The average cost range for international adoptions is $20,000-$40,000 and is a collection of the different expenses that come up over the course of the adoption, including documentation, travel fees, program fees, and more.
Because of this, it’s more helpful to ask not, “How much does international adoption cost?” but instead, “What are the different types of international adoption costs?” By understanding the different expenses you will encounter, you can have a better understanding of what to expect in terms of your overall cost.
Here, you can find a breakdown of the various kinds of expenses you will encounter as you pursue your international adoption, along with the primary factors that lead to cost differences.
Factors Affecting Adoption Costs
The two aspects of your adoption that will create the most variation in costs are your adoption professional and the country where you choose to adopt. Read on for information about selecting a professional and country that fit with your adoption plan.
Choosing a Country
As you begin making an adoption plan, you will want to select a country that suits your adoption budget. The following list gives you an average range of adoptions by country, according to Creating a Family:
- Bulgaria: $22,000 – $29,000 + travel
- China: $26,000 – $31,000 + travel
- Colombia: $22,000 – $26,000 + travel
- Ethiopia: $24,000 – $27,000 + travel
- Haiti: $26,000 – $32,000 + travel
- India: $21,000 – $25,000 + travel
- Latvia: $23,000 – $30,000 + travel
- The Philippines: $15,000 – $20,000 + travel
- Poland: $20,000 – $27,000 + travel
- South Korea: $32,000 – $38,000 + travel
- Taiwan: $22,000 – $27,000 + travel
- Thailand: $15,000 – $20,000 + travel
- Ukraine: $23,000 – $32,000 + travel
- Uganda: $24,000 – $30,000 + travel
While these numbers can give a good idea of how much it might cost to complete an international adoption, they costs are always changing. There are many factors that are out of our control that can contribute to a much higher or much lower cost of adoption.
Choosing a Professional
Adoption professionals can charge different rates and list their financial information in different ways. To help you make a decision, here are some questions you can ask a professional:
- Which services are included in your fee structure?
- What services will we have to seek elsewhere?
- Can we set our own budget?
- What happens if there is a disruption in the adoption? What happens if we are victims of a scam? How much money could we potentially lose in these circumstances?
- How many times will we have to travel to the child’s country of origin?
- Are orphanage donations mandatory?
Types of Adoption Expenses
All international adoptions are subject to certain types of fees, although the costs of those fees can vary. The sections below outline the main expenses that contribute to your overall adoption costs.
Registration and Application
In addition to applying for your adoption program, you will also have to send in applications to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): one to become eligible for adoption, and another for the child to be eligible to immigrate to the United States. Through these forms, your adoption will be approved by the United States government.
Cost Range: $1,000-$2,000
Adoption Program Fees
This will cover all of the services that your adoption professional provides you that are directly related to the adoption, such as:
- Assistance with compiling your dossier
- Communicating with international adoption authorities
- Counseling, education, and support
- Facilitation of a match
Cost Range: $8,000-$18,000
Home Study and Adoptive Family Training
All adoptions require a home study, and international home studies must be completed by a Hague-accredited provider. You will also need to plan for post-placement assessments and reports.
Most international adoption programs will also require a certain number of hours of training. In adoptive family training classes, you can expect to learn about adoption laws and the Hague Adoption Convention, as well as how to prepare for the new addition to your family and embrace his or her culture.
Cost Range: $1,500-$5,000
Documentation and Authentication
Over the course of your adoption, you will have to compile paperwork and apply for various documents, either for you or for your child. Sometimes, your adoption service provider may offer document processing services to help you with this step. Some of the expenses related to your documents may include:
- Dossier Documents – You will have to request originals or copies of many of the documents that go into your dossier, and there will sometimes be processing or delivery fees.
- Authentication – Many of your documents must be authenticated before they can be reviewed in another country. Different documents require different processes for authentication.
- Translation – In some cases, your documents will need to be translated, and even if it is not required, it can make the process more convenient.
- Visa, passport and birth certificate – Toward the end of your adoption, you will need to apply for your child’s visa. Before you receive a visa, you will most likely need to obtain a birth certificate and a passport (as your child will not yet be a U.S. citizen).
Cost Range: $1,000-$4,000
The travel time for your adoption can be as short as 5 or 6 days to as long as four weeks, and this time may be divided over multiple trips. The length of your trip, the travel distance, and the cost of living in the foreign country will all affect your adoption travel expenses.
When preparing to budget for travel, be sure to consider factors such as:
- In-country transportation
- Number of required trips
Cost Range: $5,000-$15,000
In addition to the legal requirements to complete the formal adoption process, you should also pursue a re-adoption once you return to the United States as a safeguard. Your adoption attorney will be able to provide you with specific numbers for the various legal services and how much they will cost.
Cost Range: $500-$4,000
Over the course of your adoption, you may also encounter some additional fees, including but not limited to:
- Orphanage donation (required in some countries)
- Medical expenses for the child
- Postage or telephone costs
- Home study updates
Cost Range: Varies
Financing Your International Adoption
As you plan for your international adoption, you can find many resources to help you with your expenses. Your adoption service provider will help you put together a budget and, in some cases, may even be able to offer reduced fees.
You also have a variety of adoption loans and grants available to you. Visit the following links to find out if you qualify for any of these financial aid programs: