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Domestic vs. International Adoption

If you're considering adopting a child in North Carolina or Florida, or internationally, understanding your rights and options under the law is critical.

January 24, 2023

Adopting a child can be an exciting but daunting experience. It is better to have all the facts before embarking on the journey to adopt a child. Learning about the differences between domestic and international adoption and the processes involved can help you make a more informed decision.

Which Adoption Costs More?

It really depends. Typically, domestic adoptions are considered less expensive than international adoptions. This is because there are generally fewer legal and travel costs associated with domestic adoptions.  However, in domestic adoptions, we are seeing rising costs associated with providing financial assistance to the expectant mother that can dramatically increase the total cost of the adoption.  

Which Adoption Takes Longer?

International adoption usually takes longer than domestic adoption. This is because there is a legal court process and then a legal immigration process.  The process can take between one and three years or more. Some of the factors affecting the duration of adoption include:

  • The country you are adopting from,
  • The type of visa the child needs and the investigation conducted by the US Embassy,
  • The period it takes to complete the home study and dossier.

Domestic Adoption Requirements

For domestic adoption, potential adoptive parents must comply with the laws of the state where they reside and, possibly, with the laws of the state where they wish to adopt a child. Generally, an adoptive parent must be financially stable and at least 21 years old. They must also undergo a home study to determine their suitability as parents.

Requirements for International Adoption

The U.S. Department of State requires potential adoptive parents to be at least 25 years. You should not have a significant criminal history and must demonstrate that you have the financial resources to provide for the child. Each country may also have its own requirements for adoptive parents as well. You will also be required that you participate in training or education programs to prepare you for the challenges and responsibilities of adoption.

What Are the Ages And Availability of the Children?

Many younger and older children are available for both domestic and international adoption, though it is more common to adopt infants domestically and adopt older children internationally.

What Legal Issues Affect Domestic & International Adoptions?

The post-adoption contract agreement is one of the most common legal issues during a domestic adoption. Many birth parents wish to have some level of contact with the child after the completion of the adoption process. It is important to have a clear post-adoption contact agreement in place to avoid surprises in the future.

After adopting a child from another country, you may be required to meet specific post-adoption requirements, such as providing updates on the child's well-being or participating in post-placement visits.

Does International Adoption Provide a Closed Or Open Option?

International adoption should generally be considered an "open" adoption process in which the adoptive parents can have some level of communication and contact with the birth family of the adopted child.

However, the specifics of international adoption can vary greatly depending on the laws and regulations of the country from which the child is being adopted and the terms and procedures of the adoption agency. You need to thoroughly research the international adoption process and seek the advice of professionals before initiating the adoption process.

Contact Our Adoption Attorneys Today

If you're considering adopting a child in North Carolina or Florida, or internationally, understanding your rights and options under the law is critical. Dempsey Law can help you navigate the process and answer your questions. Get in touch with us today to get started.

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