International adoption is thought to be an alternative to domestic adoption and is often chose by older couples because of the liberal age limits. It's also preferred by those who have the resources and desire to provide a financially and emotionally supportive life for a child in a developing, war-torn country or one recently affected by a natural disaster.
Other reasons for choosing international adoption over domestic adoption is the shorter waiting period. Couples adopting internationally still have to pass a homestudy, but once a couple is cleared for adoption they will be matched with a child in a year at max. There is no waiting to be chosen by a birth mother in international adoption and this expedites the adoption process.
International adoption is expensive. The paperwork alone costs about $1,000 to file. Other expenses are the homestudy, travel costs, translator and dossier fees, the cost of an attorney or facilitator and a philanthropic donation to the child's orphanage.
Adopting overseas may be a sure thing, but as with any adoption there is always the possibility for mental and emotional obstacles. Nearly all international adoptees are under the age of 5, and about half are under a year old. While these children may not be old enough to be affected by a traumatic childhood, they may still develop special needs like any other adoptee and may also have social boundaries that will need to be crossed, particularly if the child is of a different race from the adoptive parents.