Domestic vs. International Adoption

Deciding to engage in the adoption process is a wonderful thing to do for many different reasons. Not only are the adoptive parents making a difference in the life of the adopted child but they are inspiring their own lives as well. Whether the prospective parents are looking to adopt because they are unable to have biological children or if they are choosing to adopt to bring a new special person into their lives, it is a process which is wonderful yet involved as well (Adoption process, n. d. ).

For this reason, it is important to go into the adoption process with some general background information in mind and that way the prospective parents will be better prepared for this adventure of a lifetime. The adoption process differs whether it is a domestic adoption (inside the United States) or an international adoption (outside of the United States), specifically Ethiopia. The first thing that the prospective parents need to do is to decide on an adoption agency with whom to proceed with the adoption process. There are a few different ways to go about finding an adoption agency.

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The first and perhaps the best way to obtain an adoption agency are to ask for recommendations from friends and family members. As adoption is becoming more and more common these days, oftentimes one will already know an individual who either has gone through the adoption process themselves or has a friend or relative who has adopted (Adoption process, n. d. ). Recommendations are beneficial as they give the prospective adoptive parent an inside track not only on what agencies are available but also which agencies are good and which are not so good.

One can also find an adoption agency by utilizing the Internet or the yellow pages and make some visits to local adoption agencies to see if they are the type of agency one is looking to use for the adoption process. Once a domestic adoption agency has been settled on, it is then time to get down to business. There will be an initial meeting at the chosen adoption agency where the prospective parents will be informed as to the specific procedure regarding domestic adoption and how that particular agency goes about procuring a child for adoption.

As is inevitable, there will also be a number of forms to fill out which will tell the agency a little bit more about the prospective parents and the prospective parents will learn a little bit more about the agency’s protocol and procedure. After all of the initial information has been collected by the adoption agency staff, some adoption agencies require the prospective parents to attend some classes on adoption through their agency.

Much of the information received at classes of this sort are for the benefit of the parents in that they try to make the prospective adoptive parents as informed as possible, not only for the benefit of the prospective adoptive parents but for the welfare of the prospective adoptive child. This way, if upon hearing all that is entailed in the adoption process the parents wish to pursue other options, it is beneficial that this occurs in the very beginning of the process. The next step in the adoption process is having a home study done, usually by a licensed social worker (Adoption Process, 2010).

The home study is where a number of things occur. This procedure includes numerous interviews between a counselor and the prospective adoptive parents, both together and individually. Also included in the home study are home visits, more forms and educational classes. The home visits are done in order to ensure that the living environment is suitable for a child and that the adopted child is going to a safe, loving home. In addition to the home visits, part of the home study requires fingerprinting and criminal background checks of the parents-to-be.

Again, this is to ensure the safety of the child. References and medical history may also be requested. Once the home study is complete and the individuals have passed with flying colors, the next step in the process is to match the prospective parents up with the child whom they are going to adopt. The staff at the adoption agency has been working on this match all along. They will by now know the adoptive parents preferences and have done the research to make the perfect match.

The next to last step in the domestic adoption process is the placement of the child with the adoptive parents. This is a very emotional part of the process and the adoption agency staff will most likely be there all the way for the needed support. Finally, one would think that the adoption process ends at placement; however, there is one final step which is the follow up. This is beneficial for a few different reasons. First, the agency wants to make sure that the child is in good hands and is adjusting well.

Secondly, it is good for the parents to know that they will not be entirely on their own once the child is placed with them. They will undoubtedly have a number of questions that they hope someone can answer for them and the adoption agency provides the follow up visits in order to provide this support for the adoptive parents. To some international adoption is a great alternative to domestic adoption. International adoption is when the parent or parents adopt a child from one of many different countries overseas.

To adopt internationally on has to go through an adoption agency that specialize in international adoption. The international adoption process has some of the same steps as domestic adoption has; however, there are some more steps included when dealing with an international adoption. As with domestic adoption, the first step is to choose an adoption agency. One can choose to go with an adoption agency that deals only with international adoptions or pick one that performs both domestic and international adoptions.

Those agencies which specialize strictly in international adoptions may have a leg up as they deal exclusively in this type of adoption and may know the procedure better than an agency that does mainly domestic adoption and then dabbles briefly in international adoption. However, this is only one thing to consider as many agencies that deal in both types of adoption are highly qualified to do international adoptions. It is up to the prospective adoptive parents to decide what type of agency they would be most comfortable dealing with.

Once an agency has been selected, the prospective parents must then fill out the necessary paperwork, file the oftentimes required consultation fees and meet with the adoption agency counselor for the first time. At this initial meeting, the parties will discuss all of the relevant details concerning international adoption including what it entails, timeline, costs and more. This is the best time for the adoption agency counselor to let the clients know what adoption is all about and make sure that the prospective parents are up for this very important job.

If the consultation was a success and the prospective parents decide to continue in the process, then the international adoption process is officially underway. At this point in the process, some international adoption agencies, or adoption agencies in general for that matter, will require the parents to attend educational classes regarding adoption. If the agency does not require the attendance at such a class, then the home study is the next big thing on the list. The home study for international adoption is similar to that which occurs in domestic adoption.

