There’s no question that international adoption is expensive. Between agency and country fees, and travel and visa expenses, the average international adoption costs between $25,000 and $50,000. Most international adoptions result in prospective parents adopting one child. But what if you’re considering two? Or what if you’ve been matched with a sibling group? Does it cost the same, or will you have to pay more?
Country of Origin
The first thing to consider is your child’s country of origin. In some countries (such as Colombia, Honduras, and Bulgaria) sibling group adoptions* are quite common. For these countries, the country fees tend to cost less, and there’s greater flexibility in discounted rates for multiple-child adoptions. By contrast, in countries where sibling groups are rarely seen, such as China, the country fees double. For example, instead of paying roughly $6,500 for government and orphanage fees, if you adopt two children, you will pay $13,000.
Some fees will automatically double with the adoption of two or more children. You will need to procure and pay for a visa for each child, both in the child’s country of origin and here in the U.S. You will need to pay for a second (or third) passport and medical exam, which run approximately $600 per child. Depending on the age of your child, you may face additional costs for travel, though children 2 and under can fly at 10 percent the cost of the adult fare with a “lap fare” ticket. And should you choose to have an international adoption medical specialist evaluate your children’s files, you will need to pay for each child, roughly $400 to $800 per evaluation.
It’s important to note too that different agencies have different policies and different fees. Some agencies will double the program coordinator fees for sibling sets, while others will only charge a portion of the fee. For example, if the standard program coordinator fee is $4,800, some agencies will only charge you $2,000 for an additional sibling, while others will charge you full amount. Whether you intend to adopt siblings or not, agencies set these fees independently of one another, so be sure to do your research and ask potential agencies about their policies.
Worried about the finances of adopting more than one child at a time? There is some good news. Regardless of how many children you adopt at once, your home study fees and dossier preparation fees will remain roughly the same, as will your post-placement reports. Though it may seem daunting, the overall amount you’ll spend will be significantly less than a full second adoption. And you can benefit from the Adoption Tax Credit more than once!
Click here for a real couple’s international adoption story.
*It is very rare to adopt non-related children at the same time in international adoption. Most multiple-child adoptions take place through sibling sets. Outside of sibling group adoption, several countries, such as China, insist on a minimum one-year lapse between adoptions.
Jennifer S. Jones is a writer, performer, storyteller, and arts educator. In a small government office in China, Jennifer became an adoptive mother. She is passionate about the adoption community and talks about the ins and outs, ups and downs, joys and “Is this really us?!?” whenever she can. She writes about her experiences at www.letterstojack.com.