Easiest Countries To Adopt From 2021

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One of the most impactful choices one must make when considering adoption is selecting the country from which you plan to adopt. For instance, for citizens of the United States, should you grow your family with a child from the U.S., or should you go the international route and seek to adopt a child from a foreign country? This decision should not be taken lightly, as there are immense logistical, cultural, and even ethical concerns to consider.

That said, for many couples eager to share their love with an adopted child, one of the most influential factors in choosing a "sending" country is how easy or difficult it is to adopt from that country. Adoption programs vary greatly from country to country, and choosing one country over another can make the process years longer or shorter and add or subtract tens of thousands of dollars to the cost.

Types of adoption in the United States

Most adoptions in the United States fall into one of three categories: Private Domestic Adoptions, Foster Care Adoptions, and International Adoptions. While all three have the same ultimate goal—expanding the parent's or parents' family and placing the child/children with a family of their own—the details can differ significantly.

  • Private Domestic Adoption — Children are primarily newborns, gender is rarely selectable, birth parents may change mind or wish to be involved, medium paperwork, costs range $15,000-$45,000 (avg $35,000-$43,000).

  • Foster Care Adoption — Children are usually 6+ years old, gender can be chosen, parents/extended family often wish to remain involved, minimal paperwork and cost (may even be subsidized).

  • International Adoption — Children range from 18-24 months to toddler/preschool-aged (most common) and older, gender can be chosen, family rarely involved, massive paperwork, may take 12-36 months, costs range $20,000-$60,000 (avg $30,000-$35,000).

Why adopt internationally?

People adopt internationally for many reasons. Some are faced with a waiting list in their home country and seek international options so they can adopt sooner rather than later. Some feel called to remove children from risky situations in less-developed countries, where orphans often end up as child laborers, child soldiers, or prostitutes. Some find the range of children available to adopt is greater internationally. Some are drawn to the decreased likelihood of the child's family remaining involved (courts in the U.S., for example, go to great lengths to keep birth parents involved in a child's life. International adoptions are more likely to be "closed", which some adoptive parents prefer). Some simply fall in love with a child who happens to be from another country.

Which country is the easiest from which to adopt?

The answer depends upon the "sending" country's specific requirements, the potential parent's life circumstances, and whether the parents have a particular type of child in mind. For example:

  • Some countries require children to reach age 5 or older before adoption, which would be a poor match for parents specifically seeking to adopt a baby.
  • Some countries refuse to place children in an adoptive family that already includes several children (typically 3-4 or more).
  • Other countries only offer children with special needs—which may be more than some couples are prepared to take on, but exactly what other couples are seeking.
  • Still other countries refuse to place children with single parents, people with a body mass index BMI above a certain threshold, couples of a certain age, or especially LGBTQ+ couples (outdated as this may seem in other nations).

Finally, certain countries and/or adoption agencies may suspend international adoption services at any time for one reason or another. For example, Russia stopped allowing adoptions to the United States in 2013. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic restricted travel to many countries in 2020 and 2021, limiting many would-be adoptive parents' ability to complete the necessary visitation and adoption processes. The U.S. State Department is a good place for U.S. residents to obtain the latest information on country-level adoption news.

With these guidelines established, we hereby present the top 20 countries from which to adopt a baby (or a foster child), compiled from a collection of online lists and sources.

Top 20 Easiest Countries to Adopt a Child:

Note: This list should not be viewed as a strict best-to-next-best ranking. Because adoption is a very complex and personal process and every prospective parent's situation is different, an adopter's personal best fit may be with the country ranked 5th, 8th, or 20th ... or with a country not even on the list.

