Advice on inter-country adoption(27 Posts)
Hello! After much heartache my DH and I are excited to be thinking about adoption we have so much love to give a little one, and we are wanting advice and information eg 'normal' timeframe, costs. We are looking at adopting from China.
First off, are you in Ireland or the UK?
I can say a little about the UK, but nothing about Ireland. Our Irish posters are all still hanging around though as far as I though, so if you are Irish, I'm sure they'll try their best to advise you
Generally, for both countries
Yes, being single makes a difference, because to adopt internationally, you need to meet the requirements of both your home country, and the country you're adopting from. Some countries do not allow single women to adopt, or only allow single women to adopt older children or special needs children
So if you are thinking of a certain country, you need to first find out whether it's possible for anyone to adopt from there at this point in time and you also need to check whether that country accepts single women, and what (if any) age restrictions they have, also restrictions based on physical/mental health, maybe even income/weight/sexuality restrictions (there are a couple of countries which require single women to sign a statement affirming their heterosexuality for instance).
And also obviously you need to be comfortable with the needs of some of the children who can be adopted by single women, so you can find/be referred a good match. Also, if you are most interested in adopting a child from an orphanage, you really need to research and be comfortable the issues that children who have lived in orphanages can have - developmental delays are extremely common, attachment issues and institutionalised behaviour can be an issue etc.
Assuming you're British, obviously ignore this bit if you aren't
The government have been making big moves to streamline the domestic adoption process. The approval process for domestic adoption is now about a 5/6 month process, although that's just approval, you have to actually find a child after that, which can take weeks or months to a year+. As far as I know, none of this affects international adoption at all, so nothing has changed
International adoption from the UK remains a long and difficult process, and it's very uncommon. It might be possible for you, but it depends which countries are open and what kind of child you would like to adopt
There is, I think, a China special needs program operating from the UK. China allows single women to adopt "special focus" children. To go onto the "special focus" list a child has to have significant special needs and/or be an older child, and to have been waiting for adoption for a certain length of time without finding a two parent home. There will be some under 3's on the list. They may either live in an orphange or in a foster home
Russia allows single mums, but there's a big to-do about Russian adoption at the moment, and it's possible that Russia may ban adoption from European countries at some point, so it would be risky to start the process for Russia. But it's still an option at this point in time. Some regions of Russia are open to single women, and all the children will live in an orphanage. I think you could adopt a child of any age, but again many children might have some level of special needs, and/or orphanage related issues
I'm not sure if any other south asian countries are an option for a single woman, or what countries are even open to adoption. The UK bans all adoption from Cambodia. Think Vietnam is closed...maybe Thailand (?)... can't think of any others. Can I ask why South Asia in particular?
The Interncountry Adoption Centre would be good to contact - they can tell you where you might adopt from - www.icacentre.org.uk/
Would you consider a UK domestic adoption?
Bumping this one I'm afraid - has anything much changed in the last year? I thought there was a government pledge to make the process less laborious.
I'm interested in adopting a young child (upto 3 years) from abroad, specifically from an orphanage and ideally from South Asia. What are my options?
PS I am a singleton, does that make any difference?
I've sent you a PM Ilovewalking.
Could anyone give advice on adoption from Russia to Ireland,
we dont know where to start, to get the services of an Agency or not?
the cost, how long it takes, how many referals you are allowed, how many trips to Russia and for how long ect, any advice would be great
no I didn't use an agency - they don't exist here There was no need. I simply contacted the local social work department, asked what I needed to do, did it and adopted. Was surprisingly straightforward!
As I live in a country which requires adoptions to meet the terms of the Hague Convention on Adoption (not just on international adoption) I needed to do some 40 odd hours of preparation with sw. and psychologist on impact of institutionalization etc. As a native English speaking westerner I also had way more access to information (from blogs, web sites, books - lots of book) on these topics and so actually we had more of a sharing session(s) than them educating me as such. In fact they cut the sessions short for this reason I was also offered a course of baby massage - lovely - and so on. Once I was approved and on the list of adopters I waited (less than 2 months) for both my referrals. I haven't involved the UK authorities at all (it was actually one of the british adoption organisations who advised me to adopt as a local anyway) and my local embassy hadn't got a clue anyway so were no help I'd be willing to share more but not on the forum, so PM me if you wish and we can arrange more contact - send me your f. book details or email or something if you like.
I don't know if this helps anybody at all, but friends of ours just adopted a baby from Ethiopia. They live in the UAE and the whole process took about 8 months.
