Adopting a Child vs. Sponsoring a Child

Believe it or not, I get this question asked to me quite frequently.  “Is it better to adopt a child and take them away from what they know or sponsor a child and help them to thrive in their own country?”

This is my perspective on the question, based on 16 years of operating an international orphan aid charity as well as 5 years of operating an adoption agency that focused on international adoption and 16 years of adoption consulting.  And, yes, some personal experience as well, since I adopted internationally myself 16 years ago.

Growing up in a family with parents, perhaps siblings and extended family gives the child the best case scenario for experiencing personal love and bonding and the ability to express the same back to the family.  Children in families are safer and their needs are met in a more personal manner as they receive individualized attention.

The hard part for the child, is being taken away from everything that is familiar to them.  Culture, community, language, extended family, friends etc.   It can take years for the child to adjust, although the younger they are at time of placement, the sooner they adapt into their new life.

Growing up in a family style children’s home (orphanage) is better than being on the streets, or living with parents/family who are ill, abusive or non existent in the home.  Family style children’s homes are much like our youth group homes here in the USA. At least the ones supported by our parent organization are.  These children receive everything they need as we would give our own children, within their culture.  Although they do lack the individualized love and bonding that comes from an actualized family, we are seeing these children grow into loving, caring young adults who desire to seek careers that give back and help their communities, especially the other orphans.

The true answer to the question lies within you.  If you have a desire to parent and raise children through adoption then that is what you should do!  If you are unsure if the commitment of adopting a child into your family and life is for you, then sponsoring is the best option for you!

Feel free to contact me for a free, private consultation on adoption and/or sponsoring options.


me 2Laurie Timmons, Co-Founder

Why does it take so long to adopt Internationally?

We are asked this question a lot and rightly so.  It does not seem fair to the children or adopting families that the adoption process should be so hard, cost so much and take so darned long.

Unfortunately there is no “simple” answer to the question.  Yet, there are answers.  Some are general to the world of adoption and some are unique to the country, process or other.

The clock starts with you…

How long it takes you to have your Home Study completed, US Immigration Approval, and all legal, notarized and apostilled documents to your Placing Agency factors in the length of your overall adoption.  Now, I say that, but.  You could hustle and have it all done and sent in 4 months and then wait…years, or not.

Back in my day…

I adopted in 2000, from Russia, the other side of the world,  right around the beginning of the International Adoption boom. My process took just a little over a year from start to finish.  Not bad eh?  We were the last family to squeeze into court in Far East Russia, just before a several month moratorium.  Other families who were there at the same time, went home, with no children and waited.

Moratoriums (or “holds”) are put on International Adoption processes either by the foreign country the child resides in our by US Immigration and has to do with changes in policies, or working to adhere to correct policies.  These moratoriums can last 6 months or years and years.

In 2000 Russia put on a moratorium on foreign adoptions while they worked to gain control of the many (hundreds) of foreign adoption agencies and independent professionals, hiring local “facilitators” who connected them with orphaned, adoptable children for their 1,000’s of waiting adopting parents.  Russia decided that all foreign placing entities needed accreditation by them and they did not make it easy.  This lasted several months and placements resumed but would be problematic between both Russia and US until the final halt of foreign adoptions by Russia altogether.

I have seen it all by now…

During my time as the founder of Lifeline of Hope Adoptions, I saw many foreign adoption programs go on hold, moratorium or stop altogether.  Oh how excited we would be when a “new” program opened up!

And then it would halt.

Most times, it boils down to appropriate background status and/or documentation on the children themselves.  Unfortunately, foreign adoptions brought economy into impoverished areas of the world and children became commodities.  Like anything good, there is also a bad. When the bad is exposed, like falsified documents, which constitutes as trafficking, US Immigration will put a screeching halt on the process until balance is restored.  This balance may mean, policies and procedures that is not a priority for the foreign officials. Some will close altogether, some will revamp the system and then have a backlog of court dates. We saw this with China, Guatemala, Ethiopia and now Haiti, Uganda and Congo.  I do not disagree with this mind you and feel terribly sorry for the families affected by unethical placement procedures.

Hope for sunshine but take an umbrella…

Just like credit and loans were so easy to obtain a few years back, so was foreign adoption as easy as 18 months.  Well, balance has to be in place for anything to thrive and be healthy.

We now know, without a doubt, most foreign adoptions are going to take about 2 years, maybe longer and if we are able to actually complete the process sooner then we can celebrate that and just be happy that we have given at least one more orphaned child a loving home.

With a little perseverance and a whole lot of faith, foreign adoptions are still happening and little ones are being brought home every day!

Contact us for a free adoption consultation.


Laurie Timmons

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