  1. Your home country — The easiest country to adopt from is often one's own. To use the United States as an example, the country's foster care system is undoubtedly imperfect, and adopting a child can be time-consuming—you may even have to wait years for a child to come available. But it will likely be much less expensive (it is often entirely subsidized), you will likely get more information about your child's family and medical history, and there is virtually zero risk of your child having been trafficked.
  2. Kazakhstan — This former member of the Soviet Union is known for the diversity of its adoptable children. One of the fastest-growing adoption programs in the world. In-country visits are required, but both couples and single parents are eligible.
  3. India — No visits required and there are many orphans in need of families, from infants to older children, special needs children, and sibling groups.
  4. Haiti — This impoverished country is home to more than 200,000 orphans, many of whom are siblings. Boasts streamlined paperwork and a "Waiting Child Program" to match parents willing to take on older children, siblings, or special needs children.
  5. China — Described as one of the world's most stable and efficient adoption programs. Often requires visits, but worth it—especially if you'd like a girl or special needs child. Places children from 5 months to 7 years old (even older for special needs children).
  6. Thailand — With fast-moving paperwork and minimal fees, this Asian country is a destination for many prospective parents. Children aged 1 to 10 years can be placed with healthy married parents in less than two years.
  7. Colombia — Prospective parents can adopt orphans aged 0-15 years from this South American country is as little as 6 months (though 1-2 years is more likely).
  8. Malawi — Comparatively affordable fees (estimated at $28,000-$32,000), less than four weeks' required visiting time, and zero COVID-19-related travel advisories as of 2021 make it relatively easy to welcome an orphan aged 18 months to 15 years into your family.
  9. Taiwan — Orphaned boys and girls of all ages are waiting for families in this Asian country. Many have various degrees of special needs.
  10. South Korea — This efficient adoption system places children as young as 6-12 months of age, as well as many special needs children. Parents must be healthy, married three years, and 29-49 years old.
  11. Bahamas — This beautiful island country is home to many orphans, aged 6 weeks and up, in need of homes and families.
  12. Ukraine — Prospective parents will need to visit for at least a month. Oddly enough, the state chooses the match rather than the parents. However, the process can be completed in a single year. Many sibling groups available.
  13. Philippines — This island country does its due diligence (and prefers Christian couples) but has a well-organized system. Most children are 3-5 years of age, some have special needs, and an in-country visit will likely be required.
  14. Bulgaria — With one of the highest rates of orphaned children in Europe,
  15. Hong Kong — This independent region of China operates its own adoption network. Available children range in age from 1-15 years and will often have some degree of special need.
  16. Uganda — Don't be spooked by the requirement that parents must live in-country for three years—a judge can waive it.
  17. Honduras — Orphans in this country are often at risk, so its encouraging that foster children of all ages can be adopted quickly.
  18. Ghana — While this African country prefers to place children domestically, once the court approves an international adoption, it can happen fast.
  19. Burundi — Parents must be 30+ and married at least 5 years, but there are few other barriers to adopting one of this country's more than 500,000 orphans.
  20. Ethiopia — Not only is this country's adoption system efficient, there is also great need thanks to the number of orphans. Sadly, recent civil unrest has forced a (hopefully) temporary suspension of international adoptions as of 2021.

The dark side of intercountry adoption

With adoption fees that sometimes climb into the tens of thousands of dollars, international or intercountry adoption can a very lucrative business. Heartbreaking as it is to contemplate, in many countries (particularly those with some level of government corruption) there is a legitimate possibility that a child offered for adoption was actually kidnapped from their original family by child traffickers. One of the best steps you can take to ensure that the child you are adopting is legitimately in need is to seek out a reputable adoption agency. You can also consider adopting a child who is at least five years old, as an older child is more likely to be able to communicate whether or not they were taken from their parents.

The Hague Convention — what it is and what it does

Finally, many countries have agreed to what is known in adoption circles as the Hague Convention, which is essentially a set of rules and guidelines designed specifically for international adoptions. Prospective parents are free to adopt from both Hague and non-Hague countries. Adopting from Hague countries tends to take longer and require more paperwork (and possibly more in-country visits) as compared to non-Hague countries, but it gives both the children and the parents better protections: fees are disclosed more transparently, screening is more in-depth, adoption records are kept for 75 years, any existing medical information is included, the child has already been legally declared an orphan by the sending country (which helps prevent trafficking), and so on.

