New Act Makes International Adoption a Little Easier

When you adopt internationally, your home, finances, health history and legal background get put under the microscope. Everything needs to be notarized, and heaven forbid the paperwork expire before the country you’re adopting from has time to approve it. Then you need to steel yourself for the maze of red tape, seemingly never-ending requirements, and general ups and downs of the process. But the newly passed International Adoption Simplification Act should help make the process smoother for families -- and maybe even shorten the waiting game.

Most notably, families can now have their newly adopted child vaccinated gradually once he’s home in the U.S. Previously, children from Hague Adoption Convention countries -- like India, China, Colombia and Thailand -- had to receive a series of vaccinations before entering the country. The act also increases the age restriction for adoption. In the past, kids age 16 and older couldn’t be adopted from Hague countries even if they were siblings of a previously adopted child. (It’s not unheard of for a family to learn that their child has an older sibling either late in the adoption process or after their child is home in the United States.) The new act extends the age limit to 18, which opens doors for families to adopt siblings that were left behind.

Full disclaimer: I tried to adopt internationally several years ago, but the red tape and changing laws prevented me. And I’m not alone -- lots of families have been discouraged for similar reasons. I think this new act brings some welcome changes to international adoption; the new requirements make it easier for families and also keep a child’s health, well-being and stability in mind. And after all, isn’t that what family is about?

Did you have adoption hurdles? Chime in below!

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