Adoption wars: Domestic vs. International
Adoption wars: Domestic vs. International

I get the question a lot about which form of adoption is best: international adoption or domestic.  International and domestic adoption appeal to different people for different reasons.  Neither is inherently better than the other, although one or the other may be better for you.  I hate the competition that sometimes surfaces between proponents of either domestic or international adoption, with each side attempting to scare prospective families away from the other choice.  Anytime a family finds a child and a child finds a family, regardless if that child is from Beijing or Boston, the world is a better place.

Private domestic adoption, domestic foster care adoption, and international adoption are completely different systems with different rules and requirements.  Each system appeals to different people and each system has different requirements that may exclude some potential parents.  For example, older parents or single parents are usually not chosen as readily by birth mothers/first mothers so they might opt for either foster care or international adoption.  Some families might not be able to handle the uncertainties of the foster-to-adopt program, while others might view this as the safest way to see if an older child fits well into the family.

In my experience, most people will instinctively feel more comfortable with one type of adoption depending on their priorities.
• The top priority for parents who are drawn to domestic private adoption is getting a child as young as possible with as much health information as possible.
• The top priority for parents who are drawn to the public foster care system is providing a home for a child who really needs them and the low cost.
• The top priorities for parents who are drawn to international adoption are the predictability of knowing that they will get a baby or toddler within a set period of time and a discomfort with the domestic adoption process (for example, the amount of time a birth parent has to revoke their consent to adopt or open adoption post placement).

But, here’s the real point of this post, we should support each other’s choices.  What works for you might not work for me.  The type of adoption that seems easy to you might not be easy for me.  The type of adoption that embraces you might reject me.  Somewhere out there, your child is waiting.   Try to be open to all possibilities.

Image credit: Mark H. Anbinder