Adoption is a life-changing decision and one that people enter with great thought and care. The adoption process presents a number of obstacles and options. There are many things to consider. One of the big questions is whether to seek a domestic adoption or pursue an international adoption. Before you even begin the licensing process for adoption, understand all of your options.
To adopt a child, there are things you’ll have to do no matter where the child comes from. The U.S State Department notes that a prospective adoptive parent must be a U.S. citizen, and that a married couple must jointly adopt the child. A single person must be at least 25 years of age to adopt. To qualify to adopt a child internationally the parents must also be able to travel multiple times to the child’s birth country. Most countries also require the parents to be in a stable marriage before allowing the child to be adopted.
Domestic Adoption Costs
Creating a Family, an infertility and adoption education nonprofit, averages the costs of domestic adoption through an agency at $28,000. Those costs vary, depending on the birth mother’s medical bills, adoption fees, travel costs and other factors. Using an agency may cost as much as $40,000.
International Adoption Costs
The same organization notes that international adoption costs depend on the child’s country of birth or residence at the time of adoption, how long you have to stay in the country as part of the adoption process, and a few other factors. They give average costs for the top three countries that allow individuals in the U.S to adopt: Ethiopia, China, and South Korea.To adopt from China, the cost is about $30,000. The average cost of adoption from Ethiopia is anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000. And to adopt a child from South Korea, you can expect to spend more than $30,000. Creating a Family offers a set of charts that explain the details and costs of adopting from 15 different countries, as well as foster care adoption in the United States, and private domestic adoption.
Other Decisions to Make in Adoption
The National Infertility Association also lays out non-monetary and regulatory concerns to keep in mind as you consider domestic adoption versus international adoption.
The Child’s Age
Knowing the age range of the child you’d like to bring into your home may affect whether you pursue domestic or international adoption. Domestic adoption usually allows for a newborn to join your family. This is because international adoptions usually involve toddlers and older children, and they can take longer, so the child will be older by the time you bring him or her home.
In either type of adoption, the time frame is unpredictable. You can’t forecast and pinpoint how long it will take a birth mother to select you in a domestic adoption. International adoption can be affected by political activity in the child’s country of residence, laws, and even the way the U.S. is perceived.
Health and Medical Background
If information about the child’s birth mother’s health and medical background are a concern, you may be better off with a domestic adoption. As Adoption Network puts it, in international adoptions, “the child’s medical background is typically only known beginning with when the orphanage or hospital received the child.” If you consider adopting internationally, remember that the child’s medical background is typically only known beginning with when the orphanage or hospital received the child. The child also might not have all of the typical vaccinations that an American infant may have, putting them at risk for infection. At Rapier and Bowing, we handle adoptions and can help you to navigate the sometimes complex process. We can help you understand everything it’ll take, from training and classes to home studies and inspections. Reach out. We’re here to help.