Adoption Processes Around The World

By: Aryan Bellani

How do adoption processes differ around the world?

The meaning of family has changed vastly over the last few centuries. One of the reasons for this is because of the ever growing trend of adoption. Adoption is the process of transferring all legal rights regarding a child from one family to another. Children who are adopted receive the same benefits as biological children. However, the adoption processes around the world differ greatly and are often misunderstood within different countries.

Local Adoption processes

Adoption in Hong Kong is something that is growing every day. This can be seen from a recent a statistic provided by Hong Kong's welfare department from December 2015. The statistic showed that adoption by local homes was responsible for 183 out of 203 adoption applications. Meanwhile, adoption by overseas families and privately arranged adoptions were responsible for a mere 30 applications.


The process of adoption in Hong Kong is one of the easiest in the world. This is because of the three main NGO's who have been approved by the Social Welfare Department of Hong Kong. Another reason that adoption in Hong Kong is easy is because of the few simple steps that you will need to take. The first step that you need to take is to contact one of the NGO's. This will allow the organisation that you have chosen to make sure that you follow all of the required rules. These rules state that the applicant should:


  1. Be over the age of 25 years old.
  2. Be physically and mentally fit to raise a child until they are of an age in which they have the capacity to take care of themselves.
  3. Have an adequate education.
  4. Be married for at least 3 years.
  5. Receive a consistent sum of money that is enough to provide for the child. (Minimum of 30,000 annually)
  6. Must have lived in Hong Kong for a period of over 12 months and have plans to continue to do so for the course of another 24 months.
  7. Have no previous criminal record.


Once you have been familiarised with the organisation you have chosen, the adoption process is started. During the process, you are required to have your home approved by the Welfare department. This will determine if it is a safe place to raise a child. You will also be asked questions surrounding your preference of gender, race, nationality and if you are willing to adopt a child with special needs. After being matched with a child, he/she will be placed in your care for the duration of around 6 months. This 6 months will include regular visits and interviews in which an adoption order is granted.

National Adoption processes

Adoption in China is thought to have one of the most stable and established adoption systems in the world. This is due to the efforts that have been made by the CCCWA (China Centre for Children's Welfare and Adoption) over the course of more than 20 years. Some of the reasons that China is thought to hold one of the best adoption processes are because children who have special needs have priority. This is in an effort to secure a permanent home in which the children can be looked after by a dedicated group of people. Another reason that the process is successful because of the affordable pricing.

The first step of the adoption process in China is to make sure that you are legible to adopt a child. You can do this by making sure that you:


  1. Have been married for at least 2 years. (Unless Single)
  2. Are within the age of 30 and 55 years old.
  3. Have an education that is at a high school level or above.
  4. Have a combined income that totals more than $10,000 per person, including the adopted child.
  5. Have a net worth of $80,000 or more.
  6. Have no more than 5 children under the age of 18 years old in your home.
  7. Have no criminal record.
  8. Should be physically and mentally capable of raising a child.
  9. Have an adequate medical insurance.


The next step that you will need to take is to contact an adoption agency that has been approved by the CCCWA and the Hague Convention. It is recommended that you work with an agency that has been referred by a successful adoption family. This will allow you to receive support at any time. After this, you may file for an adoption application. The adoption application in China requires participants to take place in a house check. This check will allow authorities to determine whether your home is a safe place to take care of a child. The next step in adopting a child in China would be to attend several parenting workshops. This is to make sure that you know what you are doing in times of need. The last step in the adoption process is obtaining a match. This process is known to take differing amounts of time. However, after you have been matched with a child you will have a chance to meet them and get to spend time with one another. This process will allow the child to get to know you and gain trust. After this period, you will be allowed to file for any of the required legal documents. Once this is done you are finally granted the right to lawfully adopt you child.

Global adoption processes

America

Adoption in America is very popular. It is something that is seen on a daily basis. This is because of the constant availability of children who have been put up for adoption by people who have accidentally gotten pregnant, people who are thought to be incapable of raising a child and people who are convicted felons. These are just a few reasons why there are so many children in the custody of the United States government, therefore, making adoption so popular in the US.