The parents-to-be will undergo interviews, home visits and a background check to make sure that their home is the perfect place to raise a child and that they are the perfect individuals to do so. While the home study process is taking place, the adoptive parents need to take care of some things specifically related to international adoption which include picking the country from which they want to adopt a child and may sometimes need to attend classes relating to international adoption specifically.

At this point, it is important to apply for a United States passport if it has not already been done. Once the home study has been successfully completed, the next hurdle to jump is that of the foreign country documentation. When completing international adoption, there are a number of forms which need to be filled out as required by the foreign country. This is referred to as the dossier. This can include a number of items such as birth certificate, marriage certificate, employment records and references to name but a few.

The INS I600A form should also have been completed and submitted by this time as it takes months to process. Once all of these items have been collected and submitted, the next step is to select your child. This is known as the referral process where the parents-to-be choose the adoptive child. Once the specific child has been chosen and the parents really start to experience the extreme excitement and anticipation about meeting their new addition to the family, the parents are in the home stretch and can start making their travel arrangements to go and pick up their child.

The adoption agency will help with the travel arrangements and many times a counselor and/or other staff member from the agency will travel to the foreign country for the initial meeting. Frequently, this makes it a bit easier on the parents knowing that they have someone with them every step of the way. When the much awaited time arrives to go and meet one’s child for the first time, the journey begins and the special time is here where parent(s) and child meet. After the hugs, tears and necessary paperwork is once again filled out with the proper agencies, the family may return home to the United States.

Once back home, the adoption agency will make a few post-adoption visits to ensure that all is well. They will also offer any further help that they can and possible further adoption education classes may be available. As for final paperwork, once back in the United States the parents need to see about readopting the child in the United States and obtaining pertinent citizenship documents. To bring an adopted child to the United States from Ethiopia, you must be found eligible to adopt by the U. S. Government. The U. S.

Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) (Adoption Notice, 2010). In addition to these U. S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, Ethiopia also has eligibility requirements for prospective adoptive parents. There are no residency requirements for prospective adoptive parents. If single, the prospective adoptive parent must be at least 25 years of age. If married, there is no minimum age. There also is no maximum age limit for adoptive parents.

However, Ethiopian Government practice is to limit the age difference between the prospective adoptive parent and the adopted child to no more than 40 years. The Ethiopian Government has shown a preference for placing children with married couples who have been married for at least five years. Ethiopian government policy regarding adoptions by unmarried women is one of the issues being studied as part of the government’s overall review of adoption regulations and practices. It is unclear whether Ethiopian government’s policy about single adoptive mothers will change, and if so, when it might change.

Thus, adoption service providers in Ethiopia may have different policies regarding whether or not they make referrals of adoptable children to unmarried women and under what circumstances. The U. S. Embassy in Addis Ababa urges adoptive parents to contact their agency to clarify what their current policies are. Prospective parent(s) must prove financial ability as determined by the Ethiopian courts, although there is no set minimum income requirement (Adoption Notice, 2010). Ethiopian law prohibits adoption by gay and/or lesbian parents. According to Mary M.

Strickert, there are only seven U. S. adoption agencies that are approved by the Ethiopian government to complete international adoptions of Ethiopian children, which is confirmed by the U. S. Embassy in Addis Ababa. U. S. citizens must work with the Ethiopian governmental central authority, the Children, Youth and Family Affairs Department (CYFAD) which is under the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. Americans who enter into private adoptions that bypass the CYFAD will not be able to take the child out of Ethiopia, and will not be able to obtain a U.

S. immigrant visa (Strickert, 2010). To adopt a child from Ethiopia, you must complete a home study and prepare a dossier. Your adoption agency will submit everything to the Ethiopian government. The adoption committee of the Ethiopian CYFAD will review your file and determine whether or not you are eligible to adopt from Ethiopia. Once you are approved to adopt from Ethiopia, you will receive a child referral (Strickert, 2010). After you accept referral of your child, your adoption agency will handle the rest of the paperwork and red tape in Ethiopia.

The adoption agency will then arrange to have your child escorted to the U. S. and your waiting arms. In recent years adoptions from Ethiopia to the United States have increased. In 1999 there were only 42 adoptions compared to 2,277 in 2009 (Adoption Notice, 2010). The adoption process differs whether it is a domestic adoption (inside the United States) or an international adoption (outside of the United States), specifically Ethiopia. And the decision is based on personal preference, including time and costs. References (n. d). Adoption process.

General information about the adoption process and what to expectalong the way. Retrieved on April 19, 2010 from, http://www. kir. org/adoption/adoptionprocess. html (2010). Strickert, M. M. What’s involved in adopting a child from ethiopia? Retrieved on April19, 2010 from, http://ethiopia. adoption. com/foreign/ethiopia-adoption-overview. html (2010). Intercounrty Adoption, Offices of Children’s Issues, Unites States Department of StateEthiopia country information: Adoption notice. Retrieved on April 19, 2010 fromhttp://adoption. state. gov/country/ethiopia. html