More and more Americans are creating families by adopting children from foreign countries. In 2000, U.S. families adopted 18,477 foreign-born children. Overall, China was the greatest source for intercountry adoptions, followed in descending order by Russia, South Korea, Guatemala, Romania, Vietnam, Ukraine, India, and Cambodia.
Intercountry adoption may be a viable alternative to domestic adoption for many families, especially those who want to adopt an infant. However, the process can be complex, paperwork-intensive, and expensive. Like domestic adoptions, costs and waiting time vary significantly depending on the country and child chosen. Costs can range from a low of $12,000 to a high of $30,000, although most intercountry adoptions average between $15,000 and $25,000. The waiting time for intercountry adoption, including the home study and Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) approval process, can take from one to three years. Adoptions of children with special needs may have lower fees and shorter waiting periods.
The information presented here is designed to help prospective adoptive parents through the detailed process of adopting a child from abroad. While some of the procedures discussed, such as immigration procedures, are standard for all intercountry adoptions, others will vary by source country or by agency.
This material may be reproduced and distributed without permission; however, appropriate citation must be given to the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse.