Why do people from the US go to foreign countries to adopt children?

American couples sometimes adopt children from outside the US, rather than adopting domestic kids. What are the reasons for doing this?

  1. American children are in short supply.

  2. It’s easier. A lot of foreign countries have huge numbers of children that need homes, and offer incentives to make the adoption process easy. This includes streamlining the paperwork, paying for background and financial checks, etc., and in some cases skipping those things altogether. By contrast, adopting from an American adoption agency or foster program can be a bureaucratic nightmare with no guarantee of success.

I think it’s because there are too few kids available for adoption in the US.


Mrs. Homie and I went to a foreign adoption seminar years ago. I don’t remember everything the guy talked about, but some of the points that stuck were: 1) The cost. The guy said $35,000 was a good starting point. 2) The paperwork. He produced a stack of papers about a foot thick and explained that each of them would need to be filled out, in order, some in triplicate, some notarized, some sent to this address in Washington, others sent to that address in Washington, some sent to two different addresses in Washington, ad nauseum. 3) The sudden “paperwork problems” that show up at City Hall in the country from which you’re adopting; paperwork problems that can usually be solved with a [del]bribe[/del] filing fee of a hundred bucks, a carton of Marlboros, or what have you.

We passed.


Right. In particular, adoptive parents usually want infants, and (I say hesitatingly), they usually want Caucasian or Asian infants. They are in very short supply in the U.S. adoption centers.

If it’s anything like the UK, it’s because babies, in particular, are seldom available for adoption and the children that are often come from troubled, abusive backgrounds. So go abroad, get a shiny new untroubled toddler double quick and feel that warm glow thinking you’ve saved a child from third world poverty

You also don’t have to deal with the bio parents still being around

The single parent stigma is much much less in the USA than it was 40 years ago. Most of those teen moms who were forced by parents and socalpressure to give up their child at birth, today keep the child. Most of the children up for adoption today are “problem children”, whose parents have given them up because they are mentally or physically challenged.

Plus, I suspect there’s still a lingering racial issue - many adoptable children are black, while orphans from eastern europe were white. I’m sure any mother determined to adopt out her child in the USA can find a suitable couple either through private adoption (which often includes money, even though “selling babies” is illegal); thus reducing the supply still further for public adoptions.

The adoption process in North America is either private (which can run into the tens of thousands in “fees”) or takes years, whereas some overseas adoptions are much more immediate although still not simple or cheap.

Not sure of any cite for this, but Child Welfare generally now seems more likely to take children into foster care until the mother is capable of looking after them, rather than take them for permanent adoption against the mother’s will, as happened years ago.

And of course, all these “please send money to help the poor starving orphans” begfests on TV probably encourage couples who are thinking about adoption to do what they can to help…

My cousin recently adopted a baby girl from Mexico. When I asked him (jokingly, at first) how much he had to bribe the officials, he said that he & his wife were instructed to bring at least $10,000 for “The Sombrero Fund.”


American kids are fat.

It’s actually the exact opposite in the majority of cases. And much more expensive.

This is a big one for a lot of people. Before we got pregnant we were looking into adoption and my husband was terrified that we would adopt a child only to have a biological mom pop up from nowhere a few years later and convince a judge to give her the child back. He all but refused to consider an American child for that reason.

Not to mention that many kids up for adoption in the US may have mothers who drank or did drugs during the pregnancy.

Cite? I’ve never heard this.

Not a majority, but 30-40% of children in foster care (generally children available for adoption are presently in foster care) have physical problems that are the result of an impoverished upbringing: delayed growth and development, HIV infection, neurological disabilities, malnutrition, and asthma. Vision, hearing, and dental problems are also especially prevalent among the children in the child welfare system

Approximately 60 percent have “severe” mental health problems.

approximately 20 percent of children in out-of-home care have developmental disabilities, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, and learning disabilities, as well as speech, hearing, and sight impairments.


Your cite states:

Between 14 and 18 percent of all pregnancies involve fetal alcohol or drug exposure. Most of the other characteristics mentioned are environmental, not genetic or prenatal.

I cannot believe that the majority of children put up for adoption are alcohol/drug babies.

No they, aren;t but the reverse is true. The majority of babies exposed to drug/alcohol in utero are put up for adoption. I could imagine its possible that a majority of infants available for adoption are exposed to drug/alchohol, since only 2% of children avaiable for adoption through the state are under a year old.

At any rate, the majority of children available for adoption in the US have at least one special need, whether developmental, medical, physical disability, etc.

Having a number of friends who’ve adopted, here’s what I’ve seen.

Some American adoption services make you jump through hoops. I know of people who’ve been turned down because they were single, or over 40, or didn’t fit family size/income guidelines. Foreign adoption services often aren’t as picky.

A large part of the U.S. adoptive pool are black children. There’s a longstanding bias against white parents adopting black children. While that’s changing officially, unofficially many potential white adopters feel like they’re steered away from transracial adoption. Since there’s a relatively small pool of white children available, they look to other countries.

I don’t know any adoptive couple that didn’t try to go through U.S. services before turning to overseas adoption.

More fat, more flavor.

There are plenty of kids in America up for adoption.
White girl babies cost more cause they’re in demand. Boys aren’t.


It’s so bad, they’ll even cut you a deal if you take a boy or a black baby.

Black kids are the majority group of potential adoptees. Not enough black parent foster children/adopteres, so sometimes they get stuck because social services and agencies don’t want to put a black child with white parents.

This agency caters to black and bi racial potential adoptees. (You have to be married, too.)

Black parents, white children?

Hey, no fair! You black folk are taking all the good white babies!

Black-non black adoptions are (usually) opposed by the Association of Black Social Workers.

Some parents just prefer babies.

Some parents don’t want kids with disabilities or hardships.
Some don’t want foster children with ‘baggage’.

When I adopt, I’m doing it from my own neighborhood. It takes a village, and I’ll be damned if I teach Hispanic and black children in a metro school and then go out of my way to adopt a young white baby.
There are no unwanted children, just unfound families.

It’s so bad that American kids are being adopted to live in other countries.

This isn’t an assault on Dopers who have adopted babies from China or Russia or whathaveyou. I’m just pointing out that there are plenty of children who need homes.