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Domestic and International Adoptions: What’s the Difference?

By Sheryl Rentz on September 22, 2017

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When it comes to starting a family, many Americans turn to adoption. While it can be a truly rewarding process, there are certain decisions that must be made while navigating this journey.

There are two types of adoption: domestic and international. Domestic might seem like the “common” form of adoption amongst average Americans, but international adoption is on the rise. It’s not just for celebrities!

So what are the main differences between domestic and international adoption? Let’s dive in!

1. Location. The most obvious difference is where the child comes from. For Americans, domestic adoptions usually occur close to home, from here in Pennsylvania to agencies in other states. International adoption is when a child is adopted from outside the U.S. Popular places include China, Ethiopia, and the Republic of the Congo.

2. Cost and Travel. According to American Adoptions, both types can cost from $25,000 to $50,000. However, the money will cover different expenses. Domestically, you may need to visit the child by leaving your county or state; internationally, you travel to the country where the child is located. Costs can increase with traveling fees and local adoption requirements. So international adoption will probably cost more in this respect.

3. Placement. Domestically, you must travel to the mother to be present for the termination and transfer of parental rights. Placement usually occurs after birth. Home study and post-placement will occur after this to ensure the child’s safety. Internationally, an adoption can only occur when you are in the child’s country of birth. In addition to your own visa, you will need to get a visa for the child as well. Special requirements apply to these adoptions according to country and visa type. For example, if your child has an IH-4 visa, a re-adoption in the U.S. is required.

4. Wait Time. According to Considering Adoption, newborn adoptions are more common domestically. Internationally, it’s more common to adopt a child or teen. This is most likely due to wait times. American Adoptions reports that one China-to-America adoption took four years.

Seeking Legal Aid?

Because the legal requirements can be tricky, it’s recommended that you and your partner consult a skilled Pennsylvania adoption attorney for help. With experience in several types of adoptions, the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C., can ease the stress of your adoption journey. Call (610) 645-0100 for a free consultation today.

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