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17 Shocking Things Everyone Should Know About Adoption

You must have a certain BMI to adopt from Korea. What the what?!

1. It takes about 3 years and costs around $30,000 to adopt a child internationally.

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"In many states, we can determine that someone is eligible to buy a gun in less than 4 hours," Craig Juntunen—founder and CEO of the global advocacy organization Both Ends Burning and executive producer of the documentary STUCK—told BuzzFeed Life. "But during the 3 years that an adoptive family is being proven eligible, the adoptive child is losing developmental days that they will never get back."

2. During an international adoption, the first thing that happens is you get matched with your child.

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Now that you have gotten attached to your adoptive child, the process begins. "This means that sometimes your child is waiting for years before you can actually take them home," Juntunen says.

3. Your house has to be fully baby-proofed before the ball gets rolling.

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For example: If you give birth to your child biologically, an official will not come to your house to ensure that you have a pool fence. But if you adopt, a social worker will make sure that your entire home is baby-proofed before you bring the baby home. "There's an element of mistrust in the adoption process, but when someone is born biologically we just assume that everything is fine," Juntunen says.

4. The rate of adopted children has been dropping ever since 2004.

And it's not because there are fewer children up for adoption. In 2013, there were 7,092 worldwide adoptions. "The 2014 numbers arent out yet," international adoption attorney and director of outreach and advocacy for Both Ends Burning Kelly Dempsey told BuzzFeed Life. "But I anticipate lower numbers for this past year—maybe around 5,000 successful adoptions."

5. In domestic adoption, you may pay less to adopt a black child than you would to adopt a white child.

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With domestic adoption, it typically costs more to adopt a girl than boy, according to Dempsey. It may also cost a lot more to adopt a white child because there are fewer of them in the system. "Usually, the hardest placed children are black boys," says Dempsey.

6. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, adoptive children were rushed to their prospective families.

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A humanitarian parole policy expedited in-process adoptions to get orphaned children to their adoptive families as quickly as possible. Some of the children were flown in on helicopters where their adoptive parents were waiting.

7. Gay couples can't adopt in Utah or Mississippi.

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"Federal law is silent on homosexuals adopting children, and adoption laws vary from state to state," attorney Matthew Izzi told Legal Match. "However, Utah and Mississippi courts enforce actual bans on adoption by gay people."

8. You have to have a BMI under 35 to adopt from Korea.

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And if either you or your spouse has a BMI in the range of 30-35, you have to obtain a medical letter after applying for adoption, according to Holt International Children's Services.

9. Russia stopped adopting children to the U.S. two years ago.

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"It was political backlash to a bipartisan bill that America passed called The Magnitsky Act," Dempsey says. The bill had nothing to do with adoption, but countries often shift their adoption policies depending on their political standings with a particular country.

10. Korean birth mothers must wait seven days before considering adoption.

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"In 2012, the Korean National Assembly implemented the Special Adoption Law that explicitly discourages sending children abroad," according to CNN. Under the law, birth mothers must wait seven days before relinquishing the child. If a mother chooses adoption, her consent must be verified and her child's birth registered. Finally, a mother may choose to revoke the adoption up to six months after her application.

11. Single parents can't adopt from Thailand or Mongolia.

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Another requirement for Thailand: You can't already have more than one child in the home and that child must be at least 18 months old, according to Holt International.

12. LGBT couples can't adopt from Kenya.

"In Kenya, an applicant who is of 'unsound mind, has been charged or convicted of an offence by a court of competent jurisdiction, or is a homosexual' is barred from adoption," according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

13. There are a lot of feelings on whether white parents should adopt black children.

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The National Association of Black Social Workers is adamantly opposed to transracial adoptions, according to The Encyclopedia of Adoption by Christine A. Adamec and Laurie C. Miller. "Those who disapprove of white parents adopting black children believe that white parents cannot truly understand black children, that children will be deprived of their heritage, and that their development will be harmed," Adamec and Miller write in the book. "Supporters of transracial adoption when suitable black adoptive families cannot be identified cite longitudinal studies that indicate black children raised by white parents are generally well-adjusted."

14. Families are currently unable to take their adoptive children home from the Congo.

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"We have about 1,000 American families that have either adopted or are in the process of adopting children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but we can't get clearance for the kids to leave the country," Dempsey says. "We don't know why. We had about a dozen children die during this process. Right now, families are moving to the Congo to raise the children they've adopted"

15. Some birth mothers seek out adoptive parents on their own.

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Some birth mothers will use the Internet and social media (and not an agency) to find adoptive parents, according to Illinois adoption attorney Kathleen Hogan Morrison. A mother might make a group on Facebook or find an adoption forum to make a match.

16. Caretakers are outnumbered at most international orphanages.

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"While filming Stuck, we visited over 30 orphanages," Juntunen says. "And every time we walked through the door, the children would run to us with their arms open—they wanted to be picked up and held. Sometimes there's maybe 4 caregivers to every 85 or 100 kids."

17. Some countries see adoption as an industry.

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"About 15 to 20 years ago, an international adoption cost between $3,000 and $5,000," says Dempsey. "But over time people were willing to pay more, so countries started to add various fees to the process."

We need to fight for our children!

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Millions of children are orphaned every year (the number is so high and changes with such rapidity that it's hard for government organizations to even keep track). There are other options for adoption (like through foster care or the adoption of a family member) and each process yields a beautiful and unique family. It's important to all of us that these children find good homes. Their lives matter.

Pass it on.

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