International Adoption Hurdles
We’ve all heard the expression, “no good deed goes unpunished.” As much as we’d like to say that deciding to adopt internationally means that your obstacles will part ways like the Red Sea, ushering in an easy, inexpensive process, we’d be lying if we did.
The truth is that the advantages of international adoption FAR outweigh the drawbacks, but things aren’t all sunshine and roses. You, as a prospective parent, require a practical and realistic understanding of what you’re getting yourself into. So, brace yourself for a brush with reality and head out in the right direction.
Frequent Flyer Miles, Anyone?
If you’re considering international adoption, start dusting off your passport and catching up on your immunizations. Newsflash: international adoptions demand a great deal of international travel – anything but cheap.
This is no “vacation” and requires substantial investments of time, effort, attention, and finances. While the initial research can be achieved at home using the Internet, when it comes time to get serious you can’t handle things from the comfort of your living room.
Baby Doesn’t Equal Newborn
Many hopeful adoptive parents of international babies have images of tiny newborns with wispy hairs and little soft fingernails. While international adoption does increase the likelihood of adopting a baby, most children are already three or four months old. Although you can be guaranteed a baby under a year old, this doesn’t make an infant a newborn. Be realistic when it comes to your new parenting expectations.
One risk of international adoption is the lack of an accurate family medical history. While it will be hard enough in the future should your adoptive child attempt to reconnect with their birth parents, puzzling out if one side of the family suffered from heart disease while the other was riddled with cancer won’t likely be in the public record.
Fortunately, as specialized DNA testing gets more affordable, more and greater doors and windows of insight are opening in the lives of internationally adopted children that can allow you to prepare for a number of different medical eventualities.
Depending on the country of origin, there’s really no telling what caliber of environment you’ll be rescuing them from. While some agencies boast state-of-the-art orphanages, this isn’t always the case. If there is very little human contact, nurturing, or love, emotional or developmental setbacks may result for new parents already battling other obstacles simultaneously.
Do your homework when it comes to where you chose to adopt your child from and be prepared to fight uphill battles when it come to physical, mental, and emotional developmental milestones.