Adopting a child born in another country is far more difficult and costly than most people think. Countries welcoming the babies and countries sending the babies have strict rules. It takes years and thousands of dollars to complete an adoption. For example, many children have been adopted from Ethiopia, where adoption used to take 18 months. It now takes five to 10 years to complete an Ethiopian adoption.
New restrictions and rules are reducing the number of international adoption agencies in Canada and the United States.
In Canada, the number of international adoptions went from 2,180 in 2003 to 1,968 in 2010.
The number of domestic adoptions is increasing.
In the United States, the numbers are down from 22,991 in 2004 to 9,320 in 2011.
Countries must now try to keep the child with the natural parents. Or, they must prove that they have looked for adoptive parents in their own nation. They have to make sure babies are not being trafficked or sold.
Countries that violate rules, such as Guatemala, Nepal and Cambodia, are not allowed to send their children.
Every country has its own rules:
- China will not allow single moms, same-sex couples, obese parents, alcoholic parents or families with cancer to adopt children.
- Russia requires a mandatory six-month search for adoptive parents inside Russia before international adoptions can begin.
- Haiti has problems with documentation. Other countries will not allow their children in.
International adoptions are debated. What are the reasons parents want children born overseas? What are the problems of raising a child born in another culture? Why do the host countries and the sending countries make it so hard to adopt?
Experts say the era of a high number of international adoptions is now over.