It’s no secret that adoption does not happen overnight. Between the search for a perfect match, interviews, ensuring all legal matters are addressed, and more, it can be an anxious time for parents-in-waiting.

And on top of that, sometimes there are delays. To better prepare yourself for such delays, it’s good to understand why they happen. Here are some (though certainly not all) of the most common issues that can hold up the international adoption process:

Documents and the Dossier Process

It should come as no surprise that the adoption process involves a wealth of paperwork. Collecting documents, verifying them, filling out other documents, waiting for yet other documents to be reviewed and/or approved – it’s a complex machine at work. All of this is to protect the best interests of the child, so it’s complex for a reason, but it also means that you might experience unexpected delays thanks to all that is involved.

Waiting for a Match/Referral

Though waiting through this process might make you anxious, it’s not a period you’ll want to rush through. There may be delays in waiting for a match or referral, and these delays can set your expected time until you have a family back further than you’d like. Consider this, though: isn’t getting the right match more important than matching you up as quickly as possible?

Waiting for USCIS Approvals

The USCIS, or United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, is a component of the Department of Homeland Security. It should go without saying that when government is involved, bureaucratic red tape can cause snags. The good news is that the USCIS’s efforts are for a good purpose. Their goal is to ensure families have the financial means to provide a permanent home for a child, as well as to ensure they are prepared to parent a child who may have varying emotional or medical needs.

Adoption Cost, Additional Expenses

Make no mistake, adoption costs money. It’s no different than expanding your family by birth in that regard – and much like expanding your family by birth, unexpected expenses can arise. No matter how good your planning, a sudden and unexpected expense can set the adoption process back. Being prepared can help get you back on track quickly.

Travel (Time and Cost)

When pursing an international adoption, expect there to be travel involved. In some cases, travel may even be mandated in order for your adoption to be approved. As you can imagine, traveling internationally can sometimes mean unexpected delays, dealing with a country’s quirky travel regulations, or expenses you did not plan for. All can play a role in delaying the adoption process.

Waiting For Court Dates, Appeal Period

Anyone who has ever had to go through the court system knows that more times than not, it’s a waiting game. The court’s role in the adoption process is no different.

Family Situations/Emergency

The world does not stop just because you’re in the midst of the adoption process. Emergencies and family situations can set things behind. The same can hold true on the other side of the process. The fact that a child is available for adoption does not mean they have no family at all or are immune to emergency situations. Life can be complex, and these complexities can sometimes cause bumps in the road towards expanding your family.

Changing Adoption Laws and Regulations

International adoption is regulated on both sides of the border/ocean by a vast tapestry of laws, rules, and regulations. These are designed to protect the best interests of the child, and as such they often change and evolve with time as governing agencies explore new ways to make the process safer, more ethical, and more effective. These changes can mean delays for you if they happen while your adoption is in motion. Be patient and understand that as frustrating as these changes might be, they are intended to protect the child you are welcoming into your life.