Can immigrants adopt a child in the US? (Yes or No)

In this guide, we will answer the following question: Can immigrants adopt a child in the US? We will talk about the eligibility criteria for adopting a child in the US; the first step to adopt a baby and the requirements to adopt in the US. 

Can immigrants adopt a child in the US?

Immigrants who are U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents can adopt a U.S. citizen child as long as the state finds them eligible for the adoption process. If they want to adopt a child who is not a U.S. citizen or a U.S. lawful permanent resident, then the parents will need to be aware that this child cannot immigrate to the United States through the Hague or orphan intercountry adoption processes.

Thus, there will be a need for a lawyer specializing in immigration and international adoptions to acquire a right of residence for the child in the United States. Immigrants with temporary residency in the United States must also consult a specialized immigration and adoption lawyer if they want to adopt a U.S. citizen child.

Adopting in the US – eligibility criteria

In most cases, marital status, age, income, and sexual orientation are not grounds for automatic disqualification from adopting a child from the U.S. foster care system. No need to own a home, have children, being young, wealthy, or being a stay-at-home parent to adopt or obtain foster care.

Here are some of the characteristics necessary to be a good adoptive or foster parent:

  • Be stable, mature, reliable and flexible.
  • Have the ability to advocate for children.
  • Form a team with your family or the child’s social worker.

Adoption cost range in the US

  • Adoptions through foster homes $ 0 to $ 2,500
  • Adoptions through licensed private agencies $ 5,000 to $ 40,000 or more
  • Independent adoptions $ 8,000 to $ 40,000 or more
  • Facilitated / Unauthorized Adoptions $ 5,000 to $ 40,000 or more
  • International adoptions $ 7,000 to $ 30,000

Within the adoption process, everyone who adopts a minor must cover universal expenses. Infant adoptions within the country fall into three general categories, each with its respective costs:

  • Adoption costs through authorized private agencies: $ 5,000 to $ 40,000. The costs of this type of adoption include agency fees, which can include the cost of the home study, psychological support for birth parents, preparation and training of adoptive parents, and social services that the placement entails. of the minor with a potential family.
  • Independent adoption costs: $ 8,000 to $ 40,000 (average is $ 10,000 to $ 15,000). Independent adoptions managed by an attorney typically involve costs related to the biological mother’s medical expenses (as permitted by law), as well as legal fees for the representation of the adoptive and biological parents and the fees allowed for posting notices.
  • Adoption costs through unauthorized agencies: $ 5,000 to $ 40,000. These costs are generally the same as those of the authorized agencies.
  • International adoption costs: $ 7,000 to $ 30,000. Agencies that provide international adoption services charge fees ranging from $ 7,000 to $ 30,000. This usually includes the costs of opening files, the migration process, and court costs.

In some cases, it may include a donation to the orphanage or foreign agency. Total costs may be affected by the type of entity in the foreign country that is responsible for placing the child (for example, a government agency, a government orphanage, a charitable foundation, an attorney, a facilitator, or a combination of these).

Legal regulations for adoption in the USA

The legal requirements for adopting a baby vary from country to country. If you are thinking about adoption to increase the family, there are legal aspects that you should know depending on where you live. In the US there are different possibilities of adopting a baby and the legal regulations are governed by each state.

Compared to adoption procedures in other countries, the rules in the US are more flexible. You can opt for domestic adoption or within your own country or international adoption and there are several intermediaries through which the baby can be found, thereby increasing the chances of adoption.

First steps to adopt a baby in the USA

In the US, adoption is surrounded by multiple possibilities. You can traditionally adopt a baby, but you can also take in the child for a certain time. In many cases, adoption also includes some contact with the baby’s biological family, especially if you have siblings who have not been adopted by the same family.

There is no single place to start the procedures to adopt. There are National Public Agencies that are more oriented to the adoption of children with problems. In these cases, the adoption process does not require much time and economically the outlay is about $ 2,500.

Both time and money change if you opt for a Private Adoption Agency, a place where biological mothers who want to give their children for adoption can choose the most suitable family for their baby. Families must pass an eligibility test and are placed on a waiting list. You can also go to an Independent Adoption Agency, in which case it is necessary to have a lawyer so that all the procedures are done legally.

Requirements to adopt in the US

In the United States, the rules for adopting the adoptive family are less strict than elsewhere. Anyone can adopt, including couples, married couples or single people who present psychological and material guarantees for the baby to enjoy a good quality of life. However, the procedures to determine if a family or a person who wants to adopt is suitable are more relative than in other countries.

The minimum age to adopt a baby is considerably reduced compared to other countries, with the minimum age for adopting in the US being 18 years old. This age can vary in each state and the same happens with the years of difference that must exist between the person who adopts and the adopted minor, which is only 10 years. In most states, adoption by same-sex couples is prohibited, but this impediment can be easily remedied by allowing adoption by only one person.

What are the duties of the adoptive parents?

The same ones that the biological parents of the children have:

  1. Give them love
  2. Caring for and protecting them
  3. Provide for their basic needs
  4. Provide them with medical and mental health care
  5. Assist and guide them in everything they need
  6. Enrol and educate them according to their age
  7. Do not use physical or psychological violence
  8. Giving them the greatest possible well-being.

Who can be an adoptive parent?

Being adoptive parents is not being the caregivers of a puppy that you have to feed, bathe once a month, and play with whenever you want. 

In this category must be those who are vigilant 24 hours a day, who love great, regardless of whether the recipient of their affection is 3 or 12 years old, is of one race or another, or has the traumas that they have.

These people must always be available to hug, kiss, protect the little person who will suddenly become the protagonist of their lives and will occupy an important role within the family.

Adoptive parents, good adoptive parents, are those who do everything to educate, advise, teach, promote the best values that the child in question will need to become successful adults in emotional matters.

They are those who, in addition to maintenance, food, walks, vaccinations and toys, is in charge of offering a share of love, well-being and happiness that supports them in their present and future.

International adoption: a long and intense journey

If adopting a child outside our borders has always been a long, bureaucratic and expensive process, the truth is that this process is lengthening and complicating even more nowadays due to the modifications introduced by the main countries of origin of the children, Russia and China. 

Both have greatly hardened the conditions to adopt for ethical and legal reasons and, also, for national pride. Others, such as Morocco, Mali or Ethiopia, have directly banned them, alleging, among others, religious reasons.

The numbers are, of course, eloquent: international adoptions around the world have fallen from 45,299 in 2004 – the year of its peak – to 23,500 in 2011, due in part, experts say, to increased controls, but also because the number of helpless minors has decreased because economic conditions in their countries of origin have improved. 

So, although it is not impossible, today it is necessary to be more convinced than ever to start an international adoption process. The procedure varies depending on the country chosen and its legislation but, in general terms, we can say that you have to go through multiple stages that, in total, and on average, last three years and represent an estimated cost of at least twelve thousand euros.

Adopting abroad: first steps

The first and most important thing before starting the process to adopt abroad is to be sure of the step that you are going to take; bear in mind that the interest of the minor must always come first and not ours. And the more informed we are, the better. 

To do this, it is best to contact the competent services of your autonomous community: many have specific adoption services, or, apart from that, child protection services, where they will provide you with all the information you need.

Once decided, the next thing is to submit your application and the long list of documentation required by the regional administration so that you can open a file. Next, you must attend a preparation course. It is a program that includes group sessions with adoption applicants and expert professionals, whose objective is to help you make the decision.

Then comes one of the most important moments: choosing the country of origin of your child. Currently, the most required are Russia, China, Vietnam and Colombia, although this list varies from time to time depending on the obstacles or facilities that the issuing countries are imposing. 

In addition to your criteria, it is necessary to assess many aspects, such as empathy towards that country, the similarities with its culture and language; if you prefer that your child is similar to you physically or completely different (or perhaps this aspect is not relevant for you), or that you meet the specific requirements of the country. 

In general, a certain level of income is demanded, and that the couple is stable and healthy. Now, the demands have become more varied, especially those of the Chinese government, such as asking for a maximum body mass (to restrict adoption to obese people) or a certain level of education.

The waiting time and the cost of the processing (it is necessary to travel more than once to some countries, for example) are also very influential factors when deciding. In general, children over five years of age and those with some kind of disability or health problem are more easily adopted.

It should be remembered that although it is possible to choose a child who does not have a disability, it is not possible to decide on sex or age; however, it is recommended that you indicate your preferences in the adoption application.


In this guide, we answered the following question: Can immigrants adopt a child in the US? We talked about the eligibility criteria for adopting a child in the US; the first step to adopt a baby and the requirements to adopt in the US. 

The short answer is: it depends. As a general rule, immigrants would not immediately find suitable for adoption or fostering a child, unless they are U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents. Furthermore, adopting an immigrant child does not guarantee that he/she will automatically be granted long-term staying in the US. 

Any parent interested in a possible international adoption should consult an immigration lawyer. 

If you have any questions, comments or recommendations on this subject, please let us know!

FAQ on Can immigrants adopt a child in the US?

Can a non-US citizen adopt a child in the US?

A non-US citizen can adopt a child in the US only if they are found eligible to adopt by the US State Department. 

Can immigrants adopt a child in the US?

Immigrants who are also U.S. lawful permanent residents can adopt a child in the US. However, this will not automatically convey any U.S. immigration status to a child. 

Can you get a green card through adoption?

You can get a green card through adoption only if you have lived with your adoptive parents for at least two years before applying for US citizenship. 

What benefits do adoptive parents get?

Adoptive parents can apply for benefits such as adoption allowance; adoption pay and leave; carer’s allowance; disability living allowance for the child; Adoption Support Fund.


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