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Domestic and International Adoption, Compared

Anyone who has even looked into the adoption process knows how stressful it can be. People looking to adopt have to go through several interviews, meetings, and rounds of paperwork before adding a new addition to their family.

There are multiple factors that can add even further complications to the adoption process. One of these is whether or not you are adopting a child domestically — assuming you’re American, from the United States — or from an international country.

For those of you deciding between international and domestic adoption, check out this post to learn about the differences and challenges associated with both.

Qualifications for Adoption

Before choosing where to adopt from, it is important that you and your partner (if you are adopting with one) are aware of the adoption qualifications in your state. Qualifications vary from state to state, so it is important that you are familiar with your location’s rules and make sure you qualify.

Private adoption agencies also may have additional qualifications, so it is important that you discuss those guidelines with them as well.

State and adoption agency requirements apply to those adopting domestically — countries outside of the United States have their own requirements.

Comparing Domestic and International Adoption


Many may expect for international adoption to be much more expensive than domestic adoption by nature of it being an international process, but that actually isn’t completely accurate. According to American Adoptions, the total cost for both options is similar — ranging from 25,000 to 50,000 dollars.

What differs between the two is what the parents are paying for. In the international adoption process, parents may have to budget for a travel visa and pay for travel expenses to stay in the country for an extended period of time during the actual adoption process. Likewise, those opting for domestic adoption may have to pay for expenses for the mother delivering their child.


As stated above, domestic adoption requires the couple to meet the requirements outlined by their state and their adoption agency. International adoption requirements are usually more strict. Many countries do not allow LGBTQ+ couples to adopt children from their adoption agencies — so make sure to research that if it affects you.

Wait Time

As you may have guessed, the waiting time may vary between domestic and international adoption procedures. Domestic adoption wait times are usually more stable and predictable because there is not the additional complication of dealing with another country and culture. International adoption wait times can be longer in certain countries due to the political climate and travel times.

Legal Aspects

Both domestic and international adoption process can have potential legal implications that could make the process even more stressful. Many of these concerns arise over the qualifications for adoption, which can vary dramatically depending on where you are. The good news is that you can reach out to an adoption attorney — like those at Maynard Law Firm — who is well-versed in the legal aspects of adoption.