[message_box]Domestic adoption is a process in which parents from the US adopt a child born in the US. It’s contrasted to international adoption, in which parents from one country adopt a child who was born in another country.[/message_box]
Choosing to adopt a child is a huge decision. But it’s actually only the first in a long line of big decisions. After making up your mind about adopting in general, you’ll have to decide on the specific adoption path you’d like to pursue.
Why Do People Choose Domestic Adoption?
Chief among the decisions you’ll have to make is whether you’d like to pursue a domestic or international adoption. Every year, thousands of couples and single adults choose to adopt domestically. Many prospective adoptive parents decide to work with Adoptions From The Heart, one of the East Coast’s largest placing agencies.
International Placement Almost Never Allows For Openness
Adopting domestically gives you the opportunity to pursue an open adoption, if the child’s biological parents are comfortable with remaining in contact.
For some prospective parents, the idea of open adoption is scary at first. But openness in any process, let alone adoption, helps to enrich compassion and understanding. We believe fully in open adoption, and it’s a possibility that the majority of international adoptions just don’t allow for. Here are three other possibilities that an international placement almost never offers:
- You may be able to be present for the birth.
- Getting to know your child’s biological parents. This can help you answer your child’s questions as they get older. They’ll also be in a better position to understand the “why” and “how” of adoption. Ultimately, your child will be able to know that being placed for adoption was a loving choice. Through openness, your child’s adoption won’t remain a “secret” buried in the past.
- Many adoptive parents working through a closed placement find themselves fearing what they can’t know. Questions pile up, and the closed adoption process doesn’t allow any of these questions to be answered. Open adoption can relieve many of these fears, simply since the answers are there.
At first, open adoption was widely stigmatized, often because the women and men who bravely choose to place their children for adoption were stigmatized. Allowing these people back into the lives of their biological children was seen as a source of risk, or worse. This stigma remains alive today, even though there’s no evidence to back it up, and all the evidence in the world to prove it false.
Next we’ll dispel another common misconception about domestic adoption.
Isn’t Domestic Adoption More Expensive?
No, but this is one of the most common misconceptions that we’re faced with in our daily work.
While both types of adoption require different costs (prospective parents pursuing international adoptions usually have to secure visas, while parents adopting domestically may help with an expectant mother’s living expenses), studies show that the total costs usually come out very similar. Some estimates have even found that domestic adoption is less expensive than international.
There’s no way to know exactly how much an adoption will cost from the start, but for domestic adoptions within the US, the average placement costs adoptive parents between $32,000 and $50,000.
Looking at international adoption is a little trickier, since costs will vary depending on which country you adopt from. CreatingAFamily.org maintains up-to-date estimates for 18 countries, including the US.
Whether you ultimately choose to pursue domestic adoption or an international placement, you’ll be faced with challenges. But in our experience, families built through private domestic adoption face no more challenges families built through a closed process.