Parents who are looking to adopt have three options: domestic infant-adoption, foster-care adoption, or international adoption. This post is going to focus on the differences between international and domestic adoption, and some of the factors you should consider before deciding which avenue you are going to pursue.
Adoption STAR has both domestic and international adoption programs. If you are currently considering adoption, and are unsure whether to follow the international or domestic path, the Adoption STAR website has a page devoted solely to helping you make the best decision for you and your family.
There is a great deal of information on this page, and I’m not going into detail, but I would suggest all parents considering adoption to look closely at this page.
Some things to consider are:
-The difference in cost between international and domestic Adoption
- Whether you decide to follow the domestic or the international adoption path, each avenue has its own specific costs, which often equal out to a similar fee-range.
- If you are going to adopt internationally through a HAGUE Accredited agency such as Adoption STAR, you are required to go through at least 10 hours of pre-adoption education. If you are going to adopt domestically there are no set educational requirements on the state level, but Adoption STAR requires you to obtain educational credits throughout the process. Adoption STAR is a leading adoption agency in the field of adoption education and training
- When adopting internationally many countries have strict rules regarding the age and health of the parents, as well as single or gay parent adoptions. Domestic adoptions do not typically have the same set of regulations. Adoption STAR works with several single parents and same sex couples.
- In domestic adoptions there is no set timetable for waiting, because the birth parents choose a prospective adoptive family. However you can control how many opportunities you receive by being open to several domestic programs at the agency, birth family background issues, possible medical risk factors, the race of the child, and to an open adoption.
- Obviously with an international adoption you will be traveling more than in a domestic adoption. However, if you decide to adopt domestically you may need to travel to a different city or state, depending on where the baby was born.
- If you are looking to adopt an infant, than you need to choose a domestic adoption, as children adopted internationally will generally be 3 years old or older.
-Child’s social background and medical history/Child’s birth family connections:
- If you adopt internationally you are likely to have a closed adoption where your child does not know his/her birth parents, though you will have as much medical information as possible on the child, but possibly no medical or other background information on the child’s birth family. In a domestic adoption you have a greater opportunity to form a relationship with your child’s birth parents, which will give you access to their medical records. It also may make the idea of adoption easier to handle for your child, if they are able to have a relationship with their birth parents and ask them questions.
- Whether you are adopting internationally or domestically there are many intricate adoption laws that you will need to follow and we suggest you speak to Adoption STAR for additional information.
This is just a brief synopsis of all of the information you can find on this page of the Adoption STAR website. If you would like more information on international adoption please contact our International Adoption Coordinator Lisa Geiger, MS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every week for the last two months or so I have written a blog post on the topic of “positive adoption terms” and the importance of using the correct language. Despite the fact that I did not grow up with a strong connection to the adoption journey, this topic of “positive language” or how one wrong word can make all of the difference in the world, has always been incredibly important to me.
My older sister Jessica was born with a microscopic deletion to a chromosome that has affected her throughout her life. Jessica can not walk or talk and has trouble communicating her wants/needs/feelings. However, she always has the biggest smile on her face, is always humming a song, and is generally a very happy girl.
Jessica does not get the credit she deserves for her level of understanding and comprehension, and I am guilty of this at times. Jessica has a knack for remembering people. Even if she’s met them only a few times or hasn’t seen them in years, her face will light up as soon as this person walks into her view.
Growing up, my younger sister and I, had responsibilities that other children our age probably did not have, and one was being an advocate for children born with disabilities. Very early on I learned that my parents were not sticklers for “swear words” and if I occasionally swore around them I would not get in trouble, however even today one word that is forbidden in my parents house is the “R” word. I can’t even type it in this post, but I will assume everyone can figure out the word I mean to say. This word is so unacceptable around my parents that last year my mother stood up in front of hundreds of audience members and asked HBO’s Bill Maher, who was speaking at the University at Buffalo, why he constantly uses the “R” word. Maher had no answer to this question and has since cut back dramatically on his use of the word.
This is why I have made it a point to post these “positive adoption terms” each week. I believe it is our job as people who work in the adoption field, as well as adoptive parents, adoptees and birth parents to educate about the adoption journey when the opportunity arises, and doing something as simple as sharing these “positive adoption terms” on your Facebook page or your Twitter account is a great start.
