Bringing a baby or older child to your home in America who lived in an orphanage overseas is joyful and exciting. Although State Department statistics show that the number of children from foreign countries being adopted by Americans has dropped by roughly 9 percent in the past few years, there are still plenty of adults interested in providing a child in need with a loving home. If you want to adopt from overseas, the first and most important step that you will take is hiring a reputable attorney.
Most overseas adoptions are complex and lengthy. However, adoptions from some countries are notoriously difficult. An attorney with experience and expertise specific to foreign adoptions knows the laws, processes, home and foreign country regulations, and obstacles, as well as the correct way of dealing with each. Therefore, to ensure that everything is legal, it is imperative that you hire a highly qualified attorney. Beyond that, there are other things to consider before adopting a child from another country.
- Get Prepared – As the adopting parents, there are both financial and emotional issues to deal with. As part of the formalities, you will probably make more than one trip to the country where the child lives, so you need to have finances in order for the attorney, adoption, travel, and more. As for emotions, a foreign adoption is taxing. Now is the time to start preparing for the upcoming changes.
- Child’s Adjustment – Along with your own emotional challenges, you need to be prepared for what the child will go through once the adoption is finalized. Depending on the foreign country and the age of the child, he or she may not speak or understand the English language. In addition, you can expect cultural differences in relation to food, clothing, discipline, hygiene, and so on. By being committed and patient, your newly adopted child will acclimate quicker.
- Reaching Out for Help – If you know other people who have adopted a child from a different country, reach out to get as much information and insight as you can. Although every adoption is unique, this gives you the opportunity to better prepare for the unexpected. If you have no friends who have gone through a foreign adoption, look for support groups. Not only will you learn valuable lessons, this gives you needed support before, during, and after the adoption process.
- The Hauge Adoption Convention – When going through a reputable attorney, you know that each step is done according to law. Even so, you should read about the Hauge Adoption Convention, which is an agreement among 75 countries to stop the abuse and trafficking of children. If you are adopting a child from one of those countries, your attorney will be required to handle additional paperwork.
While exciting, adopting a child from overseas is also scary. Just remember that other adoptive parents have dealt with the same thoughts and emotions, so you are certainly not alone. Bringing a new child to America and into your home and heart is a blessed event, so embrace it. After making the decision to adopt, find an attorney who specializes in foreign adoptions to get the process started.