Americans have been adopting children from abroad since the 1950s. While international adoptions have decreased in recent years, primarily due to countries closing their international adoption programs and costs and wait times increasing, it is still a popular choice for many adoptive parents, and there are still many children growing up in orphanages abroad in need of families.
Most of the children available for international adoption are toddlers or older kids and most have some special needs. If you are trying to decide if international adoption is best for you, check out our Quick Comparison Chart for the Different Types of Adoption.
- Deciding on a Country When Choosing International Adoption (1 hr. podcast w/ experts)
- Adoption Comparison Charts for the top ten placing countries to the US (lists parental restrictions, type of kids available, cost, waiting times, etc.
- The Creating a Family 3-Step Process for Choosing an International Adoption Agency
- Colombia – The Median Adoption Service Provider Convention Adoption Fees in 2022 were $41,432.00 (not including travel or documentation fees). Total ranges vary, with a wide range of costs for travel requirements and sibling group adoptions.
- India – The Median Adoption Service Provider Convention Fee for 2022 was $36,122 (not including travel or documentation fees). Total ranges vary, with a wide range of costs for travel requirements and sibling group adoptions.
- South Korea – The Republic of Korea is not a Hague-convention nation, so no Median Adoption Service Provider Convention Fee is documented. Adoptive families report that their total costs ranged from $35,000 to $50,000, including all the documentation, adoption service provider fees, travel, and in-country lodging expenses.
*Please refer to the Adoption Comparison Charts for the most updated information on the top ten sending countries.
When choosing a country and an adoption agency, it is important to look at total costs. Use this form for comparing agency costs. We include more information on international adoption costs for the top-placing countries on our Adoption Comparison Charts.
- Common Special Needs In International Adoption (1 hr. podcast w/ experts)
- Feeding Issues and Nutrition in Adoption (1 hr. podcast w/ experts)
Please refer to our Adoption Comparison Charts, updated annually to reflect the most common needs of the children available for adoption from each of the top ten sending countries.
It is not necessary that you choose a doctor located locally to you, but some families want to be able to talk with someone in person or take their child for a post-adoption evaluation with the same doctor who reviewed the referral.
Doctors have different styles and personalities, so talk with them first to see if it is a good fit. When interviewing an IA doctor, consider the following questions:
- How many adoption referrals have they evaluated? In the last year?
- How many adoption referrals have they evaluated from my country?
- How long does it usually take to evaluate a referral if we have medical information before traveling?
- How do they arrange to review data if we receive medical information in-country?
- How comfortable do they feel with diagnosing FAS in a child of ___age and ___ethnicity?
- How much do they charge and what is included? Are phone calls after the initial review included or an extra charge?
- Questions to Ask Your Child’s Orphanage or Foster Home Caregiver (tipsheet)
- Promoting Attachment with Your Child While In Country (1 hr. podcast w/ experts)
- Surviving the Trip Home With Your Newly Adopted Child (article)
It is very important for adoptive parents to realize that children in orphanages have likely experienced abuse and neglect, and these traumas can have a lasting impact on children, but with good adoption education and support for adoptive families and children, most children and adoptive families will thrive. We have many resources in our section on Attachment Issues in Adoption, including:
- Attachment 101 (1 hr. podcast w/ Dr. Casey Call, of the Karyn Purvis Institute for Child Development)
- Typical Behaviors of Children Adopted Internationally (1 hr. online course by CreatingaFamilyEd.org)
- Raising Children From Foster Care or Orphanages (1 hr. podcast w/ the late Dr. Karyn Purvis)
- Attachment Issues When You Adopt a Child Over Two (1 hr. podcast w/ Deborah Gray)
- Homeland Tours (article)
- Panel of Young Adult Transracial Adoptees (1 hr. online parenting course by CreatingaFamilyEd.org)
- Should You Consider Adopting a Child Of a Different Race or Ethnicity (1 hr. online parenting course by CreatingaFamilyEd.org)
- Helping Internationally Adopted Children Develop a Healthy Cultural & Racial Identity (1 hr. online parenting course by CreatingaFamilyEd.org)
Creating a Family has many more resources on international adoption. Here are a few more recent ones we think you will find particularly helpful:
- Raising Your Adopted, Foster, or Kinship Child with FASD (article)
- Do You Feel Like School is Not Working for Your Child? (article)
- 5 Rules of Thumb for Your Family’s Digital Health (article)
- Coming to Terms with Infertility Grief Before You Adopt or Foster (1 hr. podcast w/ expert)
- Introduction to Prenatal Substance Exposure (1 hr. podcast w/ expert)
- Helping Internationally Adopted Children Develop a Healthy Cultural and Racial Identity (1 hr. podcast w/ expert)
Many more Creating a Family podcasts, articles, and fact sheets on adopting from abroad can be found at the icons below: