Experiences with international adoption may be as unique as each family themselves. In international adoptions, most of the children come from some sort of orphanage or situation in a country abroad. Their circumstances vary widely, just as they do with domestic adoptions in the states. Adopting from a different country has its own unique challenges; however, the hurdles in Utah may feel exceptionally daunting for parents considering this route to family-building.
Since 2008, the number of international adoptions completed in the United States has been on the decline. That’s right around the time when the Hague Convention was fully implemented, causing a lot more paperwork to be necessary to complete international adoptions. Utah has seen this as well.
In Utah during 2017, there were four agencies accredited to handle overseas adoptions. By September, one of them had lost its accreditation status and shut down, leaving three agencies to serve the state. As the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption and Child Abduction became fully realized in the United States, smaller agencies have found themselves scrambling to stay afloat as adoption processes got longer and longer and required more and more paperwork. The Hague Convention is designed to protect adoption from becoming human trafficking and to implement a system that is uniform and transparent in its intentions.
The cost of keeping accreditation and the elongated adoption process has caused many smaller agencies to close their doors. Many children from these agencies were adopted from Ethiopia, Russia, South Korea, and Ukraine. However, Russia and Ethiopia have not yet joined the Hague Convention.
All politics aside, readoption in Utah may be in the best interest of a family adopting internationally through one of the accredited agencies. The adoption must be registered with the state. In order to be accepted by the court, parents must be able to prove the place and date of the child’s birth. (For a child coming from an orphanage overseas, this may be extremely challenging). If these cannot be proved, the adopting parents may petition the court for an order to establish date and place of birth.
While international adoption in Utah may be fraught with its own hurdles, the call for a family can come from anywhere. All adopting parents learn that advocating for the family must be the first priority. If bringing a child home from overseas is your calling, pack your patience, and be prepared to advocate.