How to Adopt
Intercountry adoptions are governed by both the laws of the child's home country and the laws of the United States. In fact, when adopting you must comply with three different sets of laws: U.S. federal law, the laws of the child's country of birth, and the laws of your U.S. state of residence.
The time it takes to adopt a child from another country and bring that child to the United States varies widely. Generally intercountry adoption takes 1-4 years, though it can take longer. The length of time depends on a number of factors, including the country's procedures, the agency's process, the U.S. immigration process, and the specific circumstances of the adoption.
The cost of adoption services for intercountry adoption also varies widely from case to case. Many Adoption services can cost as much as $30,000 per case. An adoption agency should specify all expected costs that would be associated with your adoption before you sign an adoption services contract with that agency. (This is required by federal law if you are adopting from a Convention country.)
Hague Adoption Convention
The United States is part of an important treaty on intercountry adoption called the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). The treaty governs adoptions between the United States and approximately 75 other countries. The process of adopting a child from a Convention country differs in several key ways from adoption a child from a country not party to the Convention.
Support During the Process
Adopting a child from abroad takes patience and determination. Not only is the intercountry adoption process complex, but unexpected complications may arise. Because the process can take so long, finding emotional support during this time can be helpful. You may also find it beneficial to consult with other parents or support groups about issues and concerns associated with adoption.
Here are some good places to start your support group search:
- Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoption
- Families with Children from China
- Guatemala Adoptive Families Network
- North American Council on Adoptable Children
- Our Chinese Daughters Foundation
NOTE: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.