Your Top International Adoption Questions, Answered

May 23 International Adoption FAQ Blog

So, you’re considering international adoption–but your list of questions seems to be longer than your list of answers. It seems like international adoption is full of paperwork, fees, and legal hoops to jump through, and you don’t even know where to start!

Before you let yourself spiral, take a breath and read through some of our most frequently asked questions surrounding international adoption. We hope this list helps you begin your journey with confidence. Have a question you can’t seem to find the answer to? You can email our inquiry team at Let’s get to learning!

Frequently Asked Questions About International Adoption

Why is international adoption so expensive?

Adoption, particularly international adoption, has a reputation for being expensive. We know that seeing international adoption fees of upwards of $25,000, $30,000, and even $40,000 can be intimidating! So, where do all of these fees come from?

The cost of international adoption stems from a variety of fees–but be encouraged that these fees are not all expected at the beginning of your adoption journey. Fees you can expect over the course of your adoption include:

  • Agency fees, which cover licensing and accreditations, insurance, personnel, and operations
  • The home study fee, which is required by law and includes a screening of your family and home to ensure the environment is suitable for a child
  • Post-adoption report fees, which allow countries to ensure adopted children are receiving adequate care after their adoption
  • Country fees set by each individual country
  • Third party fees, like FBI fingerprinting and document translation
  • Travel fees

(Note: You can see a breakdown of general fees to expect in our “Why Is International Adoption So Expensive” blog post here.) To see fee breakdowns for each country in which AGCI currently performs adoptions, please visit our International Adoption Programs page.

It’s important to remember that grants are available and tax credits may help cover the cost of international adoption costs. At AGCI, we never want finances to be an obstacle. We have payment plans and an adoption team who can walk through this journey with you. Never let the fear of finances prevent you from following your calling to adopt—we have countless stories of how God provides for adoptive families!

In every instance, the cost of international adoption through AGCI is due to the processing, legal, and operating costs of adopting through your selected country.

How long does the adoption process take, and why does it take so long?

Timelines vary from country to country and are also dependent on a family’s openness to factors such as age, special needs, and gender. Following registration of a family’s dossier, timelines can range from just a few months to several years.

As mentioned, varying levels of a family’s openness to factors like age, special needs, and gender greatly impact the expected adoption timeline. For families open to more mild special needs or who are hoping to adopt children between the ages of 0-5, it is likely adoption processes will last longer than they will for families open to more moderate to severe special needs and to wider age ranges; families open to adopting more than one child through the adoption of a sibling group will also be likely to see shorter wait times. 

The reality for many of our programs is that all children who are waiting to be adopted have experienced some level of trauma by the sheer fact that they are not being raised by their biological family, and thus each child will have his or her own “special need.” Our adoption inquiry team is happy to discuss with you what special needs you may be open to and provide resources and referrals to those who can support your family in understanding any needs that you may have questions about. Your family’s openness to a wide range of needs and to older children or sibling groups will likely give you a greater chance to be matched with a child more quickly.

What children are in need of international adoption, and how do I know international adoption is ethical? Is international adoption “taking a child away” from their family?

Though the needs vary across our individual adoption programs, all children who are in need of international adoption through AGCI have been legally freed by the court system in their country of origin to be adopted internationally. Before a child is freed for adoption, every avenue is checked to make sure that child has no path to family in their birth country, whether by family/relative adoption or domestic adoption. Once it has been determined that there is no other option for a child, only then is he or she deemed eligible to be adopted internationally.

Ethics play a huge role in intercountry adoptions. In 1993, the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption was signed into effect. The objectives of this international Convention are to establish safeguards to ensure intercountry adoptions take place in the best interests of children and respect the child’s fundamental rights, and to establish a system of cooperation between countries to ensure those safeguards are respected preventing the abduction, sale of, or trafficking of children.

AGCI partners only with Hague-accredited countries that have met the stringent requirements necessary to become a Convention country. This detail helps ensure children are being adopted in the safest, most ethical ways possible. You can learn more in our blog post, “Ethics in Intercountry Adoption.”

Lastly, international adoption is not taking a child away from their birth family. Through often tragic circumstances, these children become eligible for adoption, and even more tragically, quite literally have no other path to family. Without international adoption, these children would remain in their respective country’s child welfare system, age out of the system, and never know the love of a forever family. Please be assured that children adopted through AGCI have the best chance for hope and healing because of international adoption. Hear our adoption team speak about the importance of international adoption in our “Why International Adoption Matters” video.

What can I expect in terms of special needs?

The term “special needs” covers a wide spectrum of needs, and it shouldn’t scare you away from following God’s call of adoption in your life. In general, we see needs including, but not limited to: history of abuse, neglect, trauma, grief or loss; global developmental delay; cerebral palsy; fetal alcohol spectrum disorders; cleft palate; Down syndrome; epilepsy; HIV; prematurity; anxiety; ADHD; or delayed motor skills.

As previously mentioned, all children who are waiting to be adopted have experienced some level of trauma due to not being raised by their biological family, and thus each child will have his or her own “special need,” and, similarly to any biological children, will need their own unique support to thrive. AGCI’s adoption inquiry team is happy to discuss with you what special needs you may be open to and explain any needs that you may have questions about. We are here for you and your family to talk through the spectrum of conditions.

Additionally, to better prepare for adoption you will take 40+ hours of pre-adoptive training through Families Are Forever (FAF). Through FAF, you will learn new tools and be introduced to Trust-Based Relational Intervention®. We are hopeful that through these courses, you will feel more open and confident about considering these specialized needs.

What does in-country travel look like?

In-country travel requirements are dependent on the country program. Travel can vary between 1-2 trips and last from 5 days to 14+ weeks. You can learn more about each country’s travel requirements on our International Adoption Programs page.

How do I know if my family is eligible for adoption? Are single moms or single dads eligible for international adoption?

Eligibility varies greatly from country to country. The simplest way to learn more about our country programs is to fill out our free pre-app and talk to one of our Adoption Advisors. Our expert Adoption Advisors will help determine which country program is right for you.

Generally speaking, eligibility for international adoption rests on income, family history, age, and marriage status. Single parent adoption eligibility differs between country programs. To get a better idea of what country may be best for your family, please fill out our pre-app linked above.

What makes AGCI so different, and why should I choose AGCI as my adoption agency?

All God’s Children International is committed to finding families for children, not children for families. In addition to our adoption programs, we’re dedicated to intervening in the orphan crisis so that children and families have the support they need to thrive. You can learn more about how we serve children around the world here.

All God’s Children brings our experience, integrity, and compassion to find families for children. The process of adoption can be daunting. We can help you meet the requirements set by governing bodies and make the adoption process move as smoothly as possible. We are committed to ethical adoptions always. We believe that every child deserves to have hope and be loved—and we’re following God’s call to create real, lasting change for His children. We have helped more than 4,500 children come home in our 30+ years of work, and we are honored to continue that work today.

Why choose international adoption?

We understand that the first step toward international adoption is the hardest, and the unknown can be scary. However, we have seen time and time again the beauty that can come from adoption. We know that God has a purpose for each and every child, and we believe He created and blesses adoption. Adoption may not be easy, but it is worth every penny, every piece of paperwork, and every effort put into the process. We believe adoption will be one of the most beautiful things you have been a part of.

If you feel called to international adoption, please don’t hesitate to get more info today. When you fill out our no-obligation free pre-app, our team will be in touch to answer any questions and discuss your next steps in your adoption journey.