Adopting a Child or Newborn

Which is Right for Your Family?

When moving from infertility to adoption, a couple’s first question is often whether they want to adopt a child or a baby. The answer to that question will determine the recommended method of adopting.

If this describes you, consider the following – More than 99 percent of women who choose adoption for their children do so while pregnant; it is very rare for a woman to voluntarily place an older child for adoption.

Thus, adopting an older child is almost always done through the state foster care system or international adoption, and adopting a newborn is usually done through private adoption.

Here is some information on adopting an older child:

Adopting a Child from State Foster Care

In the United States, most adoptions of older children are through the state foster care system. According to the AFCARS Report, in 2011 there were 50,516 total adoptions through the state, with children ranging from 1 to 20 years old.

In most circumstances, aspiring parents interested in adopting a child through the state first need to become foster parents. It takes a special person to be a foster parent, because the goal of the state foster care system is to reintegrate the child with the birth family. Foster parents must prepare to raise a child for months or years knowing that he or she may not be a part of their family forever.

The role of foster parents is much greater than simply wanting to adopt a child through the state foster care system. A family should only become foster parents for the betterment of foster children’s lives, and not necessarily for the sole purpose of adopting. But that doesn’t mean foster parents can’t hope to one day adopt a child.

There are, however, some foster children who are ready to be adopted by families who are not foster families. Check your state’s social services department or website to see the availability of children waiting to be adopted.

Finally, keep in mind that while adopting through the state has its share of drawbacks, it is the most inexpensive method of adding to one’s family through adoption.

Adopting a Child Through International Adoption

Families interested in adopting an older child may also turn toward international adoption, but for various reasons, including a Russian ban on adoptions to the United States, international adoptions are sharply declining each year. In 2010, almost 13,000 children we adopted internationally, but in 2012 and 2013 they declined to 8,668 and 7,094, respectively.

An international adoption may cost an adoptive family between $25,000 and $60,000, depending on the child’s country of origin, and can cost even more than a private domestic adoption.

The following article compares domestic and international adoption.


If you are interested in adopting an older child, the state foster care system and international adoption are two good options. However, if you are considering adopting a newborn, you will have to adopt privately with the help of an adoption professional like American Adoptions. 

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