International Adoptions

What Are They? What About Costs? What About Time Frames? DO-IT-YOURSELF Kits?

What Are They?

    For many people, finding a child overseas is a wonderful alternative to extended time frames, age, or other limitations that they might run across on "local" or "national" adoptions.  

    Children are available from countries all over the world.  Some countries "close" and "open" to adoptions based upon their perceived amount of children "available" for adoption, their current political climate, or a variety of other issues.  If you have a desire for a child from a specific country or region there could be some limitations.

    The starting place for an international adoption is with an agency.  With very exceptions (I can't think of any right off), you are not able to do a private adoption with children from overseas.  Two of the major agencies are Holt International and Orphans Overseas.  There are many others and I would be happen to discuss using an agency with you.

    Depending on the country, your adoption may need to be finalized once you return home or the adoption may be finalized "in country" before you leave with your new child.  If your adoption needs to be finalized after you return we call this a "foreign adoption".

    If your adoption is finalized in country we do what is called a "re-adoption" here.  The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 addresses giving citizenship to children coming into the United States after a finalized adoption.  With this Act, you do not have to do a re-adoption, but it is still highly recommended.  If you do not do a re-adoption your child will not have court papers from a U.S. court nor will he or she have a U.S. birth certificate.  You can imagine trying to go to the D.M.V. or to register for school with only a Viet Namese birth certificate. This is a risk that most adopting parents are not willing to take.  The good news with regard to re-adoptions is that they are less complex than other adoptions and there is even a "DO-IT-YOURSELF" Re-Adoption Kit put out by Attorney Robin Pope.  See below for more information on this kit. 

What About Costs?

     Because you are using an agency, the overall costs of adopting a child will vary widely depending on which agency and which country you are working with.  I try to give a realistic range of $25,000-$35,000 or more for a total cost.  Some agencies might do it for less, but not much less.

    You should talk about costs at length with your agency.  Some countries will require you to spend up to a month taking care of final paperwork.  The costs of airfare, food, hotels etc. are usually not included in the agency's fee schedule.  In addition, you should remember that when dealing with overseas countries there are many unofficial costs as well as the official costs that you are expecting.  I have heard stories of parents coming back from Asian countries  where they have spent a month and several thousand dollars worth of "local fees" before they could complete their adoption.  You should not be scared away from these adoptions because of the costs but you should be aware of them.  I have never known any parent that arrived back home with their child and thought that it was not worth it!

    The legal costs of a foreign adoption vary depending on how much work needs to be done by the attorney versus how much of the work is done by the agency.  Because this too varies widely I cannot even begin to give you an estimate.

    A re-adoption, being less complex, is also somewhat less expensive.  As a general rule can expect to spend about $895.00 with me on a re-adoption.  Many parents choose to "DO-IT-YOURSELF."  See below.

What About Time Frames?

      Or, "How Long Will It Take?".  If you are doing a foreign adoption we must wait for your post-placement adoption report before we finalize the petition.  This usually occurs 4-6 months after your return home with you child.  The adoption can be, and in many cases should be, filed as soon as you return home but it will remain pending until the post-placement report.  

    A re-adoption starts with the filing of a petition and request the state to issue a waiver letter waiving a post-placement report and any other  involvement at the state level.  Waiting for these items to come back from the state takes up the majority of the time; it could be 4-6 weeks or longer.  Unfortunately the state processes these requests on a first come, first serve basis and this is not a process that we can often influence significantly.  Because of this, the overall time for completing a re-adoption from start to finish varies widely but is usually completed in 1 to 2 months.  

DO-IT-YOURSELF Re-Adoption Kits by Attorney Robin Pope

    Because re-adoptions when your child's adoption has already been completed in the foreign country are less complex than some other types, some parents choose to do re-adoptions themselves.  

    Attorney Robin Pope, a frequent lecturer and author on adoptions has put together a step-by-step kit to assist parents in this process.  Robin is a highly respected colleague and a mentor of mine and I recommend her highly. It is available by calling her directly at (503) 352-3524 or by logging on to her website:  It would also be nice if you would mention to her that you heard about her on this website.  

    As a disclaimer, this referral is here purely out of my respect for Robin and her work.  I have no financial interest in these kits.  If you ultimately decide you would like at attorney to help you with your re-adoption, please give  Robin or me a call.

    If you have any questions or would like to discuss your adoption matters,
 please give me a call.

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