The first step in adopting a child in America would be to contact an adoption agency. Some of the most popular agencies in America include American Adoptions, Heart to Heart and AdopUSkids. The next step in the adoption process is to attend adoption orientation meetings from as many agencies as you like. Attending these meetings will provide you with the agencies terms and conditions, more information on the adoption process as well as provide an application form that can be returned along with an application fee to get started. After the agency that you have chosen has reviewed your application, you will need to complete a mandatory home study. The home study will consist of a meeting with a social worker as well as a full background check. The next step in the process is to wait. Waiting is a big part of the process as the agency's task of matching you with a child that is right for you can be challenging. This is the reason why most adoptions are spread across the span of over a year. The adoption is almost completed after the child has been in your home across the period of over 6 months. After this time period, the adoption is finalized by transferring all legal rights and responsibilities to the adopting party.



United Kingdom

Adoption in the UK is something that is becoming increasingly well known. Adoption in the UK is also very popular because of the few restrictions that the government poses. These restrictions are:


  1. You must be above the age of 21 years old.
  2. You should be of good physical and mental health.
  3. You must have a place to stay.
  4. You must have the financial backing to allow you and your child to enjoy economic well-being.


The first step in adopting a child in the UK would be to contact and submit an application form to a registered child adoption agency. After you have done this, you will need to take part in a background check. This will allow the agency to certify that you are capable of raising a child. After this, you will have to attend regular meetings with a social worker in order to assess you strengths. After this process, you will have to work together with you agency as well as the local authorities in an attempt to match a child to your lifestyle. This is something that takes a long period of time and requires your full commitment. Once your match has been made, you are allowed to spend time with the child and get to know them through the support of social workers. After a few visits, the child is allowed to move in permanently. Once you have gotten into a routine and have everything sorted out you can go to court and claim the rights to become their legal parent.

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Comparisons

Adoption around the world is becoming an increasingly popular way or resolving issues such as infertility and menopause. This is the reason in which I think that most of the adoption systems that can be found around the world are so similar. An example of this would be how the age limit in most places require you to over the ages of 20-30 years old. I think that this is because the countries in question are developed and usually have good relations with each other. I also feel like this is a good age limit as it allows agencies to be confident in knowing that the children will be raised properly. Another thing that is similar is that most countries require adoption applicants to have a background check. I think that this is important in making sure that the child will be safe when in the care of the adoptive parent(s). However, something that is different in the adoption processes around the world would be the fact that some countries only allow people who are in relationships to adopt children. Meanwhile, other countries allow people who are single to adopt a child. Another difference that I thought was interesting was the price that people have to pay to adopt children. I think this is interesting because some countries only require you to pay the court fees while other require you to pay a base application fee. This is something that I find interesting as it means that some of the agencies in question are making money from "selling" children.

HOW DO THE DIFFERENT ADOPTION PROCESSES AFFECT PEOPLE?

Adoption Applicants:

I think that the different adoption processes have affected the people who have applied for adoption around the world because some countries have more requirements than others. This affects people as it limits which kind of people can adopt from certain places. Another way that the adoption processes have affected people is through the differing wait times. This is something that affects people, as most people have jobs and will have to take time out of their day to constantly be on the alert in case something happens.


Children:

I think that the different adoption processes have affected the children who are being adopted as some of the adoption processes don't allow children to meet their new parents before being adopted. Another way that children are being affected is through having no choice but to sever any connection between their birth parents (in cases of mental illness etc.).

Improvements

I think that the adoption systems that exist today could be improved by allowing adoption agencies from different countries to work together. This would be beneficial as it would allow a more diverse choice of children to be adopted all over the world. One example of this would be, if an American couple wanted to adopt a child from America but lived in China. This is a problem as most international adoptions take more than a year to be completed.



Something else that could be improved in the different adoption systems is the fact that most children do not get a say in which type of family they would like to live with. This is something that I believe could be a problem as the children may not be happy with the people who have adopted them.

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Conclusion

Adoption is something that is ever growing. With more and more people settling for adoption, the problem with homelessness, poverty, and even abuse is being put to an end. However, the adoption processes that are required to adopt children are constantly changing, taking effect on people and needs to be improved. Despite this, I think that the adoption systems that are currently being used all over the world are a good thing. This is because they have changed the lives of so many people. Most importantly, the adoptive children find caring and loving homes.