Congratulations on your decision to include the life of a foreign-born child in your own!
Now that you’ve committed to adopting a child from another country, the main final choice you need to make before moving forward is: will you use a private international adoption agency or an adoption attorney?
Your choice should be informed by a few key factors:
- Your current connection to prospective adoptee families
- Your desire or need for support
- Your financial situation
Let’s look at these in turn for each type.
Private, Attorney-Facilitated International Adoption
First, it’s important to understand that your state and local jurisdiction as well as the country from which you’ll be adopting may limit what an attorney can do to help in the adoption process.
However, if your jurisdiction and the country that you’re adopting from allow attorney-facilitated adoptions, they can be your best option if you have the right circumstances. An example would include that you are already connected to your adoptive child’s parents, you’re comfortable with negotiating the home study and paperwork preparation necessary to complete your application, and you are looking for the least expensive option. Depending on your jurisdiction’s regulations and your desire for additional support through the “finding” or “homework” portions of the process, you may be able to hire your attorney for those services as well.
Additionally, although a few attorneys facilitate intercountry adoptions from multiple origin countries, the majority specialize in a single country. It’s best if you have already done research in advance to know from which country you’d like to adopt. You can then make sure your lawyer can address your needs.
International Adoption Agency
Many of the hundreds of international adoption agencies provide the full gamut of adoption services, from pre-adoption education to locating foster children and orphans that are a good match for your strengths and desires, to helping you to complete your financial, personal, and health-related paperwork. Additionally, they can provide counseling through the process, and even post-adoption services. With greater support typically comes greater cost.
However, if you don’t have a connection to a child or family already, don’t know which country you want to start with, or are entirely open and simply want to maximize your chances of finding the beautiful young soul you’re destined to be with, a full-service international adoption agency can provide indispensable guidance.
Other Considerations of International Adoption
Whether you use an attorney or agency, be aware that if your child’s country of origin participates in the Hague Adoption Convention, your representative will need to be an accredited international adoption agency. And of course, be prepared to make at least one, and possibly multiple, trips to your adoptive child’s native country as his or her local government’s regulations and policies may require.
The process of international adoption can be a challenging, frustrating, patience-straining time, but if you keep close the face and heart of that little person’s possibility in your life, the work you do with an international adoption agency or attorney today can be part of the story you share with your newly adopted child in the future!
Is an International Adoption Agency Right for You?