Inter-Country Adoption Costs

Many people considering adoption find international adoption to be an attractive option because it is generally faster and less expensive than adopting within the United States. Of course, inter-country adoptions are not without complications and costs. Read on to get an overview of some of the common costs, fees, and expenses you are likely to encounter if you are considering international adoption.

Inter-Country Adoption Agency Fees

There are many different international adoption agencies that provide inter-country adoption services. These agencies generally charge fees that range from $7,000 to $30,000. These fees generally include dossier and immigration processing and court costs. In some cases, they may include a required donation to the foreign orphanage or agency. Overall costs may be affected by the type of entity in the foreign country that is responsible for placing the child (e.g., government agency, government orphanage, charitable foundation, attorney, facilitator, or some combination thereof). Many inter-country adoption agencies offer a sliding fee scale.

Depending on the country, there may be additional fees, such as:

  • Child foster care (usually in South and Central American adoptions);
  • Parents' travel and in-country stay(s) to process the adoption abroad;
  • Escorting fees, charged when parents do not travel but instead hire escorts to accompany the child on the flight;
  • Child's medical care and treatment (occasionally in South and Central America);
  • Translation fees;
  • Foreign attorney fees;
  • Foreign agency fees;
  • Passport fees; and
  • Visa processing fees and costs of visa medical examination.

Finalizing Inter-Country Adoptions in U.S. Court

Some inter-country adoptions must be finalized in a court in the United States, while other inter-country adoptions are finalized in the child's country of origin. Although not required in these situations, parents often choose also to finalize the placement in a U.S. court to provide additional protection of their child's legal status. All of these procedures incur a cost. The cost for court document preparation can range from $500 to $2,000, while the cost for legal representation may range from $2,500 to $12,000 or more in some States. (Again, these costs may be reimbursable.) In some jurisdictions an adoption can be finalized without representation by an attorney.

More Information

As you've likely noticed, international adoptions involve many moving parts. Not only must the adopting parents deal with the rules, regulations, and costs associated with adoption within the United States, they must also contend with many of these same issues in the child's home country. Because inter-country adoption can be complicating and daunting, you may want to consider hiring an attorney experienced in adoption law to help you navigate through the ocean of paperwork and procedures that are so often associated with the adoption process. An adoption attorney can also help to ensure that your legal rights -- as well as the rights of your child -- are properly established and secured.

You should also feel free to browse FindLaw's articles detailing international adoption basics, the steps required for obtaining U.S. citizenship for a foreign-born adopted child, as well as information on various issues you may encounter when adopting a child from a different ethnicity or culture.

Next Steps

Contact a qualified attorney specializing in adoptions.

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