When a family becomes curious about adopting, they can easily find themselves overwhelmed with information and questions.


Many struggle with the question of whether they should adopt internationally or domestically. 


One of the reasons for this dilemma is that it’s difficult to tell which process will save you time, money and hassle when looking into adoption options online without first knowing what an adoption process actually entails.


Let’s see what some differences are between the two.

What Are the Differences Between International and Domestic Adoption


When deciding between domestic vs. international adoption, there are many key factors to consider including the country’s laws and customs regarding children.  Such as:

Cost– The cost of adoption can vary depending on the type you choose. For instance, if your preference is to go with public fostering or orphanage options that are available through state agencies then expect it to fall between $1K-$5k; however private domestic adoptions and international adoption may run anywhere upwards towards $50k. 

Children who are waiting to be adopted – In the US there are older children in foster care that are available right now. But if you’re looking for an infant either nationally or internationally there is a wait list. The wait time can be approximately anywhere from 6-18 months.;

Medical background – It’s easier to obtain the medical background of a child in the US than it is to obtain the medical background of a child in another country. A lot of children in other countries are orphans which makes it a little difficult to trace any type of medical history. Plus, medical care is not as advanced in other countries as it is here in the US.

Requirements are different – There’s more red tape to go through if you choose to adopt internationally. 

For instance, in California, once you decide to adopt internationally you need to:

  1. Choose a country you want to adopt from. 
  2. Pick a California international adoption agency.
  3. Apply to be eligible to adopt-Before you can adopt overseas in California, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must give their approval. 
  4. Wait for an adoption opportunity.
  5. Apply for the child’s adoption eligibility. 
  6. Receive your child’s immigrant visa. When you travel to adopt your child, you’ll receive one of the following types of immigrant visas: IH-3 (Hague) or IR-3 (non-Hague) visa.and IH-4 or IR-4 visa. 
  7. Complete a re-adoption in the U.S. 

Adopting domestically, you have to file paperwork and submit yourself through background checks, wait for child adoption availability among other things but not as extensive as an international adoption.

There are many different factors to consider when deciding to adopt domestically or internationally. Make sure that your family has done the research so they can make a decision based on what’s best suited towards their individual needs, wants and circumstances.


Still need help? It helps to speak with an experienced family law attorney to discuss all your options. We will help you navigate through all the adoption laws, procedures and protocol to bring home your new bundle of joy!