Foreign adoption is sometimes used synonymously with international adoption, but the latter is preferred in adoption circles.
International adoption is the alternative to domestic adoption and contributed to about a quarter of a million adoptions since 1999. Adopters considering international adoption are usually nontraditional adopters or those who wish to bring a child from a developing country or one that has been affected by war or natural disasters. The top three areas that children are adopted are: Latin America, Asia and Russia.
About 83 countries, as of the beginning of 2011, have ratified the Hague Adoption Convention, which seeks to protect international adoptees from being victims of corrupt cause and trafficking. Some adopters may wish to consider the country's Hague relationship before adopting their child. Although, a growing number of children have been adopted from Ethiopia in the last few years and it's not a member of the Hague Convention.
Adoptive parents should keep in mind that certain countries may take have better resources for caring for children waiting for adoption. Other countries may not allow parents to choose or meet the child they're placed with until after the adoption process is finalized. Seeing as the majority of the children adopted in general are female and infants, these demographics are mirrored in the international adoption statistics reported by the Bureau of Consular Affairs: only about 37 percent of international adoptees are male and about 75 percent of all international adoptees since 1999 were under 2 years old.