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Intercountry Adoption vs. Overseas Adoption

Intercountry Adoption vs. Overseas Adoption

Intercountry Adoption vs. Overseas Adoption: The Pros and Cons

Adoption is the legal process of taking a child who cannot be raised by their biological parents and placing them with a new family. With the rise of globalization, intercountry and overseas adoptions have become more popular. Intercountry adoption refers to adopting a child from a different country, while overseas adoption refers to adopting a child who is not a citizen of the adopting parents’ country. However, while both forms of adoption have different benefits, they also come with a set of challenges that prospective parents must consider. In this article, we will take a deeper look at intercountry adoption vs. overseas adoption and analyze the pros and cons of each.

Intercountry Adoption: Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages of Intercountry Adoption

1. Good for the Child

Intercountry adoption is ideal for children who cannot be raised by their birth parents due to poverty, lack of resources, or war. This form of adoption offers such children the chance of a better life by providing them with a safe and loving home. Additionally, intercountry adoption can provide the child with opportunities that may not be available in their country of birth.

2. Allows Parents to Choose Their Child

Intercountry adoption provides prospective parents with more choice, as they can choose the age, gender, and ethnicity of the child they wish to adopt. This selection process can be beneficial to both the child and the parents, as it ensures that the child is placed in an environment that meets their needs, and the parents can find the child that is best suited for their family.

3. Offers a New Cultural Experience

Intercountry adoption provides families with a new cultural experience that can be enriching and fulfilling. Adopting a child from another country allows the parents to learn and immerse themselves in that culture, even as they impart their own values and beliefs.

Disadvantages of Intercountry Adoption

1. Legal Issues

Intercountry adoption is subject to the laws of both the adoptive country and the child’s country of origin. This can lead to legal complications, such as the validity of adoption papers, which can be difficult to rectify.

2. Financial Implications

Intercountry adoption can be expensive, with additional costs such as travel, legal fees, and translation services, which can be prohibitive for some families. Additionally, some countries require that prospective parents make a charitable donation to the child’s country of origin.

3. Cultural Differences

Cultural differences between the adoptive family and the child’s country of origin can present challenges in terms of language, customs, and religious beliefs, which can make integration difficult.

Overseas Adoption: Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages of Overseas Adoption

1. Immediate Placement

Overseas adoption can offer quicker placement of a child, as the child is already orphaned or abandoned. This can be an advantage for prospective parents who are not able to wait the length of time it can take for intercountry adoptions.

2. Cost-Effective

Overseas adoption is generally less costly than intercountry adoption as there are fewer legal and logistical expenses involved.

3. Fewer Legal Issues

Overseas adoption laws are generally easier to navigate as the adoption process is under the jurisdiction of the country of origin.

Disadvantages of Overseas Adoption

1. Lack of Selection

Overseas adoption offers little selection in terms of age, gender, and ethnicity of the child, as most of the children are already in orphanages.

2. Unknown Medical History

The medical history of the child may be unknown, which can be problematic for the adoptive family, especially in cases of genetic conditions that may need to be monitored.

3. Attachment Issues

An overseas adoption may present attachment issues as the child may already be accustomed to certain cultural norms and not feel as though they fit in with their new family.

Government Regulations on Intercountry and Overseas Adoption

Governments play a critical role in adopting children overseas or intercountry. While adoption is controlled under local laws, the governments must work together to ensure the welfare of the child is the primary aim.

The Department of State is responsible for overseeing the Intercountry Adoption process to ensure that interests of the child are protected and to make sure that international law is followed. The Child Citizenship Act (CCA) under the Department of State includes provisions that help expedite the citizenship process for adopted children and provide families with greater support. In addition, prospective adoptive parents must be approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before being considered for adoption. The USCIS ensures that the parents meet a certain set of requirements designed to protect the welfare of the child.

On the other hand, with overseas adoption, the prospective parents must be approved by the adoption agency and the country of origin. There are also international treaties designed to foster compatibility or better protection of children.


Intercountry adoption and overseas adoption provide opportunities for children to have a better way of life as they grow up with parents who will provide them with love, care, and financial support. Both forms of adoption have their unique advantages and disadvantages, and therefore it is up to the adoptive parents to assess their situations before choosing either. While the beauty of intercountry adoption is the ability to choose a child and have the new experience of a culture, businesses must ensure that they follow through the legal and financial processes involved with intercountry adoption. With overseas adoption, businesses need to be mindful of the lack of selection and unknown medical history of the child.

Governments have a crucial role to play in ensuring the welfare of children through monitoring and enforcing international laws for adoption. By providing oversight and regulatory measures, the government can ensure adoption processes are transparent, and the child’s welfare is protected.

In conclusion, intercountry and overseas adoption can be a beautiful opportunity to provide children with a new and brighter future; therefore, the process should be handled with care, sensitivity, and respect to the child’s cultural background.

Some people might not equate adopting a child with the law because a trial by jury is not involved. Just because an adoption claim is not heard in criminal court, though, does not mean adopting a foreign-born boy or girl is not a legal process. International adoption, like most processes involving travel from nation to nation, is subject to specific policies and laws, and in fact, come time for finalization, will be presided over by a judge.
Of course, international adoption can apply to cases of a couple from one country adopting a child from virtually any other country, but in the United States, the term “international adoption” usually brings to mind images of Americans adopting children from foreign lands.
The U.S. Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security together are supremely motivated to make sure intercountry adoptions follow the rules. Below are ways in which adopting parties can appease these bureaus alongside their own hopes and dreams:
American adoption law is tied to its immigration law. After adopting a child from a foreign country, parents must apply for an IR-3 immigrant visa for his or her transport back to the United States, or prior to adopting him or her (thus, planning to complete the adoption in the U.S.), must petition an American embassy or consulate for an IR-4 visa.
In addition, upon formalization of the adoption, they must request that the child becomes a naturalized citizen. With the passage of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, the acquisition of citizenship became a more streamlined, (almost) automatic process.
Obviously, in adopting a child from a foreign country, that nation’s standards must be met. Before even considering what is acceptable abroad, however, applicants must first make sure the adoption is acceptable according to the United States government. One legal distinction that is prone to inconsistencies across international lines is the definition of an “orphan,” which U.S. law requires an adoptee to be.
Whereas a foreign court may decide that any child relinquished by his or her birth parents to an agency and thus no longer bound to them is an orphan, the federal government may limit adopting of foreign children to those living in orphanages and made orphans through parental deaths or abandonment.
Often times, international adoptions in foreign courts will be recognized in their American counterparts, but it should be noted that a United States judicial body is not guaranteed to oblige, especially in the absence of an official adoption decree. When adopting a child in a foreign country and bringing him or her to live in the U.S., it may be worth adopting him or her a second time after arrival to make sure the child’s status is legal.
International adoption law can be confusing. In case of any questions on intercountry adoptions, be they big or small, it is worthwhile to consult both the Department of State/a consular office and a reputable national adoption organization.