Introduction to International Adoption

International (or intercountry) adoption was virtually unknown in the United States until the 1950s in the aftermath of the Korean war when the first “international adoption program” came into being from that country. Since that time, adopting across national boundaries has become increasingly popular, not only in the United States, but around the world.

The decade 1993-2003 saw explosive growth in numbers of children adopted in the U.S. from other countries. The number of international adoptions each year is estimated from the number of immigrant visas issued to orphans coming into the U.S. In 1993, that number was 7,377, and in 2003, the number of visas issued jumped to 21,616 … an increase of almost 300 percent.

Whether or not to adopt internationally is a choice made for many different– and sometimes very personal– reasons. Some of the more frequently expressed pros and cons include (but are not limited to):



As you begin to explore international adoption for your family, here are some basics to keep in mind: