Adopting from Thailand

The adoption process can take a lot of your time and resources.

Heather Mitchell April 10, 2019
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I believe adoption is such a unique and beautiful way to grow your family and provide
the love, support, and nurturing environment a child needs. Every adoption story
has the potential to be successful.

There are countless resources that are available to
adoptive parents who are adopting a child internationally. These resources provide
tremendous support and enable these adoptive families to flourish after placement.
Regardless of where a child is born, they deserve a loving family.

Many children who are born in other countries, especially children with special needs, would never be adopted if prospective parents from the United States did not come along to give those children their forever homes. So today, we are going to explore international adoption.

Specifically, we are going to look into adopting from Thailand. Thailand inter-country
adoption is the term used in Thailand regarding adoption by foreigners who
desire to adopt a child from Thailand and raise the child outside of the country.

Let’s explore some background information on this country. Thailand is a Southeast
Asian country which has a population of over 68 million people. Ten percent of the
country’s entire population lives in Bangkok, which is also the capital. The primary
language in Thailand is Thai and the main practiced religion is Buddhism. Thailand is
one of the largest exporters of rice in this world, and is a newly industrialized country.
Thailand’s culture is heavily influenced by several other surrounding countries but
mostly inherits traditions stemming from India, Cambodia, and China. There are
currently 17.9 million children under the age of 18 in Thailand, and many of these Thai
children are in need of families.

Reasons for Thailand Children Abandonment

Thailand’s way of life is absolutely different from what we are accustomed to in the
United States. There are millions of extremely poor people in Thailand. Many people are
desperate to simply survive, and there is no welfare or governmental financial security
put in place for the people of Thailand. A lot of responsibility is placed onto the young
adults of the family to work and support themselves as well as their elders who can no
longer physically work. Many of these young adults are migrant workers who often
relocate to different areas in order to find work and send money and materials back
home to their families. All of these conditions contribute to the many reasons for a child
being abandoned and put in the care of an orphanage in Thailand. Below, I will list the
majority of these reasons.

1. Poverty is the most common reason a child would be placed into the care of an
orphanage. If a family cannot financially support their child, he or she is typically
placed into an orphanage.

2. Children of migrant workers oftentimes are abandoned because the parents
cannot keep up with the demands of working and taking care of a child while
financially supporting their family and elders. Therefore, the child is placed in an
orphanage.

3. Single mothers who have been abandoned by their husbands or boyfriends
oftentimes are forced to abandon their children in order to go to work to survive.

4. Children born to teenagers are often abandoned because the parents are unable
or unwilling to change their lifestyles.

5. Children born into abusive families are sometimes placed into orphanages.

6. Children born from a mother who was raped or involved in prostitution are typically
placed in orphanages, because that child becomes shameful in the eyes of its
biological family.

7. A child who is sickly or has special needs is commonly placed in an orphanage.

Even though there are so many abandoned children in Thailand living in orphanages
many of these children are not eligible to be adopted. The reason for this is because children must be legally surrendered under Thai law in order to be eligible for adoption. The Thailand government makes every effort to find a biological family before allowing a child to be adopted. The majority of Thai orphans do not fit this criteria because their biological parents have never signed relinquishment paperwork.

Children Available for Adoption in Thailand

The majority of Thailand children waiting to be adopted currently live in orphanages.
Some of these orphanages are ran by Thailand’s government, while others are ran by
non-governmental organizations or private charities. Also, foster care programs
currently do exist in Thailand. This is where children live with foster families until placed
with their adoptive families.

There are considerably more boys waiting to be adopted in Thailand compared to the number of waiting girls. Because of this, the adoption process is shorter when adopting a boy from Thailand versus waiting to adopt a girl.

Children may be adopted from the ages of 1 to 15 years old. However, a Thailand child who is over the age of 10 is typically never placed with a family who does not speak the Thai language. Prospective parents from the Unites States have been able to adopt children up to the age of 12. Even though it has been rare, some U.S. parents have even been able to adopt their Thai child before their first birthday. The average age of children adopted from Thailand is 4 years old.

Thailand children waiting to be adopted are mostly healthy, but there are special needs children who require extra love and special care. Thailand has a well-established adoption process. Therefore, each child’s background information regarding birth family and health records are usually almost always available and well-documented. Although, there are circumstances in which a child’s abandonment cannot be traced.

Thai children are also always tested for Hepatitis and HIV, and this information is kept in their records. Although a child may seem presentably healthy, he or she may be delayed in different areas. A child who has spent the majority of his or her life in an institution will most likely have some sort of developmental delay. These children certainly have the capabilities to bloom and
flourish in the supportive and loving environment that their family will provide.

Thailand’s Requirements to Adopt

Thailand’s adoption program is unique and somewhat unlike many other international
adoption programs. Thailand’s adoption process is strict and also includes different
variables that factor into the adoption process for each specific adoption case. Every
single adoption of a Thai child must be signed off by the Child Adoption Board of
Thailand, and all factors are reviewed on a case by case basis. For example, parents in
their forties have been asked to adopt children older or a younger child with special
needs. Once again, these many factors are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Below
are the absolute requirements by Thai law for prospective adoptive parents.

