Host: How can families choose the right option for them when it comes to adoption?
Marilyn Regier: There are so many excellent options when we are looking at adoption programs that families often struggle with their selections. Often, the first thing they do is to compare domestic U.
S. adoption with international adoption. Let us do that now, in terms of the timetables, domestic adopting is often called pregnancy without a due date because there is no precise timetable at which you will receive your child. After you have your home study, you are usually in a waiting mode. While birth parents consider the family that they would like to place their child with. In international adoption, the birth parents typically do not make a choice and the timetables are more predictable and there are certain timetables associated with each individual country.
Certainly, these can fluctuate as things change overseas, but in general, there is slightly more precision. In terms of the process, whether you adopt internationally or domestically you will need a home study to begin. But in international adoption you also need to have something called Dossier and your agency would help you with that. But it s many papers which will be authenticated, appostilled through the state department, through the embassy of the country. In domestic adoption, you do not need a Dossier, but you do need to prepare a photo album, a scrapbook, a dear birth parent letter, materials which would help a birth parent to make the initial screening when she is looking at who she might want to work with.
In terms of interactions with birth parents, in domestic adoption, there is almost always a chance to meet the birth parents and to have extensive social and medical history often, from the birth mother and the birth father and many families value this opportunity to meet the birth parents. In international there is less chance to meet birth parents, but sometimes there is an opportunity in certain countries, of course, there you would have to typically be working with a translator because there is a language barrier. But more and more there are opportunities overseas to meet the birth parents at least once.
There is much less social and medical history with international adoption. In fact, sometimes there is none in the case of abandonment. So, that is something that families would be have to be prepared to help their child deal with down through the years. In terms of the children that come to us through international versus domestic, obviously one of the things people love about domestic adoption is there is the opportunity to adopt newborns. There are also wonderful older children available in domestic adoption, but there is the opportunity to adopt the tiniest newborn. In international adoption, the children are more typically six to eighteen months old when they come into our homes and some times older children are available too.
The comparative risks of the two programs, most people usually think in domestic adoption about the risk of a birth parent having a change of heart. Most of those changes of heart come right before delivery or immediately after delivery and of course, many times we have fallen in love with the birth parent that we are working with. You do not need to be worried about birth parents down through the years changing their minds because when the proper legal and social work has been done, this is not going to happen. In international adoption, there is less of the chance of a birth parent revoking consent right after the adoption, but there is also the risk of a country closing or of a country deciding to emphasize in country adoption for a time and so you can see either a closing of a country or a significant slow down.
In any event, you need to have a backup plan, you need to be working with an agency that can help you, if things do not work quite the way you had anticipated.
Lastly, there is a comparison in terms of fees. Through an agency domestic adoption is typically less costly, there is usually a sliding scale based on your income. Occasionally, there are pass through costs which are social, medical, legal fees that are attributed to certain birth parents. But in general, the siding scale is your only fee and it is based on your income. Whereas with international, there is a fee to your local agency, but then there is also a foreign fee. So, typically when you add those two fees together, they do come to more than a domestic adoption with cost. You must remember that there are excellent financial aids available, there is wonderful adoption tax credit, your employer may have adoption benefits, the military has an adoption bonus and there are many wonderful grants and subsidies which can help you as you go about this. So, I encourage you as you are thinking about all these comparisons to talk with each other and decide, what is important to me in terms of the timetable, the process, the opportunity to meet birth parents, the children who come, the risks and the fees?