Adoption Basics: Options

By Focus on the Family
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Take the time to determine the adoption option that is best for you and your family.

When considering if adoption is right for your family, it is important to know the distinctions between the different types.

Domestic Infant Adoption

In a domestic infant adoption, a birth mother makes an intentional adoption plan for the baby. Often this involves working directly with a licensed placing agency that will facilitate the adoption between the birth mother and the adoptive parents. Agencies licensed to do this often have many potential adoptive families, and the birth mother frequently has some level of input regarding whom the adoptive family should be.

The costs for a domestic infant adoption range from $20,000 to $40,000. These costs can be partially offset by tax credits, which currently amount to more than $13,000 per adoption attempt. A domestic adoption can involve a lengthy waiting period, particularly for families who are very specific about the child they’re waiting for. However, for families only considering infant adoption, this tends to be the most popular option. Families should research the agency they want to work with to be sure it is reputable.

Intercountry (International) Adoption

As the name suggests, intercountry (international) adoption involves adopting children from another country. Not all countries are open to adoption by U.S. citizens, and not all agencies are licensed to facilitate adoptions from all countries. Because an international adoption involves two different governments, families must meet the adoption requirements for each country.

Before starting down this path, take the time to research and ask questions in order to identify those agencies best qualified to complete the adoption. International adoption is often expensive – ranging between $15,000 and $45,000 depending on the country and agency you work with – and the wait can be lengthy, anywhere between one and four years.

It’s also important to understand that a country reserves the right to deny an adoption or close adoption proceedings abruptly if they deem it necessary or appropriate – regardless of the number of families currently in the process.

Adoption From Foster Care

Adopting a child from the U.S. foster care system is a frequently overlooked option. Many people don’t realize how many orphans there are in America because we no longer have orphanages, yet there are currently more than 100,000 children and youth in foster care waiting for adoptive families to call their own.

These hidden and often forgotten kids need love and security as much as any of God’s children. Children in foster care are usually older and have had a difficult start in life. Their birth parents’ rights were terminated so that they could have the opportunity to have a safe, healthy and happy family. These kids wait in foster care to be adopted. Their only legal parent is the state or county with custody of them.

There are minimal costs associated with adoption from foster care that can range from $0 to $2,500, and many expenses may be reimbursed through the state. Most states also provide Medicaid coverage for children until they turn 18, regardless of when an adoption was finalized. (A licensed agency in your state can provide specifics about available assistance.)

Many children in foster care may have specific factors or conditions that make them more difficult to place for adoption. Each state sets its own “special needs” definition, which may include the child’s ethnic background, age, sibling-group status, medical condition or physical, mental and emotional disabilities. The sooner they find a permanent home for each child, the better.

The majority of these kids have an unseen label or stigma that identifies them as “second class” or “not good enough.” But we know the reality – these kids are as valued by God as any child.

The U.S. has more than 300,000 churches, and God has given clear commands for Christians to take care of children in need of families. So if the command is clear and the need is apparent, why are so many kids still waiting?

Given the number of churches throughout the U.S., every waiting child in foster care could have a family today if just one family per church opened their home and hearts. The scope of this problem is too big for any one person or organization to solve, but we together we can make a difference.

For more information on adoption from foster care in your state, visit

© 2016 Focus on the Family.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Thank you [field id="first_name"] for signing up to get the free downloads of the Marrying Well Guides. 

Click the image below to access your guide and learn about the counter-cultural, biblical concepts of intentionality, purity, community and Christian compatibility.

(For best results use IE 8 or higher, Firefox, Chrome or Safari)

To stay up-to-date with the latest from Boundless, sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter.

If you have any comments or questions about the information included in the Guide, please send them to [email protected]

Click here to return to Boundless

Focus on the Family

Thank you for submitting this form. You will hear from us soon. 

The Daily Citizen

The Daily Citizen from Focus on the Family exists to be your most trustworthy news source. Our team of analysts is devoted to giving you timely and relevant analysis of current events and cultural trends – all from a biblical worldview – so that you can be inspired and assured that the information you share with others comes from a reliable source.

Alive to Thrive is a biblical guide to preventing teen suicide. Anyone who interacts with teens can learn how to help prevent suicidal thinking through sound practical and clinical advice, and more importantly, biblical principles that will provide a young person with hope in Christ.

Bring Your Bible to School Day Logo Lockup with the Words Beneath

Every year on Bring Your Bible to School Day, students across the nation celebrate religious freedom and share God’s love with their friends. This event is designed to empower students to express their belief in the truth of God’s Word–and to do so in a respectful way that demonstrates the love of Christ.

Focus on the Family’s® Foster Care and Adoption program focuses on two main areas:

  • Wait No More events, which educate and empower families to help waiting kids in foster care

  • Post-placement resources for foster and adoptive families

Christian Counselors Network

Find Christian Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Psychiatrists near you! Search by location, name or specialty to find professionals in Focus on the Family’s Christian Counselors Network who are eager to assist you.

Boundless is a Focus on the Family community for Christian young adults who want to pursue faith, relationships and adulthood with confidence and joy.

Through reviews, articles and discussions, Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live.

Have you been looking for a way to build your child’s faith in a fun and exciting way?
Adventures in Odyssey® audio dramas will do just that. Through original audio stories brought to life by actors who make you feel like part of the experience; these fictional, character-building dramas use storytelling to teach lasting truths.

Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored all-inclusive intensives offer marriage counseling for couples who are facing an extreme crisis in their marriage, and who may even feel they are headed for divorce.