Frequently Asked Questions


What are AWAA's requirements for adoption?

Who can Adopt?:

How can I meet with America World in person?
We have seminars dozens of times a year. Check the Upcoming Events page for information about any currently scheduled seminars. We normally conduct these seminars in partnership with an area church, which allows us to use their facilities for the meeting.

We also meet with people on a one on one basis and provide them the same information that we would give out at a seminar. If you would be interested in this, you can contact us to set up a time.

We are very open and non-competitive in nature.

Choosing an adoption agency

is an extremely personal choice - and a good match depends as much on the program offered as the personality compatibility between the agency/organization and the parent(s). You should be asking as many questions as you can. In fact, we believe that the more information you have - the better decision you will make in regard to the agency you choose.
Does America World work with people outside of their local area?
The fees for local and out-of-state families are the same, and we work with people all over the country. Although that means people in other states do not get to meet us face-to-face, we still guide and assist you via phone/email through all the adoption stages. We often have people fax us a document to make sure it has been authenticated correctly - or email/call to check on this or that aspect of the process. We are here for all our families.

See our State Office pages for more information on the states in which America World is licensed to complete home studies. If we are not licensed by your state, we can still act as the placing agency for the adoption, but will recommend other home study organizations for you to complete that portion of the process.
Do I need to be an American citizen to adopt a child through America World?
It is required that at least one of the parents be an American citizen for the adoption to be legitimately processed through us. The adoption is based on the qualification of the parent who is a US citizen.
Do I need to be a Christian?
We are a

Christian-based organization

and work with people from a myriad of backgrounds, cultures, denominations and perspectives. We do not consider a parent's background, culture, denomination or perspective an exclusionary factor to adopt a child, but we do request that at least one parent agree to the Statement of Faith found on the AWAA application.
Are there requirements for the health of the parents?
America World has some requirements regarding health. There is a physician's form in our dossier guidelines, which lists everything we require your doctor to evaluate. Generally, each country will not refer children to individuals with infectious diseases. If this is a concern to you speak with the individual conducting your home study. They will have the specific criteria upon which your health status will be evaluated. Every country has different levels of acceptable medical conditions, so please visit the requirements section of each program to see specifics.
Are there any age criteria to adopt?
Each country has its own age criteria. See the Programs page for more information and click the "Requirements" link on the left menu.

Are there any restrictions for people who are divorced?
To adopt you cannot have been divorced more than two times. Married couples are required to be married for more than one year before adopting.

Please review our Agency Adoption Requirements for a complete listing of America World adoption requirements.
If I have had any involvement with the law, including arrests, charges, convictions, etc., on my record, even if I believe it has been expunged, is this going to preclude me from adopting?
Not necessarily.  If you have been arrested on a felony charge, it does preclude you from adopting in Russia, Ukraine, and China.  If you are applying for a Russian or Ukrainian adoption, any arrest involving alcohol must be at least 15 years old to be considered.  If you have an arrest involving drugs, it must be at least 15 years old and will be taken on a case-by-case basis.  If you are applying for an adoption from China, any arrest involving alcohol must be at least 5 years old.  If you have any police involvement with drug charges, it can only be for marijuana and it must be at least 15 years old.  Any other misdemeanor charges will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Does America World help American families adopt while they live abroad?
Yes, American citizens can adopt while living abroad and AWAA has assisted families living in various countries around the world. There is an extensive amount of research a family should complete prior to applying for a specific program. Prospective families should reference the National Council for Adoption’s (NCFA) Adoption Advocate Article No. 49 “Adoption Resources for Americans Living Abroad” and can click here to view the article and contact AWAA with any additional questions.


What are the ages of the children being adopted?
See the Programs page for more information and click the "Requirements" link on the left menu to see the ages of children available.

Are the children healthy?
Yes. All of our programs have healthy children available. However, it must be clarified that in international adoption, children are referred to as "healthy" if they are not known to have a significant medical/emotional condition. Healthy children often have effects of institutionalization which can include malnutrition, delayed development, and other minor medical conditions such as ricketts and scabies. Many of the effects of institutionalization diminish after a child is placed in a home and receives love, attention, medical care and proper nutrition. Children with repaired medical conditions may also be considered healthy.

