Domestic adoption becoming more common
COLUMBIA - Elizabeth Snyder is one of a growing number of parents who are choosing to adopt children born in the United States rather than abroad because of what she calls "important advantages."
She said she always wanted to have a child and adopted her son, Jalen, three years ago, when he was a four year old.
"We call it the best day of our lives," Snyder said.
Snyder adopted her son through the Division of Family Services in Boone County.
She said one thing sets apart domestic adoption.
"The support system never goes away."
Dewey Crepeau, an attorney and the executive director of A Gift Of Hope Adoptions, said adopting internationally as opposed to domestically can be much more difficult.
"Typically, an international adoption takes longer," Crepeau said. "You probably get less accurate health information and background information internationally."
But even domestic adoptions have challenges, including the fear of contact with the birth parents, he said.
Snyder said that was an issue for her. She said DFS (Division of Family Services) assists biological parents because of how traumatic giving up a child can be.
"It's very hard for them and it's something you have to tiptoe around," Snyder said. "I was overjoyed at becoming a parent at the exact same time they were heartbroken."
While Snyder said it has been a perfect match between her and her son, she attributes it largely to getting to know him before and during the adoption process, something that can be more difficult during an international adoption.
Crepeau said, "The two main issues between international and domestic are the time and cost. Some countries can require a stay of several weeks or you may have to come multiple occasions."
While adoptions of children from some countries can be fairly routine, it is not the case for all. Russia, Ethiopia and Japan are among the countries that are not convention nations of the Hague Treaty.
The convention, signed in 1994, is an agreement of several countries "to prevent the abduction, sale of, or trafficking in children, and it works to ensure that intercountry adoptions are in the best interests of children."
The convention allows intercountry adoptions only under certain stated conditions, including:
- The child has been deemed eligible for adoption by the child's country of origin
- Due consideration has been given to finding an adoption placement for the child in its country of origin.
Crepeau said countries U.S. parents typically adopted from have changed their laws, and fewer agencies in the United States do international adoptions because it is more expensive.
Snyder said, "International adoptions range anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000. This does not include travel time and there are a lot of restrictions."
Crepeau said he sees parents will go the extra mile, whether the adoption is domestic or international, and it is always the one constant he sees from future mothers and fathers.
Snyder said adoptive parents don't typically care about the hurdles they may face.
"You want ten fingers and ten toes and a smile, and that is the healthy way to approach adoption," she said.