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Haiti adoptionQ. We have been heartbroken over the Haiti earthquake and all the children that need homes, how can we adopt one or more children from Haiti?

The disaster in Haiti has touched all of our hearts. It is becoming increasingly frustrating to many people that want to help in some way. For now the country is closed to any new adoptions as the country is working to stabilize every aspect of life. Unfortunately adoption has been one area that has been halted. It is not clear when this will resume. Our prayers are with the Haitian people and the others that are working hard to assist in the stabilization of their country.

Currently only children in the process of adoption are being allowed out of the country. In the midst of the earthquake damage, this is a challenge for organizations trying to gather the needed documents to allow the children to leave the country. To learn more about what the U.S. Government is doing to help this adoptions, please follow this link.

To learn more, please sign up to get updates as they become available.

Q. Are international adoptions more difficult than domestic U.S. adoptions?

You will find there are difficulties and blessings in both international and domestic adoptions.  There are many differences in adoptions, regarding the paperwork, time frame, and expectations. Expenses can be more in an international adoption with travel and longer stays in some countries.

The most important steps you can take to help avoid difficulties, is to do your research in advance.  Speak to other parents and adoptive families that have adopted from the country you are considering, learn about the customs, buy a book about the country, join online support groups for this specific country, and purchase a dictionary with terms in the native language of the country. The most important aspect is to work with a reputable organization with experience and success in your chosen country.

How are international adoptions funded?Q. How are international adoption funded?

In all adoptions there is going to be a cost associated with the adoption. Travel, home studies, country fees, agency costs that allow children to be cleared for adoption are all part of the process.

Many people think adoptions should be free, and we all wish they were. As an adoptive mother, I understand, and as an adoption professional with the knowledge of the amount of behind the scenes work that must be done to make an adoption complete, I know it can’t be done without staff in both countries working to make this happen.

The good news it that with a little bit of work, you can utilize the Adoption Tax Credit that has been a great benefit in making adoption affordable. If you as adoptive parents finalize your adoption in 2010, you might be able to take advantage of this adoption tax credit of $12,170 for qualifying adoption related expenses. This tax credit begins to phase out with a modified adjusted gross annual income of $182,520. Then completely phase out if your modified adjusted gross income is $222,520 or more. To learn more be sure to consult with a qualified tax expert or CPA about claiming the Adoption Tax Credit for any adoption. To learn more about the tax credit please follow this link.

There are other subsidies for special needs adoptions. The best time is to adopt is in 2010 as the Adoption Tax Credit is set to come to an end at the end of 2010. As it stand now, the tax credit will revert back to the original credit limit of $5,000 per adoption or $6,000 for an adoption of a special needs child.

 Be honest about your finances and funding sources in advance, where are you going to obtain funds? What adoption grants or subsidies can you obtain? What can you qualify for? Find out about adoption loans from outside lenders or within your own family. Can you fund your own adoption through your own efforts? This is the very best option. There are online sites you can learn more about financing your adoption and qualifying for adoption grants.

Difficulties in international adoptions?Q. What are some of the difficulties we can expect in an international adoption?

Some difficulties in international adoption might be language barriers, travel, and seeing extreme poverty. For some people, the traveling to a foreign country and having to stay for a few weeks or longer can be very stressful. 

International adoptions tend to be more expensive than domestic adoptions, and families often report feeling as though they are "nickeled and dimed", especially once in the foreign country.  Often there is more red tape, requiring an extra dose of patience, although patience is something required in most any adoption.

What helped me in my adoption was the vision of my child at the end. This will get you through most difficulties. Surrounding yourself with others that support your adoption helps as well, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

The length of time it takes to adopt, that is from the day you start to the day you bring your child home, will vary from country to country and often there are situations that arise that can delay your plans, such as war, political instability, or natural disasters.

To avoid fraud, use only reputable agencies, attorneys, and facilitators that are licensed and have a proven track record in the country you are seeking to adopt in.

The key is to not give up, get your paperwork in and do your pre-adoption research in advance.  

If you are interested in an infant, versus an older child, the time frame maybe longer, again depending on the country and their requirements.  It is important to get your application in to your chosen agency and work hard not to procrastinate in getting your needed documents back as they are requested. You cannot drag your feet and be successful.

Recently, we worked with a couple who had been in process to adopt from China fo 24 months with no referral yet. They were told to expect another 24 month period. They were hoping to go ahead with beginning a domestic adoption in the meantime, providing it wouldn't jeopardize their China adoption. They successfully adopted here in the U.S. within 18 months, and are still waiting for their China referral.

Domestic or international adoption?Q. What are the major differences in domestic and international adoption?

 In a domestic adoption, there is a greater chance of obtaining accurate medical and social information about your child; this is not always the case in an international adoption. I believe, when possible, adoption agencies, parents and anyone else involved in your adoption should gather any and all available details you can from your child’s orphanage, foster parents, and their region and country. This will only benefit you and your child in their future.

Many people adopting internationally do so, because they are fearful of birth parents and are interested in a closed adoption. Before you decide this is your only reason, speak to others that have adopted in the last 10 years for their feedback. You will find that most international adoptions don’t offer additional information you might have in a domestic adoption or ongoing contact with relatives. To some parents, this is not a concern and they are willing to adopt regardless of the background of the child.

Just be aware of your reasons and what you can and can’t handle in the way of medical issues that might come to light as your child grows.

 Q. Where do most international adoptees come from?

Asia leads in international adoptions: China, Korea, Vietnam and India. Visit this site for updated information about international adoptions and various countries.

Often as adults we forget what is seen through the eyes of a child entering a foreign country. Consider a child entering the US or Canada. They may have been used to only one type of weather, few variations for food, very different sleeping arrangements, and customs. Remember that the child you are going to adopt from another country may have never seen a tall blond person, ice cubes, or a raised bed.  

China is an excellent choice if you wish to adopt a girlQ. Which country is best to consider since we want to adopt a daughter?

 For family interested in only girls, India and China are excellent choices. Many other countries have restrictions, again the best way to determine which country is best it to contact different agencies through their websites and through referrals by other adoptive parents, always checking on the background of each organization and their reputation in a particular country. Some agencies specialize in one to three countries and have strong relationships with the country contacts. This can help you or hurt you depending on the reputation of the agency. Do your homework.

Remember, some domestic adoption providers allow gender selection as well. So don't think you must go overseas to adopt your little girl. For instance  Lifetime Adoption Center currently allows gender selection at no additional fee.

Q. Why don’t countries have photos of their children posted on Internet?

Most countries do not allow children photos to be posted on Internet.  Often the agency handling adoption for the country will obtain photographs or videos of the children once you are in their program. To avoid the abduction, sale of or trafficking in children, and to ensure that all intercountry adoptions are in the best interests of children you want to only work with a reputable agency .


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