Myth: It's easier and faster to adopt internationally than from U.S. foster care.


Reality: In 2011, there were 51,000 children adopted through U.S. foster care while only 9,320 children were adopted by U.S. citizens from all international sources combined.

New regulations governing international adoptions have made adoption from other countries more challenging for U.S. citizens. These regulations, which can be found on the U.S. Department of State’s Intercountry Adoption website, are aimed at protecting the rights of children and birth parents, coupled with more aggressive efforts to locate adoptive resources inside of countries that have traditionally permitted their children to be sent abroad.

In most cases, it takes roughly a year to adopt a child from the U.S. foster care system. The average time it took complete an international adoption in 2011 from Hague Convention countries ranged from 79 days to almost two years.

In addition, most adoptions from U.S. foster care are free and any minimal costs associated with them are often reimbursable. For international adoptions from Hague Convention countries in 2010, service providers charged anywhere between nothing to $64,357, with half charging less than $26,559.

These statistics came from the U.S. Children’s Bureau’s Preliminary 2011 Trends in Foster Care Report (PDF – 677KB) and the U.S. Department of State’s 2011 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoptions (PDF – 874KB).