Domestic vs. International Adoption

Man and woman fall in love. They both want children, so they try to conceive – but nothing happens. This can be a real tragedy for such a couple.

They’ll try artificial insemination first, as costly as it is. They’ll give it one more try, then another. And still no pregnancy.

As a last resort, the couple will decide to adopt. In my country, Belgium, this is not an easy task. First of all, the couple needs to fill in an application to get listed as adoptive parents. This includes a very long list with very personal information, and afterwards the couple will be ‘invited’ to follow a course to check their suitability as parents.

This already gives frustration. Why do possible adoptive parents need to qualify as ‘suitable’, whereas parents who can normally conceive are not asked the same? There are countless examples of parents who are not suitable at all, but still get children – which are then neglected or even maltreated.

Once registered, the couple is in for a long wait. Now they have to consider two other options. They can try to domestic or international adoption. There are pro’s and contra’s to each of these forms.

International adoption is not always reliable. Belgium works with different countries in the Third World, but problems can arise anyway. Sometimes parents are promised a child. They pay for the adoption formalities in the country of origin. Then they’ll travel to the far-away place – and are offered a child that is not what they were promised. A girl instead of a boy, a much older child instead of a baby.

Another problem with international adoption is that the child is obviously from different origin. When you adopt a child from China, Congo or Colombia, your environment will know that you have adopted. And it can also cause trouble when the child gets older and wants to go back to its roots.

Trying to adopt a domestic child is not very easy either. The waiting time can run into years. I’ve known a case where the couple had to wait for three years until they could their long wanted son.

On the other side, your child will be Belgian too, and actually there is no need to tell the rest of the word that you have adopted – some people find it difficult to admit they can’t have children of their own. The identity of the real parents is kept a secret, as long as the child doesn’t ask for it (they can do that once they turn 18). In some cases, the adopted child will even resemble the new parents!

To conclude: once the couple is registered with an official bureau, international adoption can go quite fast, but it is also very expensive. Sums up to 250,000 euro can be paid (the worth of house, in fact). Domestic adoption is a lot cheaper (you only pay the administrative costs, which are low enough) but the waiting time for a baby is extremely long.


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