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International versus Domestic adoption

Adoption is one of the likely options that child-less couples can opt for, should they want to have a child and raise a family. American couples have two options – one, to adopt children through domestic adoption, and two, to adopt children through international adoption. As the name implies, the difference between the two types of adoption lies in the country of origin of the child that is being adopted.

Domestic adoption entitles couples to adopt a child who is from the United States while in international adoption the American couples can adopt a child originating from a foreign country to which the US has a standing agreement when it comes to adopting local children by US citizens. Both practices has been going on for quite some time now; arguably, the domestic adoption process is a much older form of adoption compared to international adoption.

But despite the fact that international adoption is not as old a practice as domestic adoption, many facts point to the belief that opting for an international adoption is a better choice for American couples compared to adopting via domestic adoption. Many individuals as well as couples in America are opting for international adoption because of many different reasons and many different perceived advantages it has over domestic adoption.

This is a claim which is not derived solely from the supposed celebrity hysteria of adopting foreign children (that the practice of adopting foreign children is even a form of hysteria or a fad puts undue unfair treatment on Hollywood celebrities since many entertainment celebrities before Angelina Jolie were into the practice of adopting foreign children).

The practice of Hollywood personalities including Meg Ryan, Ewan and Eve McGregor, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Michelle Pfeiffer, Rosie O’Donnell, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, James Caviezel, Julie Andrews, Yul Brenner, Mia Farrow, Woody Allen and pop icon Madonna only serves as a form of encouragement for other couples – celebrity or not – to try adopting a foreign child via international adoption channels.

Yes, the continued practice of celebrities adopting children born and raised in other countries – including Malawi, Mongolia, China, Vietnam, Ethiopia and Cambodia – is a very good indicator about how this practice provides so many different advantages and has many positive points compared to domestic adoption, but the truth is that there is more to international adoption that the American couple might want to look into to help them be convinced that this is a better option for adoption compared to domestic adoption.

Similar to the reaction of anyone finding out about the adoption of a foreign child through international adoption, most people want to ask why these celebrities prefer foreign children, and their answer is no different from ordinary couples – usually, they want to help give a child from a place with very adverse living condition a chance to experience a normal life in the US. But aside from the humanistic reasoning, there are also other practical reasons applying to common sense as to the reasons why they should opt for international adoption.

Beauvais-Godwin and Goodwin identified some advantages that can be found in international adoption. According to the two authors, the advantages are first, there are plenty of young children available – Pillitteri agrees that the available babies for adoption in international adoption indeed outnumbers the number of children available for domestic adoption (p 30) and this is not very difficult to imagine considering that there are countless wars that leaves many children without a family, community or social institution to look after them that is capable financially to sustain and support their growth and needs.

Madonna points to her knowledge about the suffering of millions of kids in Africa who cannot be sustained by a defective social system due mainly to endless political conflicts that affects the children the most. Aside from wars and armed conflict, hunger and famine is also one of the main causes why the community is unable to have parents that are capable of taking care of their children. The second reason is that standardized requirements are set by the country – not arbitrarily by the birth mother.

This removes the chances of blackmail and extortion that some parents do to prospective adoptive parents of their children, in the process making the adoption more of an income-generating business for them, which in turn causes the termination of a prospective parent to adopt such a child so as to avoid any problems that may arise from such scenario. Most adoptive parents do not want the hassle of having to negotiate with the child’s parents outside the official channels of adoption and when corrupt parents engage couples in such actions dissuades the couple from pursuing the adoption of the child.

The third reason is that the wait can be shorter – a claim which is supported by American Adoptions, which mentioned in its website article about how couples adopting a child who is a US citizen is made to wait on an average of up to 18 months while adopting children from other countries has a shorter average in waiting time – usually just 12 months maximum for children coming from China, Russia and Guatemala (par 8).

There are other reasons – the fourth one is that once you have an approved home study, you are virtually guaranteed a child; fifth, the cost of adoption is well defined; sixth, healthy children are available and lastly, once your child is home, it is next to impossible for the adoption to be undone (148).

While these are the common advantages that couples may entitle themselves to should they opt to pursue international adoption, American Adoptions also mentioned in its website article about how some American couples prefer the use of international adoption because of other simpler and less important yet equally significant reasons, including the looking forward to the integration of a new culture in their family life.

Adoption, whether domestic or international, is a move that should be given much thought because of the lives that will be affected once such actions are consummated. There are advantages that international adoption provides, and couples should consider these advantages very well and see if they are amenable to such type of adoption process.

Works Cited:

Beauvais-Godwin, Laura and Goodwin, Raymond. “The Complete Adoption Book: Everything You Need to Know to Adopt a Child. ” Adams Media Corporation, November2005. “Domestic vs. International Adoption. ” AmericanAdoptions. com. 2008. 20 April 2008 <http://www. americanadoptions. com/adopt/domestic_international>. Pillitteri, Adele. “Maternal and Child Health Nursing: Care of the Childbearing and Childrearing Family. ” Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, January 2006. Smith, Stacy Jenel. Adoption Fever Among Celebrities – Good or Bad?. Netscape. 2008. 20 April 2008 <http://webcenters. netscape. compuserve. com/celebrity/becksmith. jsp? p=bsf_celebadoption>.

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