Thanks adoptmama! That's really helpful. We too want to adopt as a local adoption and then believe we can organise British citizenship in the future. We do meet the Vietnamese requirements as we've been living here 6months+ but have no where to turn to get going with the next steps. We will try the forum you mentioned.
Can I ask if you used an agency? I see them advertised online but am reluctant as they seem a little morally off-beat and money-making. I would hope we could do it ourselves, but would be interested in your experience? Where did you adopt from?
Hi Angel. I adopted whilst living abroad. I did it as a local adoption, not an international adoption, meaning I just had to meet all local requirements, not get a home study and approval etc from the UK authorities. My children still travel on passports from country of origin; at some point I need to get around to getting their UK citizenship etc sorted out but for now it is fine. I'd say find an organisation/local government office responsible for adopting in-country and to it that way if it is legally possible (ie you meet residency requirements etc.) Try internationaladoption.org forums as (even though it is mostly American trafffic) you can get lots of country specific information.
Hello everyone 
I am new on here and hoping to share stories /support / advice on international adoption. My husband & I are currently living in Vietnam and intend to adopt whilst were out here. Its proving extremely difficult to obtain any information on where to start. Does anyone have any tips for us?
It would be so good to connect with others whove been in or are in a similar position
I just wanted to say thank you for all the replies, I've been busy and didnt want you all to think I had left the thread. Adoption seems really confusing and scary not knowing the basics and thanks to all your wonderful advice and information we are in a better position to plan a little more have a fab weekend
Hi Happy - thanks for the corrections! I've just picked up on the new MoC and have been encouraged to see them working on the bilaterals which is such a positive step. I didn't realise that there had been such a hold up since 2010. I hope things start moving for Irish families - at least you have someone listening to your needs and working on your behalf.
So Ireland is parallel in numbers with the UK? Too slow in comparison to Europe. The whole slow processes in inter-country adoption is tragic for the children waiting and for their future families. At the core adoption is uniting children in need with loving families and the process needs to be streamlined so that these two beneficiaries can come together in a timely manner. To much is put in the way
international adoption, I think you have a glorified view of intercountry adoption in Ireland!! Our previous Minister for Children had an anti-intercountry adoption agenda, hence the closure of Vietnam for us. Also, since Ireland signed the Hague convention and it came into law in November 2010, anyone who got their Declaration after that date has nowhere to go because there are no countries 'open' to Ireland. Our (new) Minister for Children is now working on bilaterals with Russia, Kaz and Ethiopia but it's very slow progress.
Also, your figure of 2000 intercountry adoptions per year is WAY off the mark even in the good times. There's one zero too many there!
Duggs, it is not a mine field but rather as they say 'a journey', a beautiful and exciting adventure!
Thank you ladies so helpful. Is such a mine field will do more research and am sure will have more Qs !
Dear Duggs, There are over 700 000 children in orphanages in Russia. 21% of them will be dead before their 21st birthday. They come out of the system without the tools to survive adulthood. It is shocking hidden truth, but one which the Russian government acknowledges and thus their recognition that inter-country adoption is a positive choice for these children. As Happy says their process is systemized, transparent and professional. And the children are absolutely wonderful!
International Adoption Guide provides information for those starting out. Unfortunately Ireland and UK are two different kettles of fish. Ireland welcomes inter country adoption and the government work hard on behalf of adoptive parents. The situation is quite the opposite in the UK (we are working hard to change all this!). This is reflected in the numbers - Ireland adopts roughly 2000 kids a year from overseas, UK is barely making the 300 mark.
Yes Kewcumber that fee for the Department of Education's role as UK's Adoption Authority snuck in that fee when all media attention was diverted to changing racial rules in domestic adoption - despite every inter-country adoption agency lobbying for it not to be introduced. They do give a time-line now but nearly two grand for a piece of paper which the country is obliged to provide is scandalous. Entry back into the UK is still causing problems, but we are working on that as well!
The process is complex but doable and there is your wonderful son or daughter at the end of it...like doesn't get much better than that!
DCFS fees are the dept for children, families and schools (from memory) they used to be the Dept of Education. Its basically what the govt charge to check your documentation and issue a certificate of eligibility. They only started charging fairly recently and I hope now they are charging they are more efficient than they used to be. There were absolutely rubbish in my day - gave out totally incorrect information which resulted in people having dossier returned (I knew the correct information and told them even pointed them in the direction of the Kaz embassy website but they wouldn't have it) and totally cocked up issuing DS with entry clearance into the Uk.
I bet they haven't changed though.
I can't believe you have to pay for your home study. And such a huge amount of money.
