How to Adopt a Child Overseas

The adoption of a child from another country by a U.S. citizen involves the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the U.S. State Department, the foreign country where the child resides and any additional requirements of the state the child will live in.

Things You'll Need

  • Adoption Announcements
  • Adoption Forms
  • Attorney


    • 1

      Select a country you'd like to adopt a child from. Generally, countries with a stable government have the best provisions for successful adoptions.

    • 2

      Choose an agency with experience in intercountry adoption, especially in the country you hope to adopt from. Ask for references. Verify that the agency is licensed by calling the licensing specialist in your state.

    • 3

      Check with the state's office of the attorney general to see if any complaints have been filed against the agency.

    • 4

      Find out the agency's minimum requirements for adoptive parents and ask about the adoptive country's requirements, if any. Also ask about costs, including travel expenses, legal costs, medical expenses and agency fees.

    • 5

      Expect the agency to assign a social worker to you. He or she will conduct interviews, set up a home study and - if you are approved - help with required paperwork.

    • 6

      Arrange for a physical exam as soon as your child has arrived. Apply for U.S. citizenship for the child.

    • 7

      Understand that the average cost for intercountry adoption is between $15,000 and $20,000 - but it can go higher, depending on the child's country of origin.

    • 8

      Be prepared to wait for as long as three years.

Tips & Warnings

  • Check out the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse Web site, which provides information on intercountry adoption procedures.
  • Adopting a foreign child can be a long, arduous process fraught with risks. The help of an adoptive parent support group such as Adoptive Families of America can be invaluable (call 800-372-3300 or see its Web site).
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