International Adoption

With the advent of the internet and mass media coverage on adoption, thousands of families have chosen to cross geographic borders, oceans, and continents to find children for adoption in another country. Over the past few years, thousands of “‘orphans” from other countries have joined their forever homes in the United States.

1. What countries offer international adoption?

It should be noted that every country does not offer international adoption of their “orphaned” children. In the past two decades, international adoptions have primarily originated from Latin American, Asia, Eastern Europe and most recently Africa.  For a listing of countries that offer international adoptions, contact the United States State  Department in Washington, DC or their web site.

2. What is the process for international adoption?

The first step in deciding on an international adoption is to decide what country the family will be adopting from.  After the country is picked, the next step is to select a reputable agency with a program in the selected country.  The agency will refer the family to a home study resource. The family will also complete the Immigration and Naturalization Service form 1-600-A  or I-800-A for submission, based on if the selected country is a member of the Hague Compact. After the home study and INS forms are finished, the family will complete a country-specific dossier. Once all the proper forms are completed, the family will receive a referral from the country. The family will then travel to the placing country to meet their child, and more than likely, finalize the adoption in the foreign country. (Korea and India are two exceptions.) The family will return to the United States after finalization.  Most foreign countries require post placements supervisory reports for their children adopted abroad. These post placements may range from six months to a period of three years.

3. How long does it take for an international adoption?

     The time required for an international adoption varies from 12 months to eight years. The time period is longer in countries that have an imposed waiting list of parents who must matriculate to the top of the waiting list.  In addition, countries may, from time to time, impose moratoriums that affect the waiting time for adoptions.

4. What are the costs of an intentional adoption?

The costs of an international adoption can range from $20, 0000- $40,000+, depending on the country and agency selected. It is important for families to remember that there are costs for the adoption such as travel, INS forms, lodging, and processing fees that may not be reflected in the agency and in-country fees. Families should be aware of employee reimbursement programs as well as tax credits, such as the Hope for the Children tax credit.

5. Where can I find out added information about international adoption?

To find out additional information about international adoption log onto any of these web sites:

  • www.travel.state.gov/family/adoption.html- Department of State, country-specific information on international adoptions
  • www.ins.usdoj.gov – Immigration and Naturalization Services web site
  • www.fwcc.org – Families With Children From China
  • www.frua.org – Families from Russian and Ukraine
  • www.eeadopt.org – Eastern European Adoption Coalition
  • www.fevn.org – Families with Children from Vietnam
  • www.ichild.org – Families with Children from India
  • www.lapa.com – Families with Children from Latin America