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Understanding international adoption


When considering international adoption, it is important to understand the role of finances, countries, paperwork and agencies.

When Washington couples want to expand their families through international adoption, they may be surprised by the complexity of the entire process. The age of the child, country of origin and overall health of the child can affect how smoothly the expansion goes. According to the U.S. Department of State, there were 4,714 international adoptions over the course of a single year. The intricacy of the process and a lack of understanding may stop some couples from pursuing this option.

The cost varies

Adoption is a venture that has a priceless outcome, but it comes with a high price tag. The total for an international placement can range from $30,000 to $50,000 according to Part of the large price tag may come from fees required by the international government as well as the following:

  • Legal fees
  • Travel costs
  • Orphanage donations
  • Adoption agency payments

A hopeful family needs to consider the potential costs when choosing the path of adoption. The person looking to expand his or her family should also consider certain cost-saving measures that can be taken in some situations, such as fundraising, employer benefits and tax credits.

The country matters

Not only can the country of origin affect the cost, but it can affect a myriad of aspects of an international adoption. In fact, some countries may not allow children to be placed with American families. Before committing to an international plan, the prospective mother or father needs to keep restrictions in mind. The political climate and wealth of a country may dictate whether an international adoption is allowed. Not every country will allow this type of placement, but the most popular options include Columbia, Haiti, South Korea, China and Ethiopia.

The paperwork rules

Adoption is a complex process. It requires a lot of paperwork from an adoptive family including home study forms, background checks, government permissions and immigration forms. With so much paperwork to be completed, couples going through the process can start to feel overwhelmed. However, organization can make the paperwork easier to tackle.

The agency helps

Because there are so many complex factors with international adoption, the adoption agency is an important part of the process. Anyone hoping to adopt a child from a different country should try to find a licensed and accredited agency. The right agency can help a prospective parent fill out paperwork, create a budget, complete a home study, pick an origin country and select child preferences. The agency can also play a huge role in the overall cost of the placement.

No two Washington families are the same. If a couple wants to complete an international adoption, it may be necessary and beneficial to work with an attorney familiar with this legal process.