When the idea of adoption starts to become real, it can be quite difficult to navigate through all of the options. It can be especially true if you do not have any specifications about age and gender of the child you would like to adopt. There can also be financial concerns about pursuing one type of adoption or another. With the concerns of all of the unknowns that come with any adoption process, it can be a challenge to choose the best adoption process for you. Here are some tips to narrow down your process decision:


The process you choose will depend highly on the preferences you have for your future child. If you want to adopt an infant, your best bet is to choose domestic adoption where a birth mother matches with you. If your preference is to adopt a child over the age of three, foster care and international adoption would be an option for you. The kids within foster care and international countries tend to be older, or in the case of international adoption, the process can take quite some time.


Not all adoption processes are equal when it comes to financial commitment. Adoption from foster care can be little to no cost as the state will absorb most of the process costs in this case. Domestic adoption can range anywhere from $15,000-$40,000+ with fees often including agency, home study, matching, counseling, and additional fees. Adoptive parents may also be subject to birth mother expenses. With international adoption, fees can easily exceed $50,000 once agency fees and travel costs are involved. Decide where you are comfortable with landing financially with room for the unexpected.


The timelines can vary greatly, though they may vary even within their process. With foster care adoption, things can move fast. There is such a need for foster care adoption that the process will move fairly quickly depending on the state agency handling the adoption. As you will likely have already matched with a child, the home study process and training are the main hurdle before transitioning your child home. The process can typically take one year to 18 months.

In domestic adoption, the home study process and getting approved to adopt may seem like the hardest process; it is the wait to be matched with a child that can be excruciatingly long. Once matched with a child, unless it is a case where the child has already been born, you will then wait for the birth of the child which can be a few days to a few months. After the child is born, there is a risk of a “failed match” where the birth parent(s) changes their mind, and you are back to square one.

Internationally, it is a matter of situation and country when it comes to how long it will take. There are processes and paperwork you will need to go through in the United States to become eligible to adopt, followed by more processes and paperwork to become eligible to adopt in the child’s home country.  The child then has to be deemed eligible to adopt by the United States and their home country. It is a lot! The process can take months to years, and there are many changes that can take place.

When choosing what is the best adoption process for you, it is best to make a list of what you want. Write down your financial abilities, preferences for the child, and the timeline to which you are ready to commit. It should give you a much better idea of the best adoption process for you.

Lita Jordan is a master of all things “home.” A work-from-home, stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of five. She has a BA in Youth Ministry from Spring Arbor University. She is married to the “other Michael Jordan” and lives on coffee and its unrealistic promises of productivity. Lita enjoys playing guitar and long trips to Target. Follow her on www.facebook.com/halfemptymom/.