Adoption Choices: Why International Adoption?

I’ve received some questions about why we chose what we chose when we decided to adopt.  The number of decisions you have to make in the adoption world is borderline insane.  As Mr. MPB and I are very practical and pragmatic, each decision was made with countless hours of thought and analysis.   I plan to write about each of these decisions as independent posts in the coming days.  Please note that I have no intention of defending our decisions, instead I am just stating the basics of the decisions we made.  Others trying to grow their families are likely to make different decisions in respect to adoption, IVF treatments, number of losses and even good old fashioned sex positions.  I fully respect that there are many paths to building a family.  This is our path and I’m proud of the decisions we’ve made out of love and respect for all involved in our family.

So, the three big possible decisions we were faced with early in the adoption process were:

  • Open vs Closed
  • Infant vs Older Child
  • International vs Domestic

These decisions have to be made very early in the process as you have to select which agency you will use, and depending on each choice, your agency/process change.  It’s complicated to say the least.  An example is that all foster adoptions are closed so, if you want an open adoption you have to choose a different agency.  Another example is that almost all open adoptions are infant, so if you want to adopt an older child the open adoption system wouldn’t be for you.

Anyways, the choices we made were:

  • Open
  • Infant
  • International

As Canadians the combination of our decisions mean that our only choice country was/is the United States.

So, why did we choose to adopt from the USA and not within Canada?

We have six main reasons for choosing to go to the USA

  1. Full medical report and self-report family history from birth mom.  We do not get this information if we adopt locally.  It is our understanding that we get a self-report but not the details.
  2. Drug and alcohol testing of birth mom while pregnant or of infant if it’s an instant placement.  Of course, there are no guarantees since some substances leave the system within a short time period, but it’s still a pretty good indicator.  Proof regarding substance exposure is not something we can have access to locally.
  3. Ability to say no, this match isn’t for us. While we could say no locally, it is frowned upon without sufficient reason.  In fact, it almost never happens.  We wanted the ability to not feel pressured to say yes should we have reservations for some unforseen reason.
  4. Distance.  We fully believe in open adoption, but we wanted space.  We want to be in full control of visits – when they happen, how long they last and where they happen.  Considering the international boarder that separates us, we are fairly confident that there will be no impromptu surprise visits.
  5. Respect of our privacy.  In the USA details like our home town, last names, address, exact income are all kept private.  Locally, these details are shared by our agency with multiple birth mom’s.  We were never comfortable with this level of detail being shared with more then the one who chose us.  It felt like an invasion of our privacy
  6. Time.  Infant open adoption from within the USA is typically within a year or so.  Infant open adoption locally is a minimum of 3 years. So clearly by leaving Canada we are able to drastically speed up the process.

But, here’s the catch.  While not the point of this post, something I need to mention.  By choosing open infant international adoption our costs are about 5 times higher (not including travel). And travel costs will include 2-3 weeks of living in hotels and multiple flights around the USA for us and adoption agency representatives, so that’s not going to be a cheap extra.

20150130 - Similarities between Recurrent Pregnancy Loss and Adoption2Our Canadian agency bills so far have been about $4,000 CAD. Which isn’t too bad.

When we first started this a year ago we were told international bills would be 25-40K USD + travel (34-54K CAD + travel).

We are now a year in and being provided with real bills.  Using approximate numbers only as I’ve stopped tracking to the penny, the numbers are going to add up to about 60K USD + travel ($81,000.00 CAD + travel).  This is about 50% higher then expected.  And coming up with an extra $80K + travel costs in the span of 1 year is nearly impossible for Mr. MPB and I (and probably most people for that matter).

It’s not an ideal situation, but it is what it is.  And now and we are just holding on until we stop bleeding green.

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25 Comments on “Adoption Choices: Why International Adoption?

  1. There are sooooo many decisions with adoption–people just have no idea!! Love that you’re sharing all of this info, sorry the costs aren’t what you were expecting, that’s so frustrating. Hoping and praying for the perfect placement for your family at exactly the right time (which was a month ago, I know! Forever when you’re in The Wait!!), blessings friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember when we first looked into adoption part of what scared us off was the amount of things we’d have to think through, it can be overwhelming! But, for us, the more we got into it, the easier the decisions got.
      And yes, the costs we are now facing are nothing short of unreal.


  2. This is really interesting, since we’re doing foster care within the US and, at least in our state, adoptions from the foster care system are usually open, which I have to admit I’m not super excited about, primarily because of the distance issue – our fost-adopt child is probably going to be really local, and I’ve heard horror stories of what people have had to deal with when extended families are involved.

    Other than the cost, it sounds like you are absolutely making the right decisions for yourself. And regarding the cost, this is basically the same way the medical system works here too – you can never find out the cost for something until after it’s too late to change your mind. I’m so jealous of your system in Canada!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, I had no idea that in some places foster care adoptions are open. It’s interesting how everything is slightly different between states and countries. The horror stories you mention are a large part of why we chose to go to the USA, because the distance and international border should prevent any unannounced visits. Everyone told us in the private system it wouldn’t happen, but we were still too afraid of it. I really hope you don’t end up having any horror stories in your life!


  3. Thank you for sharing, and I did a double take when I realized that by international adoption, you meant the US! I mean, duh, but it was a surprise LOL.

    We had similar expenses with surrogacy. It got to the point where we were like, “whatever…keep going. ” No other choice but to do so

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Yes, I am Canadian so adopting from the USA is considered an international adoption. Which is in large part why the costs are so high – a few agencies have the ability to do international adoptions and they have realized they can make a tonne of money off us.
      It’s funny, in part we didn’t do surrogacy because the costs were going be about $80K, and now adoption is going to be the same. But, as you say, once you are in, you’re in. I know it will be worth it in the end!


  4. Our two children were brought into our lives by adoption. Thank you for sharing your experiences along the way. 🙂


  5. It’s so very sad that it costs so much to adopt a child!! I would say most of the time, a couple that is out to adopt has already been through the wringer and that is why they’re adopting to begin with…then to slam them with such high costs, simply because they want a family, and maybe even because they want to give a child a home…just mind blowing. I know it will totally be worth it when you have that little bundle in your arms one day…but it’s kind of sickening to know what it takes to get there.
    On another note…I don’t feel like anyone has a right to judge you based on any of the decisions you’ve made along the way. You are doing what is best for your and Mr, and that means it will also be what’s best for the child you end up adopting. You know your strengths, and you know your limitations, and there’s nothing wrong with playing to those!


  6. It is great to hear about your deciding factors! I didn’t know about a lot of the differences between Canada and the US. Thanks for sharing! Hope you have great news SOON!


  7. (Ooops, don’t know what happened) we get all all the info about them including copies of their ID’s. BUT they frown upon it. And my fear would also have been about impromptu visits etc. I’m just sorry it’s so expensive. Your decisions are similar to the ones we definitely would have made too!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I can’t imagine the huge amounts of decisions that need to be made. However, it seems like you two have made the best decision for your family! And I think that’s great!! Also, I’m bummed the cost of adoption is so steep. I’m confident the funds will be available and in excess when needed! You guys are doing amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I totally get why you chose what you did. It’s unfortunate that they didn’t give you accurate numbers from the beginning though. I still hate how much it costs to realize our dreams of a baby.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow! I learned so much from this post. I didn’t realize how the local system works, but definitely see why you made the choice to go international. I can’t help it though: I thought of the Riders the second you referenced bleeding green. Haha

    Liked by 1 person

    • One key to remember is that’s how the local system works in this province. But adoption is a provincial item, so it varies between every province.
      I would rather bleed Riders green right now then USD green! haha! 🙂


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