  • Prospective adoptive parents must be legally qualified to adopt a child in their home state or country.
  • Married couples must consist of a man and a woman.
  • Both prospective parents must be between the ages of 25 and 40 years old.
  • The youngest prospective parent must be at least 15 years older than the child being adopted.
  • The prospective adoptive family must be financially stable and must provide evidence that they can provide for the child.
  • Prospective parents must provide documentation supporting their infertility and parents must have no biological children of their own.
  • For a married couple, there must be no more than two prior divorces between each prospective adoptive parents (combined). For example, if a married couple wants to adopt and both parties have previously been divorced once before, they are eligible. If one party has had two prior divorces, and the other party has had one prior divorce, then that couple would not be eligible to adopt in Thailand.
  • Single women (not men) may petition to adopt special needs children only.
  • Prospective parents should have good health without any medical concerns.

Adoption Process and Steps

Thailand is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, which means that specific steps
must be taken in order for an adoption from Thailand to be successful. These steps
must be taken in chronological order in order for the process to meet all necessary legal
requirements. According to the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs, there are six main steps for the adoption process in Thailand. I’ve included these steps and summaries of
each below.

1. Choose a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider. Only accredited
and approved adoption services providers may handle adoptions between the
United States and Thailand. These providers will serve as the primary provider in
the adoption case to make sure all steps are done correctly, according to The
Hague Adoption Convention and United States regulations.

2. Apply to USCIS to be found eligible to adopt. You must apply to be found “eligible
to adopt” by three different agencies – the appropriate U.S. government agency, the
Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration
Services (USCIS). You will need to submit Form I-800A. Once the form is
approved, your approval letter, home study, and more will be submitted to
Thailand authority. Then, Thailand’s adoption authority will review your case
to determine if you are eligible under their law.

3. Be matched with a child by authorities in Thailand once you are completely
eligible. You may be referred to a child depending on your case.

4. Apply to USCIS for the child to be found eligible for immigration to the United
States and receive U.S. agreement to proceed with the adoption. It is important to note that prospective parents must not attempt to adopt before a U.S. consular officer
issues the Article 5 Letter in the adoption case.

5. Adopt or gain legal custody of a child in Thailand. This step in the adoption process
involves a lot of communications with other parties and requirements of
necessary documentation. Working with an adoption service provider will help
you with completing this step in the process.

6. Obtain a U.S. immigrant visa for your child and bring your child home. You must
apply for three documents before your child can leave to the United States.
These documents include: Birth certificate, Thai passport, and U.S. Immigrant
Visa.

Adoption Service Providers
The steps and overwhelming processes for adopting in Thailand may seem a little
uneasy. An adoption service provider can give you immense hope and comfort before
you even begin. One of the most important things to consider before starting your
journey is choosing an adoption provider who can assist you. Your adoption service
provider will provide you the information and lead you into the right direction so that you
can successfully adopt from Thailand. Below I have listed many approved and
accredited adoption service providers that have specialized and successfully helped
prospective parents adopt from Thailand.

Holt International
250 Country Club Rd
Eugene, OR 97401
Phone: 1-888-355-HOLT
Email: info@holtinternational.org Website: https://www.holtinternational.org/

Wacap
315 S. Second St.
Renton, WA 98057
Additional office in New York and Wisconsin
Phone: 1-800-732-1887
Email: wacap@wacap.org  Website: https://www.wacap.org/

New Beginning Family and Children’s Services, Inc
87 Mineola Blvd.
Mineola, NY 11501
Phone: 1-516-747-2204
Email: nb@new-beginnings.org Website: https://www.new-beginnings.org/

International Christian Adoptions
41745 Rider Way #2
Temecula, CA 92590
Additional Branch Offices in CA and NC
Phone: 951-695-3336
Email: info@4achild.org Website: http://4achild.org/about-ica/

Adoption Financial Fees

If you are considering adopting from Thailand, you must consider the costs that come
with the process. Adoptions come with agency, legal, and home study fees. However, for
international adoptions, there are additional fees. These fees include travel and visa
expenses, and additional fees needed for Thai agencies. Speak with your adoption
service provider on financial options and make a plan. If you do not have all of the funds
that are needed in your savings account, there are other options available that your
agency may go over with you. There are grants and reduced loans that be available to
you on your adoption journey. Applying for the Federal Adoption Credit can save you
more than $13,000 in adoption expenses. Ask your adoption service provider about any
assistance offered.

Are you ready to pursue an international adoption? Click here to read and learn more about international adoption to help get you started on the journey of a lifetime.

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Heather Mitchell

Heather courageously became a birth mother in 2014. She is inspired to personally share how open adoption has incredibly impacted her life. She shatters the common misconceptions about birth mothers, and desires to provide a beautiful and unique point of view. Heather enjoys her grind as an administrative specialist for a millwork company in Wisconsin. While dedicated to her profession, Heather believes her most important job in life is motherhood. Her three children keep her busy, yet extremely overjoyed and purposeful. Her free time is spent reading, writing, or admiring the view of Lake Michigan, which can be seen from her front porch.


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