International Adoption

There are many countries that are open to International Adoption.  Children are available from infant through 16 years old and

are from a variety of cultures and races and range from healthy with only minor medical issues to very special needs.  Most  children reside in orphanages, although some countries do have foster programs established.  Children are only available for  adoption after their parents rights have been terminated and they have been declared an orphaned child. 

In most foreign  countries adoptions are Closed, with no ongoing communication with child’s birth family.



General International Adoption Process:

 1.  Identify an International Adoption Agency:  This agency will help you select a country to adopt from and inform you of current adoption laws for  that country.  You can typically use any International Adoption Agency in the U.S.A.  Some foreign governments do require International Agencies to ONLY  place children with families in states that they are licensed in.

2.  Complete a Home Study:  You will need a Home Study conducted and approved by a Licensed Child Placing Agency or Social Worker in your state.  If your International adoption Agency is in your state they will usually conduct this for you.  The Home Study will make sure you meet your state, federal and foreign adoption requirements as well as provide you with adoption education and parenting resources.

3.  Complete a Dossier:  The Dossier is your background documentation for court.  In a foriegn adoption there will be many copies of financial evidence, health documents, personal documentation, criminal background checks etc. that are required for the foreign court and immigration.  Your International Adoption Agency will guide you through this.

4.  Identify a Child:  Your International Adoption Agency will work with the foreign country to match you with a child and handle the necessary documentation to Petition to Adopt that child.

5.  Adopt the Child:  In some foreign adoption programs, you will only travel to the foreign country to go to court for Final Adoption Decree and bring the child home to the U.S.A.  Some foreign adoption programs require that you travel to meet the child and file the Petition to Adopt and then travel back again for Final Adoption Decree.  Some foreign adoption programs allow for the child to be escorted to an immigration city in the U.S.A.

6.  Post Placement:  You will need Post Placement Reports conducted by a Licensed Placing Agency or Social Worker that will be submitted to the foreign country.  Some foreign programs only require 2 reports, while some require reports annually until the child is 18 years of age.


In an international adoption, parents will pay fees for services to a variety of entities to meet the requirements to adopt according to their state of residence, U.S Immigration and foreign court laws.  Families will also have to pay fees for Home Study, document authentication, international placing agency facilitation and travel and lodging expenses to the foreign country.  The average total cost for an international adoption is between $20,000-$40,000.


The time frame from agency application to final adoption of a child varies greatly and changes frequently and depends mostly on how quickly adopting parents complete their Home Study and Dossier documents.  However, the foreign governments efficiency in processing international adoptions also severely affects the total time frame.  Some families have achieved final placement within 10 months of initial agency contact while others have experienced up to 3 years before final placement.


There are many things to consider in an international adoption.  The more open adopting parents are to age, cultural backgrounds and health issues, the smoother the process will go.  Adopting parents also need to understand that a foreign government can put a hold or moratorium on international adoptions at any time without any warning.  In these cases the International Placing Agency will present the adopting parents with other program options.