Now that my rant for the week is over, we can move on to the “positive adoption term” of the week: “Child placed for adoption” and its negative counterpart is “an unwanted child.”
The idea that a child was “unwanted” by their birth parents is simply not true in most cases. While all situations are different, and birth parents each have their own reasoning, an adoption plan is made out of love. Birth parents want their children. An adoption plan is made because the birth parents want more for their child than they feel they are able to provide at this moment in their lives, and that is the ultimate gift of love.
By Lisa Geiger, Adoption STAR Family Advocate and Adoption Counselor
When I told my children that I would be working for an adoption agency, almost immediately the questions came like rapid fire. My younger children asked questions like “Where do the babies come from?” “Do you get to pick them out?” and “Mom, are we going to adopt a baby?” Then my older children asked more involved questions like “How does adoption work?” “Why would a family choose to adopt?” and “Why would someone ever consider placing their child for adoption in the first place?”
The most startling question came from my 16-year-old daughter, “Mom, what would you do if I ever became pregnant?” Well, after telling her that she wasn’t going to become pregnant until she finished college, had a career and was happily married, the reality set in.
I have seen young women, my daughter’s age; walk bravely through the doors of the agency 8 months pregnant. In order to answer her question, I had the intention of taking my mom hat off and putting my social worker hat on, but I found myself wearing both. We talked about what it was like to have a child and the responsibilities that came along with that. Yes, we did talk about how cute babies are and the overwhelming love a mother feels for her child, but we also talked about the restless nights and the times when everything in my life had to bet set aside for the sake of my children.
We talked about how it was nice for me to be able to stay at home when she and her siblings were little and how unexpected changes in my life led me to return to school and take on the challenges of a working single-mom.
I asked my daughter what her dreams were. If she saw herself graduating from college, having a career, and most importantly to her, having the ability to come and go as she pleases and buy her own clothes and make-up?! I asked her to think about how these dreams may be altered if she were responsible for a child 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week. I asked her what she would want for a child and what she thought would be in the best interest of that child?
We talked about how there are so many loving families out there that are ready now to provide all the love and care for a baby. My daughter nodded her head and I saw that she seemed satisfied to end our discussion.
So, I guess when it comes right down to it, I didn’t really answer my daughter’s question “mom, what would you do….” I gave her the tools to make a decision for herself, just like a social worker would have!
I have already assumed that this question will be asked of me again as my other daughters are rapidly approaching the teen years. The Adoption STAR website has a page devoted to unplanned pregnancy help and advice. This is a resource I plan to direct my girls to if they want to learn more about why women choose adoption and actual stories from young birth mothers.
If you are looking for advice on how to speak to your children about adoption and/or pregnancy, contact our birth parent specialist Sue Shaw at email@example.com.
By Michele Fried, Adoption STAR founder and CEO
After negotiations between members of the Senate and Governor Andrew Cuomo, regarding protections against discrimination lawsuits for religious groups and non-profit organizations, a same-sex marriage bill known as the Marriage Equality Act passed the State Senate by a vote of 33-29 on June 24, 2011. On the same night, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed it allowing it to become a law. My husband and I were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary with friends and family. To me, this was the perfect anniversary gift. Today, all people in NYS can marry the person they love.
It has been an interesting and emotional journey for those fighting for equality in NYS and around the country. In NYS for example, gay couples and singles are able to adopt. Couples, whether LGBT or straight can adopt together without being married. I heard from an adoptive father who resides in California with his two sons, both adopted as older children from the foster care system. He writes, “As a gay man my State encouraged me to adopt two young boys no one wanted. Two children that I can raise with my views and my values any way that I see fit. However the same State says I am not allowed to pick a partner to share the same values with. It’s ludicrous. I consider being a parent so much more a victory then being a spouse. If the naysayers only saw that… The same people that protest me from legally being with the adult of my choice allow me to raise the children they couldn’t.”
I used to get angry that in the State of Florida, one could be approved as a foster parent if they were gay but they could not approved to be the their own foster children’s adoptive parent. That has changed but only recently.
The NYS Marriage Equality Act will probably not change adoptions much for gay couples in NYS… at least legally. But, emotionally, what it does mean is that gay couples, though already legally able to adopt together in NYS, can now be legally bonded together, providing a safer, more secure forever family for a child.
Whether gay or straight, when a couple adopts it is still preferable to secure the child’s legal relationship to both parents, by having both adopt the child and by having both of their names on the child’s birth certificate. An article on the New York Times Blog entitled, How Gay Marriage Will Change Financial Lives addresses parenting and many other important financial issues for a gay couple to consider.
In some states, religious based adoption agencies have shut down and at least one religious organization lost its tax-exempt status by failing to consider gay couples as adoptive or foster parents. New York does not allow state-supervised, private adoption and foster care agencies to reject applicants solely on the basis of being gay or lesbian.
For those who have not seen our new staff bio pages, we have recently added introduction videos for the staff members. I’d like to take the opportunity over the next few weeks to feature a different staff member on the blog.
This week’s featured staff member is Lori Craig, who is the Executive Assistant at Adoption STAR.
Favorite type of food: Italian
Favorite Movie or TV show: “Field of Dreams”
Favorite band/artist in High School (growing up): Carole King
Favorite band/artist today: “my newest favorite is Adele! I tend to like single artists – Sarah McLachlan, Corrine Bailey Rae, Jennifer Nettles (Sugarland), Kenny Chesney.”
Favorite aspect of working in the Adoption Field: “The privilege of being a part of such a human experience involving birth parents, adoptive parents, and agency staff coming together in the best interest and love for a child.”
To read Lori’s full bio and see her video, click here.
Good Morning Everyone, hope you all had a great weekend. First off, we’d like to apologize for issues we have been having recently with the Adoption STAR website. We are working to have all of these issues fixed as fast as possible.
This morning on NBC’s Today Show there was a segment about a 20-year-old girl, Jessica, who with the help of her mother searched for and found her birth mother through Facebook. As it turns out, her birth mother was looking for her through Facebook as well. Eventually Jessica met her birth mother, along with her birth father and 3 siblings, and they plan on staying in touch.
After the segment, which you can watch below, Adam Pertman, the Executive Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, and Lisa Dawkin of the New York Times, were interviewed about social media and child adoption. Both had the same message as Adoption STAR, that the internet and social media has changed the adoption journey, making it easier for birth families and adoptive families to stay connected, and also, as in this story, making it easier to search and find each other.
Jessica searched for her birth mother with the help of her mother, and that shows the importance of having open communication with your loved ones before beginning any kind of search.
Adoption STAR recently published official recommendation on how to have a healthy relationship via social media as an adoptee, adoptive parent or birth parent. If you have any more questions or would like more information on this topic, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We asked our adoptive parents on Facebook page for some advice for potential adoptive parents, and received a lot of great tips. The common themes from all of the comments were to be patient and to enjoy the time alone with your family before a baby comes, both of which are great pieces of advice!
Another thing to do while you are waiting is to re-evaluate all of your grids. The more open you are in regards to race, open adoption wishes and possible health risks, the more profiling opportunities you are likely to have.
If you missed the Facebook post yesterday, here are all of the comments:
Parker G.: “Be patient and ready for rejection. Your child is coming. Sometimes the path is bumpy and other times it’s smooth sailing. Be patient.”
James R.: “Be patient, but also be ready. We had less than a week between getting matched and picking up our first. Luckily we had most of the things we would need (bottles, car seat, crib and so on).”
Melissa L.: “Enjoy the “wait”- whether it’s getting the nursery ready, reading parenting books, or just spending time with your spouse PRE-baby! And as others said, though the wait can be difficult at times, it is so worth it when you bring your baby home. ”
Marci K.: “Enjoy sleep.”
Allison S. Tuff: “Ditto what the others have said. Also, keep reminding yourself that YOUR baby will find you. If you are profiled and not selected…. and even if you are matched but then the match fails…. KEEP THE FAITH. Oh, and GO ON VACATION, and lots of dates with your significant other. It’s a lot more expensive and complicated to do when you have kids.”
Mark D.: “Keep busy by preparing what you can. When your baby does come, you’ll be super busy. Cheryl and I were so happy we prepared the nursery, had some clothes already, etc. We still needed some last minute stuff, but it helped to be partially ready. We only we had a few days notice!”
Shannon M.: “It’s worth the wait. No matter how long that wait is. Enjoy a nice night out with your spouse, because you won’t see many of those anymore. Also, sleep-in a few times, you’ll be lucky to sleep until 7. Believe me, that first smile you see and the first kiss they give you and the “I love you” they will tell you; out weighs no social life and sleep deprivation.”
Chuck F.: “Make sure everyone you come into contact with knows you’re trying to adopt. You never know where your match will come from. We were matched by knowing someone who knew someone, who knew someone, who knew someone, who was 7 months pregnant and wanted to surrender. (They) didn’t have a family picked, (and weren’t) with an agency, and didn’t know what to do. Eventually, it all worked out.”
Belinda R.: “Don’t give up. Remember that a baby is a baby not matter what race, gender or ability (disability)! Keep your options open; do not discount a referral because of race/disability. And most of all, pray before you make a decision!!!
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie agreed that going forward, all adoptions in New Jersey should have open records. However, according to this story, Christie proposed changes to the bill that would have allowed adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates and medical records.
According to the story, the conditional veto would allow adult adoptees to seek a “confidential intermediary” from an adoption agency to perform a search for their birth parents. If after one year, the birth parents were not found, the adoptee could receive the original birth certificate. If the birth parents are found but do not want to be reunited, they will be asked to provide complete medical history for the adopted person, however this will not be mandatory.
“I believe that additional safeguards are needed to best balance the needs of adoptees seeking the identity of their biological parents with the expectations of birth parents who may wish for their identities to remain private,” Christie said in the article.
The New Jersey Democratic lawmakers, who initiated the bill said, “they were unsure whether they would accept Christies changes and make them laws.” According to the story the democrats cannot override Christies revisions because they do not have enough votes. If they do not approve the bill the current law would remain in effect.
Is this newly revised proposed bill a good compromise or should adult adoptees be allowed to receive their original birth certificates, despite the anonymity promises to birth parents in the past?
If you are looking for a new book on adoption, The Wall Street Journal blog recently reviewed an updated edition of “Adoption Nation” by Adam Pertman, who is the Executive Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.
According to the article “Adoption Nation” takes a look at the decline of international adoptions in the US, which coincides with the rise of foster care adoptions.
The book also takes a look at how the Internet has impacted adoption. According to the article, Pertman looks at how the Internet has become an outlet for “adoptees to find their birth parents,” and has also made it easier for birth parents and adoptees to remain in contact.
At Adoption STAR, we obviously agree that the Internet has had an impact on the adoption journey. We recently published recommendations on how to have a healthy relationship via social media as a birth parent, adoptive parent or adoptee.
I personally have not read “Adoption Nation” yet, but plan to in the near future, and will post a full review when I’m finished. Has anyone else read an earlier edition of “Adoption Nation?” What did you think? What are some other adoption-related books that you would recommend?
We can go through the list of celebrities who have adopted children including Angelina Jolie, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, Sheryl Crow, Mia Farrow, Calista Flockhart, Meg Ryan, Julie Andrews and many more.
Personally, when I think of celebrities who have adopted children I immediately think of Jolie and Madonna, both of whom have adopted internationally. Cruise and Kidman adopted children domestically when they were married to each other, as did O’Donnell, Flockhart and Crow, but you don’t hear as much about these celebrity adoptions.
That’s why it was nice to see this story on actress Nia Vardalos, from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” Not only did Vardalos adopt domestically, she did so through the foster care system.
Whether you are adopting internationally or domestically, it is an incredibly rewarding experience that can also be stressful from time-to-time. In the article Vardalos writes about how she and her husband Ian had been attempting to adopt for many years, both domestically and internationally, to no avail before turning to the foster care system.
Vardalos is currently the spokesperson for National Adoption Day, which is November 19, and with all of the worthy attention international adoption receives from stars such as Jolie and Madonna, it is nice to see Vardalos speaking out for domestic adoption, whether it be through private agencies or the foster care system.