10 Things You Need to Know About Adoption

Domestic and International Adoptions

With the spotlight seemingly always on celebrity adoptions -- especially celebrities adopting abroad -- you may think that most adoptions are international, but both domestic and international adoptions are common. In fact, annually, about 25,000 to 30,000 infants are adopted in the U.S. That number buries the total of all intercountry adoptions, considering that, in 2008, those totaled 17,438 [source: Adoptive Families Magazine]? So how do they vary?

First, remember that the decision is personal -- whether to adopt here or from an eligible international area, such as Asia, Latin America or Eastern Europe. It's only then that other factors come into play, including cost. Domestic adoptions are usually less expensive -- around $20,000 to $25,000. Intercountry adoptions typically range from $25,000 to $35,000, depending on travel and fees [source: Adoptive Families Magazine].

Processes also vary. For domestic adoptions, you can usually use an agency or lawyer. For intercountry adoptions, though, you typically work with a U.S. private, nonprofit agency that partners with an organization in the child's country.

Although timelines have a wide range, as well, waits are far from the mythical "forever." Instead, an international adoption can come in at fewer than two years, a domestic adoption of an infant averages around two years, and adoption of a domestic child from foster care can vary from about two months to a year [sources: Adoptive Families Magazine, Cody Epstein].