Ours is also done by the local authority but it's free, you just have to wait half a century to get a place on a prep course and then another half a century to be assigned a social worker. And what are DCFS fees? Our only fees payable in Ireland were translation of our home study (about 3k), for our medicals (90 for the three of us), and for the notary public and Dept of Foreign Affairs to notarise and apostile our documents (about 500 in total). We should have had to pay the accountant but he wouldn't take any money off us because he has a dc adopted from Belarus.
I can't believe something is cheaper in Ireland! I'm going to the papers with this
Happy in the UK you must have a homestudy from a recognised agency (usually your local authority) who can charge for this. Commonly £6,000 is the charge plus the DCFS fees which is teh total £8,500 Cecile has quoted. There isn;t a way around this unless you have a rare local authority who don't charge.
Mexico is also easier to access for adoptions for the moment.
We're based in Ireland so bear in mind that things might be different in the UK with different agreements between governments.
We originally intended adopting from Vietnam because there are a very limited number of countries we could adopt from and the process for Vietnam was the most straightforward. After waiting a year on the list for Vietnam (after 5 years in the assessment process) adoptions from Vietnam were stopped by the Irish government so we looked at other options. People we met on our prep course had just adopted from Russia so they answered all our questions. So in answer to your question, no we didn't have a particular reason for adopting from Russia, other than it was a 'sending' country and we had good advice from friends who were ahead of us on the road to Russia. We had heard all the stories about crazy costs, corruption in-country etc but that was absolutely NOT our experience although I know of others who paid much much higher legal cost in Russia than we did.
I can't tell you how to get started in the UK but there are loads of knowledgeable people on these boards. I know Kewcumber has adopted internationally so she may be able to tell you where to go to start off.
Best of luck in your journey. It was such a difficult journey for us. It made our many rounds of IVF look like a walk in the park in comparison. But now that we are the other side of the adoption journey, I can honestly say we are happy as pigs in shite.
hi happy.. do you mind me asking ..was Russia somewhere you particuarly were interested in. DH and I are just considering adoption after almost 3 yrs of heartache .. 4 Miscarraiges and we would be such loving parents. I am interested in international adoption but I have no idea where to start. We cannot afford £40k but your costs you suggested are much more realistic.
Any advice or if you could point me in the right direction it would be much appreciated...
Cecile, our costs in Russia were a fraction of what you've suggested. We had no agency here or there. We had a facilitator in Russia who organised everything for us over there and her costs for everything - translations, legal fees, passport for our dd, visa for dd, transport to and from the airport and babyhome etc - were around 7000. On top of that, our only costs were travel and accomodation, the cost of visas for us and translation of our home study into Russian. Our travelling expenses were the biggest part of the total cost. I know it depends what region you go to but there is a myth that to adopt from Russia is prohibitively expensive - I certainly thought so before we investigated it - and there are plenty of agencies who will take your money but for us, it was a very open and transparent system and I'm very happy that noone "made money" from the adoption of our dd.
Congratulations on considering adoption to complete your family. This is one of the most incredible choices that you could make. There are 163 million children in the world today who are growing up without parental care, and to offer a loving home and family to a child in need is one of the most beautiful gifts you could offer.
The ball park figure for completing an international adoption is roughly 3 years. It may be quicker or it may be shorter, there are no fixed rules but if you prepare for 3 years it will average out at that. Costs also vary. To gain your Certificate of Eligibility will cost you about £8500 taking into account your homestudy and your DfE costs. Agency fees vary depending on which country you are adopting from. The most expensive adoptions are from a particular agency who works in Russia and they charge up to £40000 although there are agencies who work in Russia around the 20000 euro mark. Add to this notarization, legalisation, and translations fees for your paperwork and your travel and accommodation expenses.
What you are paying for are the 150 people involved in an inter-country adoption. fortunately it does not come in one lump and can be spread out over the years.
You need to get as much information and support as possible before you embark on your process as there are so many obstacles and you must be aware of them so you are not caught out.
It is a wonderful thing to do - you do not only adopt your child but you adopt their country. Very special.
Good luck and we are here to help you on your journey.
We've recently adopted from Russia (from Ireland) and I can give you an idea of the timeframe there. We registered our documents there in Aug 2010, got a referral in July 2012 and brought our dd home in Dec 2012. It's costly because there were four trips required (and we did one extra to be with dd on her birthday). The in-country costs are not huge, pm me if you want details. mThe wait for a referral varies from region to region. We were in a particularly slow region.
Lilka - thank you for all your help, we are so new to this so everything is very new and scary. I have contacted Oasis so hopefully they will get back soon with some more information. thanks again.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.