What are some of the pros and cons of international adoption?

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

Some of the advantages of international adoption are that there are more children available all over the world than just in the U.S.; that once your home study has been approved, you're almost sure to get a child; and that you'll never have a birth mother changing her mind since all international adopted children must be classified as orphans. In addition, international adoption requirements are generally less strict than domestic stipulations.

The disadvantages include a longer adoption process once you've chosen the child; one or more required visits to the child's home country, during which you may have to spend a few weeks there; and you may be given little or no medical information regarding the child's birth parents. The mother may or may not have had any prenatal health care, and if the child was in an orphanage, he or she may experience developmental delays. There is more paperwork involved and the cost of an international adoption is higher than a domestic one. In addition, for better or for worse, your child might never be able to trace his birth parents. Due to the longer adoption process, you won't be able to adopt a newborn, but babies of three months to a year old are available instead. If you're thinking of adopting a child, you'll have to contend with a language barrier until he or she learns enough English to communicate.


Other disadvantages to international adoptions are the increased possibility of fraud and the possibility of war or unrest breaking out if the country isn't stable. If an agency promises you a child without having to wait long, be suspicious; similarly, be wary if huge sums are demanded at the beginning or the agency doesn't ask you for any information about your family or the home you're planning to bring the child to. If the child you're adopting is from a different ethnic or racial group than you are, you may also have to deal with people's comments ("He doesn't look at ALL like you," and so on).