These new families are almost always beneficial to the child being adopted and the parents adopting, forming loving bonds between the parents and child, rooted in compassion. However, there are many implications when adopting inter-culturally– things prospective adoptive parents and parents who have already adopted children can be sensitive to in order to make the most compassionate choices and to make the self-understanding of their adopted child as natural as possible.
When a child is adopted from an overseas orphanage, they are sometimes being rescued from poor situations. Many international orphanages are understaffed or underfunded. The children who are adopted from these orphanages are the lucky ones, moving on to families who can adequately love and care for them. However, rescuing one child at a time is like patching a leak in a ceiling that’s flooding. It is life-changing for an individual but does nothing to help alter the social system that creates and cannot support these orphans. The dedication, self-sacrifice, and financial stability often found in adoptive parents make them candidates to look at the big picture and help support whole orphanages and communities– perhaps in addition to adopting a child of their own.
When they do adopt, the child they take into their home is given the gifts of love and opportunity. However, in exchange the children do not grow up in their own culture. How this does or does not affect the child’s mentality and the mentality of the community they are being adopted out of varies greatly by situation. Still, adoptive parents may want to consider educating their child in the culture or language of the country from which they are adopted.
Finally, prospective parents may want to consider whether they want to adopt before or after having their own children, if they plan to have biological children as well as to adopt. Many families, after having a child or two of their own, decide to adopt the youngest member of their family. On the other hand, some couples choose to adopt a child first, before having any children of their own, so that the adopted child never feels like an afterthought or a way to fill a void, such as providing parents who have only boys biologically the chance to parent a girl.
All adoptions are different and the considerations of each set of adoptive parents vary. The most important factor is that parents who have adopted or are looking to adopt think carefully about the important decisions they make that affect not only their lives but the life of the lucky child who gets to become part of their family.