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International adoptions involve children in foreign countries who live in orphanages or in some cases, foster care within that country. International adoption is generally done through an agency with expertise in a few particular countries. It is governed both by U.S. law and by the laws of a given child's birth country. The laws on international adoption vary widely from country to country and can often change. It is therefore especially important to work with an experienced agency with a track record of successful adoptions from a given country.
- Little to no chance of custody issues after placement
- Timeline for adoption is fairly defined and is usually completed within one year
- International adoption can be a complicated process in which laws and procedures change.
- Medical conditions can be hard to predict.
- Unanticipated costs
Travel to a child's birth country is required in most (but not all) cases. Some countries require two trips. This can be a wonderful opportunity to educate yourself culturally so that you can pass important cultural elements on to your adopted child. However, you should be aware that travel to certain countries is not for the faint of heart.