To the families who were pursuing a Russian adoption…

The unfortunate decision of Vladimir Putin banning the adoptions of Russian children to American families has shaken the adoption landscape, leaving many to wonder what’s next.

If you are one of the families who were matched with a Russian child, we offer our sympathies as we are deeply saddened by this turn of events.

However, sometimes with adoption, one setback (while difficult) can also open up exciting new opportunities.

American Adoptions is one of the nation’s largest newborn domestic adoption agencies and offers families some of the lowest wait times and disruption rates among adoption professionals.

If you are considering joining American Adoptions, there are a few differences between domestic and international adoption that you should be aware of.

First, let’s look at the benefits that domestic adoption offers over international adoption:

  • Immune to Changes in International Adoption Policy – Russia wasn’t the first country to ban adoptions to America, as international adoptions as a whole have seen drastic declines over the past decade due to changes in foreign adoption policies, among other issues. Conversely, domestic adoption serves a very important role in American society and benefits the government greatly, so the chance of a change in American adoption policy is negligible.
  • Receive Social and Medical Information – One of the biggest advantages of domestic adoption is that you will receive up-to-date medical information about the child and birth mother, and, depending on the circumstances, about the birth father and extended family.
  • Begin Bonding after Birth – Sadly, during the most impressionable time of their lives, many children living overseas in orphanages do not receive the necessary care from a caregiver. Consequently, these children may develop attachment issues. With domestic adoption, however, you will travel to the hospital in which your baby is being born to immediately begin the attachment and bonding process.
  • Child May Learn Adoption Story – Rarely does a child adopted from another country ever learn about his or her biological family, ancestry, reasons he or she was place for adoption, and more. While this may not seem like an important benefit now, it might be to your child later in life. It is common for adoptees to one day have questions about their origins, and to perhaps even seek out his or her biological family one day. Present day domestic adoptions allow adoptees the opportunity to fill in the blank pages of their life’s story.

Now that you understand the benefits of domestic adoption, let’s look at how the domestic adoption process differs from that of an international adoption:

  • Home Study Update – Because your original home study was most likely for the adoption of an older international child, it must be updated for a newborn domestic adoption. If you live in a state in which we are licensed, American Adoptions can conduct the home study. Otherwise, we will assist you in any way we can to coordinate the home study update.
  • Contact with the Birth Parents – One of the biggest differences between domestic and international adoption is the opportunity for you to interact with the biological family of your child. American Adoptions requires its adoptive families to be accepting of a semi-open adoption by participating in a conference call and email exchange with the birth parents, if they want this type of contact. Another requirement of a semi-open adoption is the sending of pictures and letters to the agency, which are then forwarded to the birth parents every year for 18 years after placement. Maintaining this contact with the birth parents will allow you to learn any new medical information in the future.
  • Hospital Visit – In most scenarios, you will travel to the hospital when your baby is born, which isn’t possible in international adoption. Many couples are even allowed in the delivery room, depending on the birth mother’s wishes. Being at the hospital allows you to begin bonding and attaching with your baby immediately, and to not miss any piece of their medical or developmental history.

There are many other differences between domestic and international adoption, and our Adoption Specialists are available to answer any questions you may have. Contact an Adoption Specialist today by calling 1.800.ADOPTION.

Written by Dustin Freund