Regardless of whether you pursue a domestic or international adoption, research is a very important part of the process. Talking with adoption agencies, social workers, attorneys, and other adoptive parents is great way to discuss the pros and cons of adoption.
That being said, you will probably run into people that have strong views for either domestic or international adoption. You may also meet families who have adopted domestically and internationally. You can learn from everyone, even if you are pursing a different type of adoption. After all, you are on the same wonderful journey, but are just taking different roads to get there.
Here are some of the pros and cons to consider when pursing domestic and international adoption. Note that this is not a complete list of pros and cons by any means. In addition, what's considered a pro to one family may be considered a con to another, and vice versa.
Domestic Adoption Pros:
1. In domestic adoption, there isn't any international travel, which can save considerably on costs for plane tickets, accommodation, visas, paperwork, etc.
2. As you begin learning about different types of adoption in the United States, you will not have to also learn about another country's adoption laws, system, agencies, etc.
3. It can be much easier to adopt a newborn in the Untied States than abroad. On the flip side, parents that do desire to adopt an older child will not have to to worry about a language barrier.
4. Many prospective adoptive parents wish to pursue an open or semi open adoption. This is usually much easier in domestic adoptions (thought I can also happen in international adoptions).
Domestic Adoption Cons:
1. The birth mother can change her mind, as well as the birth father, if he has not been properly notified by law about the pregnancy. The length of time for this to happen varies by state. Adoption laws can be complicated, and an adoption attorney is the best person to talk with on this subject.
2. Depending on the age of the child you are adopting, and the agency you are working with, there can be quiet a few car or plane rides involved. Ideally, one of these trips would be on the way home with the newest member of your family. However, it doesn't always happen.
3. The wait during a domestic adoption can be extremely painful and long.
International Adoption Pros:
1. In many cases, the children have been legally declared available for adoption. This eases the fear about having a child taken away, due to a birth mother changing her mind.
2. The time line for international adoptions can be more concrete than domestic. It doesn't mean that there won't be delays. It does mean that you may have a better time frame of when your child will be home for good.
3. In some countries, the finalization of the adoption will take place in the child's birth country. This means that there are no more waiting periods or court dates for the family once they arrive back home in the United States.
4. Some counties do not have as strict age requirements. It can be harder to find domestic adoption agencies willing to work with older couples.
International Adoption Cons:
1. There is usually at least one, sometimes two trips required in international adoption.
2. Children may have resided in an orphanage or foster home in their first few months or years of life. This isn't always a con, but can be, depending on the country, region, and adoption agency.
3. The medical background and testing on a child may be lacking or inconclusive in other countries.
4. Unless you speak the native language of the country, there will be a language barrier. A good agency will already have a translator and/or agency representative waiting for your your arrival, but it doesn't mean that it always happens as planned.
The road to adoption both domestically and internationally is filled with complex turns, stops, starts, and detours. However, knowing ahead of time what possible detours you may face will help you navigate whichever type of adoption you decide to purse.