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. radio interview w/ experts)
- Adoption Comparison Charts for top 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
- China – The Median Adoption Service Provider Convention Adoption Fees are $15,725.00 (not including travel or documentation fees). Total ranges from $25,000 to $35,000 generally.
- Ukraine – The average cost to adopt from Ukraine is about $35,000 (with a wide range of variance due to travel requirements).
- Colombia – The Median Adoption Service Provider Convention Adoption Fees are $14,410.00 (not including travel or documentation fees). Total ranges from $35,000 to $40,000 (with a wide range of variance for travel requirements and sibling group adoptions).
It is important when choosing a country and an adoption agency to look at total costs. Use this form for comparing agency costs. We include more information on total costs for the top placing countries in international adoption on our Adoption Comparison Charts.
- Common Special Needs In International Adoption (1 hr. radio interview w/ international adoption expert)
- Feeding Issues and Nutrition in Adoption (1 hr. radio interview w/ an international adoption pediatrician and a feeding expert)
Please refer to our Adoption Comparison Charts, which are updated regularly, to get a better picture of what needs are most common per country.
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.
Different doctors have different 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 have a referral evaluated if we have medical information before we travel?
- How do they arrange to review data if we receive medical information when we are 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. radio interview w/ experts)
- Surviving the Trip Home With Your Newly Adopted Child (blog post)
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. radio interview w/ Dr. Casey Call, of the Karyn Purvis Institute for Child Development)
- Typical Behaviors of Children Adopted Internationally (1 hr. radio interview with adoption professional)
- Raising Children From Foster Care or Orphanages (1 hr. radio interview w/ the late Dr. Karyn Purvis)
- Attachment Issues When You Adopt a Child Over Two (1 hr. radio interview w/ attachment therapist Deborah Gray)
- The Good News on Research about Toddler Adoption (blog post)
- Homeland Tours (blog post)
- Panel of Young Adult Transracial Adoptees (1 hr. radio interview w/ several adult adoptees)
- Should You Consider Adopting a Child Of a Different Race or Ethnicity (1 hr. downloadable parent education course)
- Helping Internationally Adopted Children Develop a Healthy Cultural & Racial Identity (1 hr. radio interview w/ international adoption expert)
Creating a Family has many more resources on international adoption. Here are a few more recent ones we think you will find particularly helpful:
- 4 Tried and True Tips for a Smooth Transition Home with Adopted Kids (blog post)
- Adoption Tax Credit 2020 (1 hr. online course that meets foster/adoption training requirements)
- 7 Core Issues in Adoption and Foster Care (1 hr. radio interview w/ expert)
- Evaluating Risk Factors in International Adoption (1 hr. radio interview w/ expert)
- Typical Behaviors of Children Adopted Internationally (1 hr. radio interview w/ expert)
- Common Special Needs in International Adoption (1 hr. radio interview w/ expert)
Many more Creating a Family interviews with experts, blogs, and fact sheets on adopting from abroad can be found at the icons below.
Sources: Creating a Family resources listed below, www.adoption.state.gov