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This is where fact and fiction separate. Most people, regardless of divorce, being single, large families, etc. can adopt a child internationally.  Let's cover the basics:

Q : Who is it that decides who can adopt?
A : Sometimes it's the adoption agency....some only work with people of a certain religion, or married people, or people under a certain age.  But most of the time, and with most agencies, it is each individual country government that sets the exact criteria for her who can adopt their children. See Country Guidelines.

Q : Who CAN'T adopt?
A: No one who has been convicted or in some cases even officially accused of child abuse/neglect can adopt.  There is also no country that allows homosexuals to adopt, though some people in  homosexual relationships do adopt as "singles."  

Q : Do I/We need to own a home in order to qualify for international adoption?
A : No. If you are renting an apartment, condominium or house, you absolutely qualify.

Q : What about our income? Do we have to make a certain amount of money in order to qualify?
A : The  U.S Government requires families to make a minimum of $25,000 per year. How you manage your finances is much more important than how much you make. Do you live above your means? Are you taking in less than is going out on a monthly basis? This would not look good. Some programs do require that a family income is $30,000 per year.   Every American is rich in the eyes of some countries.

Q : We don't have all the money that it will take to complete an international adoption. Can we take out a loan?
A : Absolutely. Say you borrow $10,000 and want to pay it off over 48 months. You would be making monthly payments of around $230.00. Can you afford that? There are many ways of financing your adoption. Throughout RainbowKids.com you will find numerous articles that deal with financing your adoption, employer benefits, and the IRS $10,000 tax benefit.

Q: How much does the international adoption process cost?
A: Less than buying a new car, more than you want to spend. Yes, it is expensive to pay the government and agency fees and for travel to another country (or escorting the child from the country). 
      Each country has different fees, meaning the process can run anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000.  Overwhelming?  YES, but only at first!   Many, many, people are simple, middle class folks, just like you and me.  Some are single women and men who are teachers, accountants, business owners.  Lots of people (including me) have taken out personal loans for part of the fees, and paid the rest as they went along in the process.  ALL of the money is NOT due at one time.  I know of many families who save as much as possible for one year, then begin the process, knowing it will take another year to get together all the paperwork and complete the adoption. You CAN do this!  The end result is a child....a loving, precious human being who is beyond all price....who calls you "mama" or "daddy".

Q : Will we get to choose the sex of our child?
A : Maybe. Some countries have more children available of one sex than another. Sometimes you will "choose" a child from a waiting child list that your agency has. Sometimes when you already have a child of one sex, you will be allowed to request a child of the opposite sex. Knowing this now can help you to choose a country to work with, and give you questions to ask of an agency you are thinking of working with.  Most of the time, however, you will be able to request the sex of your child.

Q : My boyfriend/girlfriend and I have been together for years and now we wish to adopt. Can unmarried couples adopt internationally?
A : In most cases: No. I realize this comes as a shock to many, but the laws and morals of other countries do not match those in the U.S. At the time of this writing, Single women and couples may easily adopt from most countries. Single men from a very few. If you are "living with" another person, it will be revealed in your homestudy and there is a very good chance that other countries will not accept you as an applicant. Your adoption agency can best guide you with this.

Q : Can the birthmother come back and "claim" the child after we have adopted?
A: No.  Every child who is in an international adoption program has been through a legal "termination of rights".  All countries, when a child enters their program, attempt to find the birthparents, or else the birthparents formally terminate their rights.  In the end, the child is legally free for adoption and is 100% yours at the time of adoption.

Q : How long does it take to adopt a child from another country?
A : The short answer is this: Anywhere from 7 months to 18 months, on the average. It depends on which country you choose to work with, which agency you choose, how fast you personally gather your documents together. How dedicated you are to getting this adoption done in a timely matter. Yes, many things will be beyond your control. However, a couple of good tips are these: File with USCIS immediately ! Request form I 600A , fill it out, attach copies of your birth, marriage, divorce certificates, plus the fee ($405.00) and send it in. USCIS tells you this orphan petition will take 30-60 days. Hmmmm.  In most cases, you need this approval before you can petition a foreign country to adopt.
Get your home study going! More about this later, but if you've made the decision to adopt internationally, this should be your next step.

Q: Can single women/men adopt?
A: YES!  Many countries encourage singles to adopt.

Q : I/We have been through infertility treatments. I/We don't want to disappointed again. Can this really happen for us/me?
A : Yes! If you have reached the point that you have decided that you can love and parent an adopted child as your very own, then International Adoption is the answer to your dreams. Can things go wrong? Yes. However, if you choose a dependable agency, and a program that has a low risk factor, you will significantly lower the risk. Many agencies have never had a referral fall through, because they do their homework, and they deal with reliable countries.  Our family (at the time of this writing) has adopted 5 children.  Use your head, go with a
good agency, a country that has been placing children for a number of years, and you should have very little turbulence.

Q: Is there financial assistance for people wishing to adopt internationally?
A:   I saved the best for last, because this really is the #1 question I get emailed on a regular basis.  Before I answer, please visit our finances area, to learn how to make adoption an affordable adoption. Often, I am told things like, "those poor orphans should just be free" or, "we used up all our money on infertility treatments".  

My comment for the first question is this: kids don't have a price tag.  You are not buying a child. The process costs money in fees to our government and fees to the government of the country you are adopting from, and the agency helping you.  

I really do not have an answer for #2.....it doesn't make sense to use up your financial resources  on a procedure with no guarantee, and then want someone to give you money when you choose to adopt.  Adoption and giving birth are equal. They produce a child to love and cherish, period. That said, there are agencies that are doing humanitarian work and desperately try to place special needs children.  They often waive their fees, and do everything possible to help a special child come home to a family.  There are programs that are much cheaper than others.  The US government offers a $10,000 tax credit to families that adopt.

 MOST families who adopt internationally either take out a loan or save money, or fundraise, get an extra job, etc.  However, some agencies do have grants that they give to families who wish to adopt a sibling group or special needs child.  

My sincere best wishes to all of you as you begin this journey.

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