There are three different groups of children from which you can choose to adopt:
1. U.S.-born infants: Many prospective parents hope to adopt healthy infants, often of a background similar to their own. In the United States, a relatively small percentage of healthy, Caucasian infants are placed for adoption. Most Caucasian infants are placed through agencies and independent adoptions.
African-American, Hispanic, and mixed-race infants are available both through public and private adoption agencies. The adoption of American Indian children (of all ages) by non-Indians is strictly limited by the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act. Fees and waiting times for infants vary tremendously, depending on the type of adoption involved.
2. Children with special needs: Many children with special needs are available for adoption. These children may be older (grade school through teens). They may have physical, emotional, or mental disabilities, or they may be brothers and sisters who should be adopted together. Usually, these children are in the care of a state foster care system. Both public agencies and some private agencies place children with special needs. In addition, national, regional, and state adoption exchanges will assist in linking prospective parents with these children. Adoption exchanges and agencies usually have photolistings and descriptions of available children, and many now provide information about waiting children on the Internet. In many cases, you can get financial assistance in the form of adoption subsidies to help with the legal, medical, and living costs associated with caring for a child with special needs.
3. Children from other countries: Many children from other countries are available for adoption. Lots of American families have adopted children from Russia, China, Korea, India, and countries in Eastern Europe, Central America, and South America. In the United States, more than 700 private agencies place children from foreign countries, and a few countries allow families to work with attorneys rather than agencies.
When you're adopting a child from another country, you'll have to deal with strict immigration requirements as well as substantial agency fees and transportation, legal, and medical costs. Choose a licensed, knowledgeable organization, because the international adoption process is lengthy and complex.
Carefully consider the emotional and social implications of adopting a child of a different nationality. Just as in transracial adoption of a U.S. child, you're adopting a culture as well as a child. Agencies seek families who will help a child learn about and appreciate his native culture because it's part of who the child is.
Source: National Adoption Information Clearinghouse
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