Overseas adoption, also called international adoption, is the process of adopting a child from a country outside of the United States. The number of overseas adoptions is at an all-time low for the first time in over 10 years. In 2010, only about 11,000 overseas adoptions took place. (This may be in part due to the U.S. not counting children adopted from Guatemala due to suspicions about the country's adherence to the Hague Convention.)
Fees for international adoption range between $8,000 and over $40,000. Most countries require adopters to fly to the child's country and to stay there while the adoption is finalized. Most orphanages require a philanthropic donation and some agencies will even try to adopt out multiple children to a couple in an effort to reduce the number of children in need of foster care.
The process for international adoption will still require a home study, sometimes one by the country's agency as well. Placement tends to move faster with international adoptions than domestic, and international adoption is more lenient for nontraditional adopters, as well, making it a popular alternative to domestic infant adoption.
Choosing a country to adopt from depends on an adopter's desires. If an adopter chose international adoption for philanthropic reasons, for example, the country of choice may be one that faces greater poverty than Korean adoptees, who live well in foster homes while waiting for adoption. In 2010, the leading countries in international adoption, according to data collected the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs, are China, Ethiopia, Russia, South Korea and Ukraine.
Korea is the largest exporter of babies for adoption to the U.S., sending hundreds each year. Many are calling for stronger child protection policies to ensure the best interests of the child, child trafficking news reports.
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