This is where
fact and fiction separate. Most people, regardless of divorce,
being single, large families, etc. can adopt a child internationally.
Let's cover the basics:
Who is it that decides who can adopt?
A : Sometimes it's the adoption agency....some only work with
people of a certain religion, or married people, or people under a certain
age. But most of the time, and with most agencies, it is each individual
country government that sets the exact criteria for her who can adopt their
Who CAN'T adopt?
A: No one who has been convicted or in some cases even
officially accused of child abuse/neglect can adopt. There is also no
country that allows homosexuals to adopt, though some people in
homosexual relationships do adopt as "singles."
Do I/We need to own a home in order to qualify for international adoption?
A : No. If you are renting an apartment, condominium or house,
you absolutely qualify.
What about our income? Do we have to make a certain amount of money in order to
A : The U.S Government requires families to make a
minimum of $25,000 per year. How you manage your finances is much more
important than how much you make. Do you live above your means? Are you taking
in less than is going out on a monthly basis? This would not look good. Some
programs do require that a family income is $30,000 per year. Every
American is rich in the eyes of some countries.
We don't have all the money that it will take to complete an international
adoption. Can we take out a loan?
A : Absolutely. Say you borrow $10,000 and want to pay it off
over 48 months. You would be making monthly payments of around $230.00. Can you
afford that? There are many ways of financing your adoption. Throughout RainbowKids.com
you will find numerous articles that deal with financing your
adoption, employer benefits, and the IRS $10,000 tax benefit.
How much does the international adoption process cost?
A: Less than buying a new car, more than you want to spend.
Yes, it is expensive to pay the government and agency fees and for travel to
another country (or escorting the child from the country).
Each country has different fees, meaning the
process can run anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000. Overwhelming?
YES, but only at first! Many, many, people are
simple, middle class folks, just like you and me. Some are single women
and men who are teachers, accountants, business owners. Lots of people
(including me) have taken out personal loans for part of the fees, and paid the
rest as they went along in the process. ALL of the money is NOT due
at one time. I know of many families who save as
much as possible for one year, then begin the process, knowing it will take
another year to get together all the paperwork and complete the adoption. You
CAN do this! The end result is a child....a loving, precious human being
who is beyond all price....who calls you "mama" or "daddy".
Will we get to choose the sex of our child?
A : Maybe. Some countries have more children available of one
sex than another. Sometimes you will "choose" a child from a waiting child list
that your agency has. Sometimes when you already have a child of one sex, you
will be allowed to request a child of the opposite sex. Knowing this now can
help you to choose a country to work with, and give you questions to ask of an
agency you are thinking of working with. Most of the time, however, you
will be able to request the sex of your child.
Q : My
boyfriend/girlfriend and I have been together for years and now we wish to
adopt. Can unmarried couples adopt internationally?
A : In most cases: No. I realize this comes as a shock to
many, but the laws and morals of other countries do not match those in the U.S.
At the time of this writing, Single women and couples may easily adopt from
most countries. Single men from a very few. If you are "living with" another
person, it will be revealed in your homestudy and there is a very good chance
that other countries will not accept you as an applicant. Your adoption agency
can best guide you with this.
Can the birthmother come back and "claim" the child after we have adopted?
A: No. Every child who is in an international adoption
program has been through a legal "termination of rights". All countries,
when a child enters their program, attempt to find the birthparents, or else
the birthparents formally terminate their rights. In the end, the child
is legally free for adoption and is 100% yours at the time of adoption.
How long does it take to adopt a child from another country?
A : The short answer is this: Anywhere from 7 months to 18
months, on the average. It depends on which country you choose to work with,
which agency you choose, how fast you personally gather your documents
together. How dedicated you are to getting this adoption done in a timely
matter. Yes, many things will be beyond your control. However, a couple of good
tips are these: File with USCIS immediately !
Request form I 600A , fill it out, attach copies of your
birth, marriage, divorce certificates, plus the fee ($405.00) and send it in.
USCIS tells you this orphan petition will take 30-60 days. Hmmmm. In most
cases, you need this approval before you can petition a foreign country to
Get your home study going!
about this later, but if you've made the decision to adopt internationally,
this should be your next step.
Can single women/men adopt?
A: YES! Many countries encourage singles to adopt.
I/We have been through infertility treatments. I/We don't want to disappointed
again. Can this really happen for us/me?
A : Yes! If you have reached the point that you have decided
that you can love and parent an adopted child as your very own, then
International Adoption is the answer to your dreams. Can things go wrong? Yes.
However, if you choose a dependable agency, and a program that has a low risk
factor, you will significantly lower the risk. Many agencies have never had a
referral fall through, because they do their homework, and they deal with
reliable countries. Our family (at the time of this writing) has adopted
5 children. Use your head, go with a
good agency, a country that has been placing children for a number of years, and you should
have very little turbulence.
Is there financial assistance for people wishing to adopt internationally?
A: I saved the best for last, because this really is
the #1 question I get emailed on a regular basis. Before I answer, please
visit our finances area, to learn how to make adoption an affordable adoption.
Often, I am told things like, "those poor orphans should just be free" or, "we
used up all our money on infertility treatments".
My comment for the
first question is this: kids don't have a price tag. You are not buying a
child. The process costs money in fees to our government and fees to the
government of the country you are adopting from, and the agency helping
I really do not have an
answer for #2.....it doesn't make sense to use up your financial
resources on a procedure with no guarantee, and then want someone to give
you money when you choose to adopt. Adoption and giving birth are equal.
They produce a child to love and cherish, period. That said, there are agencies
that are doing humanitarian work and desperately try to place special needs
children. They often waive their fees, and do everything possible to help
a special child come home to a family. There are programs that are much
cheaper than others. The US government offers a $10,000 tax credit to
families that adopt.
MOST families who
adopt internationally either take out a loan or save money, or fundraise, get
an extra job, etc. However, some agencies do have grants that they give
to families who wish to adopt a sibling group or special needs
My sincere best wishes
to all of you as you begin this journey.