Saturday, November 6, 2010

Why Not Just Adopt?

Let me preface this post by saying I think adoption is a wonderful thing. It can be rewarding to the adoptive parents and the child being adopted, however adoption is NOT an easy process. Domestic adoptions, adoptions through foster care and international adoptions all require many tedious steps and an insurmountable amount of patience.

International Adoption
The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption is an international adoption agreement between participating countries on best adoption procedures. In order to adopt a child from a Hague Convention country, you must be found eligible to adopt within the United States. The form, I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, needs to be completed and properly filed. Once found eligible to adopt, your ASP will send your I-800A along with your adoption home study to the foreign country's central adoption authority. They will then review the information and determine if you are eligible to adopt under their country's law.If found eligible, the country will send an Article 16 report, which is an official report on a child's psychological, social, and medical history. 4.Once you have accepted the adoption referral, you must apply for the approval to adopt the child via form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative. Once this is submitted, your ASP or you must submit a visa application to a Consular Officer at the U.S. embassy or consulate. The form I-800 will also be reviewed again by the foreign country. The above steps must be completed before moving forward with the finalization of the international adoption. This process will vary from country to country.

Domestic Adoption
While domestic adoption rates in the United States have declined since the 1970s, the number of adoptions in the country still number 25, 000 to 30,000 a year, a figure which represents an average of 19 000 more than international adoption rates.Eligibility requirements for domestic adoption vary from state to state. Birth families are becoming increasingly involved in the type of home into which their child will be adopted. This is known as an open adoption. Because of this, parents under 25 and over 45 will generally have a longer wait; also, couples and people with smaller families usually get selected more often than singles or families with several children. Domestic adoption is less expensive than international adoption because adopting parents don’t have to pay for expensive travel costs or foreign documents. Also, with a domestic adoption, your chance of adopting a newborn is higher, whereas in international adoptions children are generally placed from orphanages and so they tend to be a little older. On the other hand, domestic adoption is more difficult. Unlike in international adoption cases, where children are generally more needy, domestic adoption has more selective criteria, making it harder to adopt a child.

Single Parent Adoption
Agencies and institutions may give singles a hard time with approving their request for adoption. Some agencies have certain policies in regards to single adoptions. Meanwhile, other agencies do not accept single applicants at all. Single males who adopt children encounter more difficulties as compared to female singles. Men have difficulty adopting a child both within the country and overseas. Some nations overseas may accept female applicants who are single, but will not consider a male applicant. When rejecting male applicants, experts refer to a child’s need for nurture. Females are considered as nurturing, and capable of caring for a child. Meanwhile, suspicion is applied to the male who wishes to adopt a child. Isn't it ironic that we want more men to step up to the plate and take care of their children (aka not be deadbeat dads)but yet we don't allow them to adopt.

Same Sex Couple Adoptions
In a society that that deems that heterosexual couples are the norm, it is no wonder that same sex couples have difficulty adopting. What is really sad is that there are a lot of children who need homes and remain unadopted because of society's crazy stereotypes and pre-concieved notions about gay men and lesbians. Countries overseas will not let same sex couples adopt, they have to adopt as a "single man" or a "single woman". In a recent interview with The New York Times Senator John McCain appeared to imply that it is preferable for parent-less children to go un-adopted than be adopted by gay couples. So a child should grow up homeless or in a group home with no one to nurture them or with no family until the age of 18 once they are no longer a orphan/ward of their state? I think not Mr. McCain. Even though Florida is the only U.S. state that still has a legal ban on gay adoption, it is very difficult for same sex couples to adopt because the laws in most US states are NOT clear on this issue.

Singles/Couples who Have Filed for Bankruptcy
Being in the midst of a recession, it is no surprise many couple have or will have to file for bankruptcy. If you have a bankruptcy on your credit it may or may not impact your ability to adopt depending on the agency. Adoption agencies will go through your financial background with a fine tooth comb and "get all up in your business." Some adoption agencies may have no problem considering your application so long as a sufficient amount of time has passed since the bankruptcy -- as with mortgages and other loans, you should assume that "sufficient" time is at least two years.

Singles/Couples Who Have Been Convicted of a Misdemeanor or Felony
Criminal Background checks on all adoptive parents are required period. Unfortunately a lot of agencies frown upon and will not accept applicants who have a criminal record even if you made a mistake back in the days when you were "young and dumb." International agencies are very strict when it comes to this and I only found one domestic agency during my research that will let applicants apply with a criminal record because they let the birth mother's pick the parents.

Adoption Costs
Click the picture :)

As you can see adoption is a valid avenue towards starting a family however, it is a journey wrought with many twists and turns. I applaud anyone who has had the patience and sheer determination to go through this process and achieve their happy ending to becoming a parent. My hope is that people will understand that as wonderful as adoption is it is NOT the best avenue for everyone, and Surrogacy offers a different viable avenue for singles and couples who otherwise would not have been able to adopt.


  1. Wonderful post. We went down the road of trying to adopt, long before surrogacy. The agencies that we worked with, strongly encouraged open adoption, which I did not want that. It would take at least two years before we would have even been able to adopt an infant, so we threw in the towel and went with surrogacy.

  2. Adoption was our first option, but as you so rightly point out there are hurdle.

    We set the path of adoption however was not ready to deal with all the man-made hurdles so decided on Surrogacy instead.

    Dissapointing for one or two of the hundreds of children that remain in a care home!