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Thailand Adoption – Process, Costs and Adoption Agencies
In recent years, Thailand has developed an effective social service system the protect children who have been orphaned, relinquished, or abandoned. For this reason, adoptions from Thailand are less common than in some other Hague Convention countries. However, there are still children in need of homes, ranging from 15 months to 15 years of age. If you are interested in adopting in Thailand, the information on this page will provide essential information and help you prepare for the process.
Thailand Adoption Quick Facts
- Hague Convention country: Yes
- Central adoption authority: Child Adoption Center (CAC), Department of Social Development and Welfare (DSDW)
- Average # of adoptions to U.S. families: 30-50/year
- Average travel time for adoption: 7-10 days
Who Can Adopt in Thailand?In addition to meeting the requirements of the Hague Adoption Convention, you must also be eligible under Thailand’s laws to adopt a child. Here, you can find the criteria you must meet to adopt in Thailand.
AgeProspective adoptive parents must be at least 25 years old and 15 years older than the child they wish to adopt.
ResidencyParents must work with the authorities in their country if they have lived in the country for at least six months and will be in the country until the adoption is finalized.
Marital StatusIndividuals and heterosexual couples who have been married for at least two years are eligible to adopt.
EmploymentParents must provide proof of a stable income before they will be allowed to adopt a child in Thailand.
Who Can Be Adopted in Thailand?In order for a child to be available for adoption, there must be evidence that the child was relinquished or abandoned by his or her biological parents. In Thailand, the available children vary widely in terms of age, gender, and medical needs. Additionally, siblings may be adopted together or separately, but multiple adoptions will only be allowed in the cases of siblings.
Adoption Process in ThailandFamilies hoping to adopt in Thailand must follow the Hague Convention regulations as well as Thailand’s country-specific laws. The sections below will detail the steps necessary to adopt a child in Thailand.
How Long Does it Take to Adopt a Child from Thailand?The time between submitting your paperwork to the DSDW and bringing your child home is usually between 24 and 30 months. Prospective adoptive parents can increase their chances of a shorter wait time by filing their applications on time, completing their home study early, and being open to a variety of adoption situations. For more information, speak to an adoption professional.
How Do I Find an Adoption Professional?In order to adopt in Thailand, you must find a U.S. adoption agency that is both Hague-accredited and licensed to work in Thailand. Below, you will find a list of adoption agencies with Thailand adoption programs:
How Do I Become Eligible for Adoption?First, you must locate a Hague-accredited adoption professional in the United States and apply to their Thailand adoption program. This will usually include an application fee and take a couple of weeks for approval. Afterwards, your adoption professional will help you apply for eligibility in the United States by filing Form I-800A with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once this form is approved, you will be able to submit it, along with the rest of your dossier, to the adoption authority in Thailand. The proper authorities in Thailand will review your application, confirm that you are eligible under Thai law to adopt, and then give you an adoption referral after a waiting period. In Thailand adoptions, wait times can be fairly unpredictable but average between one and two years.
What Do I Do Once I Receive a Referral?When the Thailand adoption authorities send you a referral for a proposed match, you will have the option to accept or deny it. Denying a referral may impact your chances of being able to adopt in the country, so it is recommended that you only do so if you are unable to provide for the particular needs of a certain child. If you choose to accept the referral, you will apply to USCIS again, this time by submitting Form I-800. This form is a request for provisional approval for your child to immigrate to the United States. USCIS will determine whether the child meets the Hague Convention definition of an adoptee, and once confirmed, you can submit your visa application to the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok.
How Do I Complete the Adoption?Once you have completed the above steps, you will be ready to travel to Thailand and begin the legal adoption process. While there, you will participate in an interview with the Child Immigration Board (CAB). DSDW will arrange this interview and provide you with the documents your child needs to travel. You will also need to arrange a visa interview to finalize your visa application. Once you have completed your interviews and presented all the necessary documents, you will obtain legal custody of your child. From there, you can apply for your child’s birth certificate and Thai passport so that you can return home. In Thailand adoptions, parents must also complete a six-month post-placement period and submit bi-monthly reports. After these requirements have been met, you will be able to finalize the adoption of your child in a U.S. court.
Financing Your Thailand AdoptionAdoption in Thailand generally costs between $20,000 and $35,000 and can be broken down as follows:
- Agency Fees: $8,000-$10,000
- Foreign Program Fees: $5,000-$8,000
- Travel Expenses: $5,000-$10,000
- Third Party Costs: $3,000-$7,000
Thailand Travel TipsWhen you travel to another country, it can be helpful to understand ways in which the environment or customs might be different. As you plan your trip to Thailand, consider the following:
- The Department of State recommends exercising caution in beach areas, as the undercurrents can be strong and dangerous at times.
- After arriving at a Thai airport, you are encouraged to use public transportation at the airport’s official pick-up and drop-off site. Using taxis from the airport or while travelling in Thailand is not recommended.
- Mosquitoes are abundant, especially during the warmer months, so be prepared with bug spray or other protective measures.