Several of our programs have a Waiting Child Program. See the Waiting Children home page for more information on waiting children from China, Ethiopia, and Eastern Europe.

The Process:

How long does it take to adopt?
See the Programs page under "Processing Time" to learn how long it takes to adopt from a specific country.
What are my first steps in the adoption process?
There is certainly a lot of information to consider when choosing which country is the best fit for your family. We hope you will take a moment to browse through our website and read about the process, requirements, cost, and travel information for each country. If you have questions not answered by this information, please call our office to learn more.

Once you have chosen a

country to adopt from

, fill out the America World Application, providing the requested information. Our intake department will be in touch with you within 2-4 business days to let you know how to proceed.

Once you are accepted into a program, you will be a assigned a Family Coordinator who will assist you though the remainder of the process.
Does America World conduct the home study?
Click here see a list of the states in which we are licensed to complete home studies. In addition to these states, America World is in the process of becoming licensed in several other states. Our State Offices pages give a detailed look at the process in our licensed states.

Individuals living in these states should contact their local America World office for information regarding a home study. Those living outside our local office areas are encouraged to use one of our partner agencies.

If one is not listed for your state you can find someone to conduct your home study by doing a web search for "Adoption Agencies." Call and ask for a cost estimate for only a home study. Be sure to ask what their estimate includes and what it does not include. Also, countries require 2 or more post placement reports - so when you are getting price quotes, make sure the agency includes the price for the post placement visits in their quote. In most metropolitan areas, home study/post placement reports total approximately $1,900. Our intake department will need to approve any home study agency that is not listed on our site before moving forward.

After you have been approved, we can then step in and process the international component of the adoption.


Why does adopting a child cost so much?
It is true,

adopting a child

should be free. Unfortunately an

international adoption

is quite a complicated legal process. During your adoption process, you (and the agency you are adopting through) will be working with a myriad of entities. These include foreign governments, the USCIS department, county and state authorities, as well as the federal level state department (not to mention the numerous notaries you will need, police checks, medical reports and social services evaluations). There are many people who spend a lot of time working to adequately prepare the legal procedures for the adoption process, and it ultimately ends up costing quite a bit of money. When you receive our information packet, you are provided a complete breakdown of the costs involved. We include estimates for every cost you will encounter. Although most of the money you pay to other entities, not to us, we still include them in our estimate so that you can know realistically all the costs you will be responsible for during the adoption.

Please note that the most up-to-date cost breakdowns are listed on our website for each program.
What financial assistance is available for prospective parents?

cost of adoption

may seem overwhelming, but there are many organizations that work with families to assist with the expenses. We have a list of these organizations on our Financing Adoption page. Please contact these organizations for information on what they offer.
Are there any discounts available?
Pastor’s Discount:
One of the two spouses or the single applicant must be a part-time or full time minister (20-40 hours per week) as defined by the IRS. The prospective adoptive family meeting this requirement is eligible for a 10% reduction in program fees

Military Discount:
One of the two spouses or the single applicant must be in a branch of the military on active duty, and the combined income of both spouses must be $70,000 or less. If they meet these requirements, they will receive 10% off of their program fees for the country from which they are adopting.

Second Adoption Discount:
If the family is adopting through America World for a second, third, fourth, etc. time, they are eligible for 10% off of their program fees, regardless of the country from which they are adopting.

If families are eligible for multiple discounts, they will receive the highest discount they are eligible for, but the discounts will not be cumulative.
Is the Application Fee refundable?
The application fee is non-refundable. The purpose of sending in the application and paying the application fee is for our Intake/Social Services Department to determine eligibility for the country in which you are applying for an adoption.  There are several steps and much time that goes into determining eligibility.  In addition, if you are denied for some reason, additional resources are investigated and offered as alternative options.