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Preparing Families for International Adoption

By Dr. Victor Groza and Daniela F. Ileana

General Adoption Issues

Preparation is an important part of the adoption process. At a minimum, parents should either receive training, or, in the event the agency facilitating the adoption does not provide training, attend seminars, or read books in the following areas:

· details on the legal and social process of adoption in the United States and abroad;

· issues of abandonment, separation, grief, loss and mourning for adoptees that are evident throughout the life cycle;

· issues of separation, grief, loss and mourning for infertile couples that are evident throughout the life cycle;

· the adoptive family’s life cycle and unique issues in family formation;

· individual and family identity development in adoption;

· unique issues of attachment in adoption;

· outcomes and risks in international adoptions; and

· dealing with unresolved infertility issues.

Financial Issues

Social workers should explore the following financial issues with families as they make their decisions to adopt. Adoptive families should:

· make sure they understand the fees they are being charged and how the fees are determined;

· know that they have the right to question any item or charge that they are incurring;

· determine whether they are responsible for traveling costs and arrangements in a host country, plus any additional fees they might be required to pay once they leave the United States;

· assess if their adoption agencies will pay for needed services after the children are placed in their homes and the adoptions are legalized;

· discern what expenses they will be responsible for if they are not approved to adopt children, or information is included in a home study that would disqualify them in their country of choice in adopting; and

· negotiate what expenses they will be responsible for in the event they change their minds about adopting or change their minds about a child chosen for them if they do not believe an appropriate match has been made.

Medical Care

Parents need to deal with the following issues:

· recognize that medical information received about children from developing countries is often inaccurate;

· obtain as much information as possible from the country of origin before placement;

· schedule a complete medical assessment by qualified U.S. medical personnel once the child is placed in the United States;

· gain a thorough understanding of health insurance coverage and be certain they have written documentation of coverage for the health problems or care of their adoptive children; and

· understand the medical issues they might face.

Dr. Victor Groza is an Associate Professor and the Interim Associate Dean for Reseach and Training at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. He is a prolific author and editor in the field of adoption studies; four books and over 40 professional articles are in publication. His website is
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