10 Things You Need to Know About International Adoption


In many ways, International adoption is much different than domestic adoption. There are third parties involved in international adoption that make the process much more complicated than domestic adoption. MLJ Adoptions is here to assist you throughout your adoption journey with any questions that you may have. Here are 10 things you should know about international adoption:

  1. There is a drop-in adoption internationally
    International adoption has dropped significantly over the years because of the up rise in domestic adoptions within foreign countries. The reason for the increase in domestic adoptions within the country is due to policy changes within international adoption where there is a focus to try and place a child domestically before placing them internationally. This is causing domestic adoption in the U.S. to increase as well due to the longer waits and uncertainties in international adoption. This does not mean that there are no children in need, rather there are still many children across the world that are waiting for their forever families and while many see international adoption as more difficult it is still doable and adoptive parents are still needed!
  2. Adoption laws in country
    The U.S. Department of State has a website that provides information for each country on who can adopt and how to adopt. There are typically 3-4 categories listed for who is eligible to adopt and characteristics of children eligible for adoption. Age, martial status, income and residency are typically the requirements that prospective adoptive parents must meet in order to adopt from a specific country. For example, in Burkina Faso age of prospective adoptive parents must be between 30-55 years of age. Requirements however will differ based on each country’s laws and requirements.
  3. Cost of international adoption
    The cost of International adoption compared to domestic adoption, is quite a bit different. There are different expenses for each adoption process, due to the varying process requirements. As an example, you are required to pay for travel expenses and translations in international adoption while in domestic you are paying for birth parent expenses and attorney fees, depending on the state you reside in and adopt from. MLJ Adoptions provides families with a Financial Resource Advisor that can assist you with fundraising, grants and adoption loans throughout your adoption journey.
  4. Tons of paperwork and organization
    During your adoption process, you will work on gathering your documents needed for your dossier to be submitted to the country so that you may be matched with a child. This dossier plays a big role in your adoption and what child you will be matched with. If your documents are not done correctly or have expired while you are waiting, this can affect your adoption process and cause delays. MLJ Adoptions provides a dossier guidebook and checklist so that you can keep track of what documents will expire and how long they will take to process.
  5. Accepting or declining referrals
    You will be matched with a child that has been chosen for you based on the characteristics you were approved to adopt. When you listed the characteristics or special needs that you were open to and you are matched with a child that meets those characteristics, once matched, it may surprise you and you may feel unprepared. You have the decision to accept or decline the match of the child presented to you. This can be a difficult decision and it is best to speak with your adoption service provider with any concerns that you may have with this potential match.
  6. Medical and social history of your referral
    Depending on the country program that you choose, the country may not be able to provide the same amount of medial or social information on the child that you are hoping for. This may be due to the fact that it is a third world country with limited resources or medical facilities. This limited information can play a big role in your decision with accepting or declining a referral. There are some countries that have more capabilities to provide medical or social information. The availability of information on your referred child is another difference in international and domestic adoptions. As an adoptive parent you are encouraged to consult with a medical provider regarding the medical and social information you receive on your matched child, so you can make an informed choice.
  7. Ages of children that are needing a home
    The majority of requests in international adoption are for the adoption of an infant girl.  The more restrictive you are in the characteristics of the child you hope to adopt, the more difficult it will be to match you with a child.  While you may be matched with an infant at the time of accepting your referral, the court and legal process must be completed, and your infant may be a toddler when they arrive home. There are some countries where infants are not eligible to be adopted. For example, in the Mexico and Peru programs, children are not eligible for international adoption until they are 5 years old for Mexico and 6 years old for Peru, unless the child has a medical need. This is due to the focus of domestic adoption within the country.
  8. Hague vs. Non-Hague
    When you are starting your adoption process, make sure you are aware if the country program you choose is a party to The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (The Hague Adoption Convention). The Hague Adoption Convention is a treaty that was created to protect children who are being adopted from sale, abduction, exploitation or trafficking. Countries who are signatory to the Hague Convention are following the regulations and guidelines to ensure the adoption process is completed ethically and with transparency. MLJ’s Hague countries are Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Haiti, Mexico and Peru.
  9. Helping your child with the adjustment period
    When a child is adopted internationally there is no doubt that that child will come from a background of trauma. The child will need some time to adjust to the new home environment and the language barrier that they will face. Unfortunately, this could mean that the child may need some time to bond with you. The first few months after your child is home will be difficult. Many families experience a difficult adjustment period after placement, don’t be afraid to seek out professional help or support and stay in contact with your adoption agency during this time. MLJ Adoptions has support services available to you for any issues you may have once your child arrives home.
  10. Bringing your child’s culture to their new homeland
    It is great to incorporate your child’s country’s traditions and cultures. This is especially important if you adopt an older child to talk openly about their country and traditions they would like to uphold. This can help the children have a sense of pride of their heritage and past and where they have come from.

International adoption is not easy, but it can be so rewarding! Talk to us if you have any questions before, during or after your adoption journey at info@mljadoptions.com