International adoption fees are on the rise

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COLUMBIA – The government recently raised fees connected to international adoptions.

Any adoption agencies wanting to handle overseas adoptions must go through a new accreditation process, which can be costly.  The rising fees are coming from the US State Department in response to scandals and corruption surrounding international adoptions.

Domestic adoptions can start at $20,000 while international adoptions can start at more than $30,000. 

A Gift of Hope Adoption’s Director of Placement Services, Elizabeth Ehlen, says the extra fees for international adoption can include “anything from travel expenses to caring for the child while they are still in their country.”

Ehlen went on to explain maintaining the accreditation is the most costly aspect of the process.

The number of foreign children adopted by families in the United States in 2016 was recorded at 5,372, which was a 76% drop from the peak number of 22,884 in 2004.

The Regional Director of Lutheran Family and Children’s Services believes the new fees will only cause the number to drop even more.

“I don’t think we would see as many families pursuing it because of the increase of costs but I guess time will tell in regards to that,” Heather Wall said.

Lutheran Family and Children’s Services is an accredited agency and wants to do its part to try and help keep their fees low for prospective families.

“We will continue to do our home studies and post-placements for those wanting to adopt internationally.  Since we are one of the three Hague Accredited organizations, we want to be available to those families who want to pursue that,” Wall said.

The National Council for Adoption is working to fight the rising fees.  The organization hopes it can convince Congress to rethink the decision.