Three types of adoptions. There are private agency, public agency and international adoptions. Included in the private adoption category are adoptions by relatives and Indian tribes. That category accounts for about 46 percent of all adoptions in the country, follow by public adoption agencies, which handle 39 percent of adoptions. International adoptions, referred to as intercountry adoptions, make up 15 percent of the average yearly total.
Intercountry adoptions. According to the United State Citizens and Immigration Services, there has been an average of nearly 21,500 international adoptions in a four-year period ending in 2008.
China tops list. The most popular countries for international adoptions often vary from year to year, particularly as countries react to generally political incidents and other temporarily reduce or cut off adoptions from their country to the United States for different periods of time. In 2008, the five most popular countries to find adopted children included China, Guatemala, Russia, Ethiopia and South Korea.
Adoption costs. Adoption officials have estimated that going through private sources for an adoption can cost up to $30,000, though the money varies widely. Couples adopting a child from another country can expect to pay anywhere from $7,000 to $30,000.
Adoption ages. As far as international adoptions are concerned, virtually all adoptions involved kids 5 years old or younger. More specifically, 40 percent were younger than 1 year old and 43 percent were between 1 and 4 years of age, according to the USCIS.
Three types of laws must be followed. Couple looking to adopt a child must be familiar with a variety of rules and regulations, including three different lawyers of laws. The laws of the state where the child will live must be followed, along with U.S. laws on adoptions. Additionally, prospective parents must also follow the laws of the child's home country, if an international adoption is chosen.
Home study details. The home study is required in all adoptions and is frequently a cause of concern for prospective parents, who worry they may not qualify to be adoptive parents. Families awaiting a home study should expect questions about everything from significant people in your life, your expectations for the child, you physical and health history, information about your education, job history and finances and references and criminal background checks.
The wait for an adoption. According to adoption experts, the length of time to adopt after the home study is completed varies significantly. If you are adopting an African American child, the wait is about six months, officials estimated in 2009. International adoptions take a year or more, while an adoption of a Caucasian baby can take anywhere from a year or two to five years.