Comparing the Pros and Cons of Domestic and International Adoption

Here are a few of the pros and cons of a domestic and international adoption. Pros and cons of adoption are usually based on three main criteria: cost, travel, and children available.


  • International adoption can be very costly, but you know upfront the fees you will be facing. This will give you time to plan and save. For ideas on fundraising for adoption see 7 Ways to Afford the Cost of Adoption.

  • Domestic adoption can cost very little, especially if you go through your state and adopt from the foster care system. For information on adopting from the foster care system see How to Complete a Foster Care Adoption.

  • The cost of a private adoption depends on agency fees, attorney fees, the race of the child (unfortunately), and whether or not you have to pay for an expectant mother's care.

For a breakdown of adoption fees see Adoption Costs.


  • International adoptions often require you and/or your spouse to travel to the country that you're adopting from for an extended stay that usually ranges from one to 3 weeks. This may be very difficult for some couples to manage with work and other children at home.

  • With some international adoptions, ​more than one trip is required.

  • When adopting domestically, or with foster care adoptions, there is usually very little travel involved, unless you are adopting from a state other than your own.

    Ages of Children Available

    • A family will never receive a newborn through an international adoption. This is not only due to the time it takes to complete paperwork and receive a referral, but the fact that some countries hold onto children hoping for an adoption to take place within their own country. Once the child reaches a certain age, the child is eligible for international adoption.

    • With domestic adoptions, whether public or private, you have a better opportunity of being placed with an infant.

    Get started with a domestic adoption.

    Get started with an international adoption.

    Get started with a foster care adoption.