As a prospective adoptive parent, you are likely feeling overwhelmed with the options before you: Which agency do I choose? Infant or older child? Where do I go next? Add to that the knowledge that there are so many children overseas who need homes, and you may find yourself wondering how you can even consider adoption domestically when internationally there is so much to be done. But before you count out a US adoption, consider the following information:
1. There are so many children waiting in the US. Depending on the source, it is estimated that the US has between 18,000 and 20,000 infant adoptions each year. If you add those numbers to the estimated 200,000 kids in the foster system who are awaiting permanent homes, you can get a much better picture of the need for US adoptions.
2. Open adoptions are the healthiest. Study after study has shown that openness in adoption (where all parties are known to one another, and contact is left open between all) is the most healthy for birth parents and their children. Unfortunately, kids adopted from another country are cut off almost completely from any history or contact with their first families. When you choose an open adoption from the US, you are able to provide your child with vital connections, health histories, and opportunities to bond and attach with all of her family members.
3. Don’t be scared by the TV movies. Time and time again, the media portrayals of adoption include birth parents coming back for their child or adoptions being found illegal and voided long after the children have gone home to their new family. While there are certainly times when a prospective birth parent chooses to parent the child rather than place her into adoption, the likelihood of coming after the baby years after placement is almost nonexistent. It can seem comforting to adopt from a country far away, but know that adoption horror stories make good TV, not reality.
4. It won’t take as long as you think. If you are considering an infant adoption, the timeframe for a typical overseas adoption can actually take longer than adopting from the US. More often than not both take about the same time, from six months to one-and-a-half years of waiting. When you adopt overseas, you are waiting for agencies to match you with a child and then for international red tape. When you adopt from inside the US, you are waiting for a potential birth mother to choose you for her child. Both involve waiting—don’t discount one for the “quickness” of the other!