Deciding Between Domestic and International Adoption

Parents who are looking to adopt have three options: domestic infant-adoption, foster-care adoption, or international adoption. This post is going to focus on the differences between international and domestic adoption, and some of the factors you should consider before deciding which avenue you are going to pursue.

Adoption STAR has both domestic and international adoption programs. If you are currently considering adoption, and are unsure whether to follow the international or domestic path, the Adoption STAR website has a page devoted solely to helping you make the best decision for you and your family.

There is a great deal of information on this page, and I’m not going into detail, but I would suggest all parents considering adoption to look closely at this page.


Some things to consider are:

-The difference in cost between international and domestic Adoption

  • Whether you decide to follow the domestic or the international adoption path, each avenue has its own specific costs, which often equal out to a similar fee-range.

-Educational Requirements:

  • If you are going to adopt internationally through a HAGUE Accredited agency such as Adoption STAR, you are required to go through at least 10 hours of pre-adoption education. If you are going to adopt domestically there are no set educational requirements on the state level, but Adoption STAR requires you to obtain educational credits throughout the process.  Adoption STAR is a leading adoption agency in the field of adoption education and training

-Parental requirements:

  • When adopting internationally many countries have strict rules regarding the age and health of the parents, as well as single or gay parent adoptions. Domestic adoptions do not typically have the same set of regulations.  Adoption STAR works with several single parents and same sex couples.

-Wait time:

  • In domestic adoptions there is no set timetable for waiting, because the birth parents choose a prospective adoptive family. However you can control how many opportunities you receive by being open to several domestic programs at the agency, birth family background issues, possible medical risk factors, the race of the child, and to an open adoption.


  • Obviously with an international adoption you will be traveling more than in a domestic adoption. However, if you decide to adopt domestically you may need to travel to a different city or state, depending on where the baby was born.

-Children available:

  • If you are looking to adopt an infant, than you need to choose a domestic adoption, as children adopted internationally will generally be 3 years old or older.

-Child’s social background and medical history/Child’s birth family connections:

  • If you adopt internationally you are likely to have a closed adoption where your child does not know his/her birth parents, though you will have as much medical information as possible on the child, but possibly no medical or other background information on the child’s birth family. In a domestic adoption you have a greater opportunity to form a relationship with your child’s birth parents, which will give you access to their medical records. It also may make the idea of adoption easier to handle for your child, if they are able to have a relationship with their birth parents and ask them questions.

-Legal issues:

  • Whether you are adopting internationally or domestically there are many intricate adoption laws that you will need to follow and we suggest you speak to Adoption STAR for additional information.

This is just a brief synopsis of all of the information you can find on this page of the Adoption STAR website. If you would like more information on international adoption please contact our International Adoption Coordinator Lisa Geiger, MS at