5 Obstacles to Starting an International Adoption

5 Obstacles to Starting an International Adoption

When my husband and I began our first adoption process we were 24 and 25 years old and married barely two years. We wanted to adopt internationally, from an African country, and we hoped for a program that typically took 2 years or less. We had no experience in adoption and began the process optimistically.

Not only does starting an International adopt hold many obstacles, the adoption process itself has many more obstacles. It helps to anticipate the process to have many challenges so you are better prepared.

I did not expect to face obstacles right away before we even officially started the process, but we definitely did. The first obstacle we faced was finding the right agency and program to pick.

When looking into agencies, we needed to find one that had an active program in an African country and was taking new clients. It seemed like it would be easy to figure out, but we quickly discovered many obstacles.

Below are obstacles related to finding an agency that had a program that fit our desires and lifestyle. For more specific advice on choosing an adoption agency, see my post here about what to consider before committing to an agency.

Here are the obstacles we faced:

Adoptions are full of obstacles. Some obstacles are faced before you even officially begin the adoption process. If you’re thinking about starting the process to adopt, consider these 5 things before you begin so you are better prepared to make the necessary choices. #adoption #adoptionprocess #orphancare #fostercare #family

Here are the top five obstacles we faced:

  1. Age Requirements

This one is pretty self explanatory.

Many countries have age requirements for adoptive parents. Most were 30 years or older. Few allowed 25 years or older.


2. Marriage Requirements

Some countries wanted adoptive couples to be married for a specific length of time (5 – 10+ years).

Understandable to ensure a higher chance of security for a child coming into a new family but challenging for us as we wanted to start our family via adoption, not biological kids. 

3. Openings for Families in Country Programs

Once we found countries that we met age and marriage criteria for, not all agencies had openings in those programs.

Just because an agency has an adoption program in a certain country, does not mean they have unlimited openings for new families to begin the adoption process. 

We also saw a lot of pilot programs, which are newer programs and often have few to none previously completed adoptions.

Pilot programs are not bad, but you definitely should consider these with caution as they tend to involve higher risk.

4. Program Length

All country programs are different. Some can move very quickly while others have a track record of taking years to complete.

There is always the chance a process can go quicker or take longer than anticipated but it’s important to be aware of the typical length and decide whether or not that fits your personal time line. 

5. Travel Requirements

Some countries require multiple trips to meet the child/children, attend court hearings, and pick your child/children up.  

Other countries only require one trip to pick your child/children up while everything else can be handled without you being in the country.

Again, this is a component of the process that could unexpectedly change based on country regulations, however it’s important to consider your lifestyle, work schedule, and available vacation time in order to decide which travel requirements fit best.

It is likely you will experience other obstacles as well since every adoption process is different, these were just the ones that popped up for us!

When you hit obstacles, don’t be discouraged, keep doing your research!  

To see requirements by country, visit the U.S. Department of Sate’s website here

Overcoming obstacles in adoption is no small feat. The entire adoption process is full of obstacles. There are even obstacles to overcome in order to officially start the process. Here are 5 common obstacles to starting an adoption process, specifically an international adoption. #adopt #adoption #adoptionprocess #family #adoptionjourney #orphancare