run $20,000 to $40,000, including travel. This cost also covers registration and program fees, applications, and home study fees, necessary paperwork and background checks, just to name a few.
Medical records of children adopted internationally are often minimal, if available at all. Information regarding the social history of the child’s birth parents, such as family medical history is also often unavailable (the Adoption Guide, 2012). In comparison, some of the requirements to adopt in the United States include marital status; couples do not have to be married to adopt; however, it will be easier for them to adopt if they are married. If the adopting parent is married, a minimum of a three year marriage is a common requirement; the minimum legal age to adopt is generally 18 years of age to 40 years of age.
In most situations, however, there will be a requirement that the adopting parents must be at least 20 years older than the child they are seeking to adopt; history of employment stability, and the prospect of future employment stability, are always considered to be big plusses in the eyes of birthparents; there is a thorough background check done in an attempt to uncover evidence of any prior legal or criminal problems, or any problems with child abuse, financial instability, or substance abuse.
The average time from preparation of portfolio to match with a birthmother can vary from 3 months (this being the majority) to being longer than 24 months; this includes time spent in false starts. The final adoption decree is usually finalized 6 months after the placement of the child with an adoptive family. The cost of adoption in the United States can range from $5,000 to $40,000 for agency and private adoptions. The cost includes; Agency applications nd program fees, attorney fees, birthmothers expenses, and travel just to name a few. One very large legal concern in domestic adoption is that in an attorney-facilitated adoption, a birth parent can try to withdraw consent to the adoption before the final adoption decree goes into effect, which is six months after placement. To exercise this right to withdraw consent, a birth parent must present clear and convincing evidence that the “best interests of the child” have changed (adoption. com, 2012).
Furthermore, the numbers of children in China awaiting adoption has dropped significantly in the past few years. In 2006, about 6,493 Chinese orphans came to the United States; in 2011 only 2,587 children were adopted. The belief for the decline is the rather strict adoption requirement that have been placed on prospective parents. Despite the fact that we live in one of the most fortunate nations in the world, there are 115,000 children in the U. S. foster care system waiting to be adopted.
Unfortunately some of these children are waiting because they are difficult to place due to their age, the fact that they are part of a sibling group, or their disability. The total number of children worldwide who are orphaned and waiting to be is approximately 2. 2 billion. Out of those 2. 2 billion children, 16 million children are estimated to be orphans. How do you even wrap your brain around that many parent-less children? The total number of children adopted worldwide each year, out of those 16 million orphans, is a mere 250,000.
These numbers are pretty overwhelming when you think about it (the Adoption Guide, 2012). The decision between domestic adoptions vs. international adoptions only scratches the surface of this big decision. Because a family’s experience with adopting from China will be very different from a family adopting from the United States, it is difficult to describe what to expect in either situation. Couples should fully research each of these adoption venues and then weigh their options to see which best matches their adoption plan.