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The Three Routes to Adoption: Fast Facts

Should you pursue adoption to build your family? Look through these overviews of the three main routes, including cost and requirements, to get a preliminary idea of whether there is an adoption route for you.

Choosing the adoption route that is best for you.

INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION

Age Restrictions

Age requirements vary by country. Most countries require parents to be between the ages of 25 and 45 for an infant referral. Older parents may adopt toddlers and older children.

Marital Restrictions

For married couples, guidelines on length of marriage and number of previous divorces may apply. For singles, countries may prohibit placement or limit the number of children placed. Some countries explicitly prohibit gay or lesbian couples or singles from adopting.

Average Cost

Most international adoptions cost between $25,000 to $45,000. Many families are eligible for the federal tax credit of up to $13,190 per finalized adoption in tax year 2014.

Average Timeline

The average intercountry adoption process is two years from start to finish. Wait times vary significantly, from three months or less to five years or longer, depending on the circumstances in each country.

Child’s Age

In 2012, 10% of children adopted internationally were younger than 1 year old; 59% were 1-4 years; 31% were older than 4.

Child’s Race

The majority of children adopted internationally are Asian or African. Less than 15% are Caucasian (primarily from Eastern Europe).

Child’s Health

Quality of early care values varies widely by country. Where foster care is available, children usually fare well. Where children are adopted from orphanages, there are virtually always developmental lags and sometimes other medical consequences.

Medical Records

The quality of medical and other background information varies widely by country and by adoption situation. Parents will want to research the availability of information in countries under consideration.

Birth Family Contact

In most international adoptions, there has traditionally been little to no contact with the child’s birth parents. This is changing; an increasing number of parents are opening international adoptions.

Predictability of Cost and Process

Total adoption expenses usually can be predicted by knowledgeable adoption providers. In most cases, international adoptions follow a predictable path. Families can normally count on becoming parents by the end of the process. However, changing laws and practices in individual countries can lead to midstream process changes.

Control Over Process

In international adoption, parents typically choose the adoption country and agency. Beyond that, the process is dictated by the requirements of the U.S. government and those of the child’s country of origin.

U.S. INFANT ADOPTION

Age Restrictions

No specific age requirements. Birth parents, however, may more readily select parents perceived as neither “too young” nor “too old.”

Marital Restrictions

Typically, there are no fixed rules regarding marital status, but some birth parents prefer married couples. However, adoptions of U.S. babies by singles (both straight and gay) are not unusual.

Average Cost

The cost of U.S. infant adoption varies widely, from $5,000 to $40,000. Average cost is $20,000 to $35,000. Many families are eligible for the federal tax credit of up to $13,190 per domestic adoption attempt in tax year 2014.

Average Timeline

The timeline is unpredictable. The average adoption is complete within two years.

Child’s Age

Almost all U.S. private adoptions are of very young babies. Many newborns go home from the hospital with their adoptive parents.

Child’s Race

Children adopted domestically may be of any race.

Child’s Health

Keep in mind that there are no guarantees of perfect health for any child.

Medical Records

Medical and other background information is usually, but not always, available in domestic adoptions.

Birth Family Contact

Most birth parents and adoptive parents meet at least once. Usually, birth parents and adoptive parents maintain some contact.

Predictability of Cost and Process

Families who want to adopt a newborn domestically can almost always count on doing so. Yet, along the way, as many as 50% of expectant mothers who initially consider adoption decide not to place the baby. Post placement revocations, however, are rare.

Control Over Process

Adopting parents will choose their social worker, their attorney or agency, and, sometimes, the process by which they identify a birth mother. The timing of a birth parent match will not be predictable.

U.S. FOSTER ADOPTION

Age Restrictions

No specific age requirements.

Marital Restrictions

There are typically no specific requirements regarding marital status. Research requirements for single and gay/lesbian adoption in your state.

Average Cost

Expenses are none or minimal. Additionally many families eligible for the federal tax credit of up to $13,190 in tax year 2014.

Average Timeline

Both the wait for placement and for adoption are unpredictable but placement can be rapid.

Child’s Age

Children adopted from foster care range in age from infants to 17-year-olds. The average age of waiting children is 8 years old. Many foster children have siblings with whom they are placed.

Child’s Race

Of children in foster care currently waiting for adoption, 28% are African American, 40% are Caucasian, and 22% are Hispanic.

Child’s Health

Children in foster care may experience consequences from neglect or abuse prior to entering care.

Medical Records

Although background information for a child in foster care may be incomplete, current medical information will be available.

Birth Family Contact

If you foster your child before adoption, you may have some contact with the birth parents. If not, you are unlikely ever to have any contact with them.

Predictability of Cost and Process

Total adoption expenses are negligible. Children may be placed with foster families who hope to adopt them before they are legally free for adoption. There can be uncertainty as to when or whether a child will become free for adoption.

Control Over Process

Adopting from foster care involves state adoption offices and courts. It is difficult to have control over the process.

 

 

The Three Routes to Adoption: Fast Facts Reviewed by on . Should you pursue adoption to build your family? Look through these overviews of the three main routes, including cost and requirements, to get a preliminary id Should you pursue adoption to build your family? Look through these overviews of the three main routes, including cost and requirements, to get a preliminary id Rating: 0

Comments (2)

  • fpardo

    Foster kids adoption. As a foster mother I have adopted 2 boys and the process was easy and cost free, Plus the state covered there health insurance and some os=f there cost. My boys were adopted at different times and are not blood related but they love each other very much! … I encourage people to adopt from the foster program the kids do not have to be from your state, there are many kids that are getting older and need a home! … I adopted my first kid when he was 2 and half years old and the second child was a little over 4 years old and I can tell you as a single mother it is all in what you can provide is amazing what love can do! Children do not need luxury and fancy toys. Family services provides classes and insurance has services with psychologist and parental classes. If you really want a child this is a great way to go.

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