Easiest Countries To Adopt From 2021

Country 2021 Population
China1,444,216,107
India1,393,409,038
United States332,915,073
Indonesia276,361,783
Pakistan225,199,937
Brazil213,993,437
Nigeria211,400,708
Bangladesh166,303,498
Russia145,912,025
Mexico130,262,216
Japan126,050,804
Ethiopia117,876,227
Philippines111,046,913
Egypt104,258,327
Vietnam98,168,833
DR Congo92,377,993
Turkey85,042,738
Iran85,028,759
Germany83,900,473
Thailand69,950,850
United Kingdom68,207,116
France65,426,179
Tanzania61,498,437
Italy60,367,477
South Africa60,041,994
Kenya54,985,698
Myanmar54,806,012
South Korea51,305,186
Colombia51,265,844
Uganda47,123,531
Spain46,745,216
Argentina45,605,826
Sudan44,909,353
Algeria44,616,624
Ukraine43,466,819
Iraq41,179,350
Afghanistan39,835,428
Canada38,067,903
Poland37,797,005
Morocco37,344,795
Saudi Arabia35,340,683
Uzbekistan33,935,763
Angola33,933,610
Peru33,359,418
Malaysia32,776,194
Mozambique32,163,047
Ghana31,732,129
Yemen30,490,640
Nepal29,674,920
Venezuela28,704,954
Madagascar28,427,328
Cameroon27,224,265
Ivory Coast27,053,629
North Korea25,887,041
Australia25,788,215
Niger25,130,817
Taiwan23,855,010
Sri Lanka21,497,310
Burkina Faso21,497,096
Mali20,855,735
Malawi19,647,684
Chile19,212,361
Romania19,127,774
Kazakhstan18,994,962
Zambia18,920,651
Syria18,275,702
Guatemala18,249,860
Ecuador17,888,475
Senegal17,196,301
Netherlands17,173,099
Cambodia16,946,438
Chad16,914,985
Somalia16,359,504
Zimbabwe15,092,171
Guinea13,497,244
Rwanda13,276,513
Benin12,451,040
Burundi12,255,433
Tunisia11,935,766
Bolivia11,832,940
Belgium11,632,326
Haiti11,541,685
South Sudan11,381,378
Cuba11,317,505
Dominican Republic10,953,703
Czech Republic10,724,555
Greece10,370,744
Jordan10,269,021
Azerbaijan10,223,342
Portugal10,167,925
Sweden10,160,169
Honduras10,062,991
United Arab Emirates9,991,089
Tajikistan9,749,627
Hungary9,634,164
Belarus9,442,862
Papua New Guinea9,119,010
Austria9,043,070
Israel8,789,774
Switzerland8,715,494
Serbia8,697,550
Togo8,478,250
Sierra Leone8,141,343
Hong Kong7,552,810
Laos7,379,358
Paraguay7,219,638
Libya6,958,532
Bulgaria6,896,663
Lebanon6,769,146
Nicaragua6,702,385
Kyrgyzstan6,628,356
El Salvador6,518,499
Turkmenistan6,117,924
Singapore5,896,686
Denmark5,813,298
Republic of the Congo5,657,013
Finland5,548,360
Norway5,465,630
Slovakia5,460,721
Oman5,223,375
Palestine5,222,748
Liberia5,180,203
Costa Rica5,139,052
Ireland4,982,907
Central African Republic4,919,981
New Zealand4,860,643
Mauritania4,775,119
Panama4,381,579
Kuwait4,328,550
Croatia4,081,651
Moldova4,024,019
Georgia3,979,765
Eritrea3,601,467
Uruguay3,485,151
Mongolia3,329,289
Bosnia And Herzegovina3,263,466
Jamaica2,973,463
Armenia2,968,127
Qatar2,930,528
Albania2,872,933
Puerto Rico2,828,255
Lithuania2,689,862
Namibia2,587,344
Gambia2,486,945
Botswana2,397,241
Gabon2,278,825
Lesotho2,159,079
North Macedonia2,082,658
Slovenia2,078,724
Guinea Bissau2,015,494
Latvia1,866,942
Bahrain1,748,296
Equatorial Guinea1,449,896
Trinidad And Tobago1,403,375
Timor Leste1,343,873
Estonia1,325,185
Mauritius1,273,433
Cyprus1,215,584
Eswatini1,172,362
Djibouti1,002,187
Fiji902,906
Reunion901,686
Comoros888,451
Guyana790,326
Bhutan779,898
Solomon Islands703,996
Macau658,394
Luxembourg634,814
Montenegro628,053
Western Sahara611,875
Suriname591,800
Cape Verde561,898
Maldives543,617
Malta442,784
Brunei441,532
Belize404,914
Guadeloupe400,020
Bahamas396,913
Martinique374,745
Iceland343,353
Vanuatu314,464
French Guiana306,448
New Caledonia288,218
Barbados287,711
French Polynesia282,530
Mayotte279,515
Sao Tome And Principe223,368
Samoa200,149
Saint Lucia184,400
Guam170,179
Curacao164,798
Kiribati121,392
Micronesia116,254
Grenada113,021
Saint Vincent And the Grenadines111,263
Aruba107,204
Tonga106,760
United States Virgin Islands104,226
Seychelles98,908
Antigua And Barbuda98,731
Isle of Man85,410
Andorra77,355
Dominica72,167
Cayman Islands66,497
Bermuda62,090
Marshall Islands59,610
Northern Mariana Islands57,917
Greenland56,877
American Samoa55,100
Saint Kitts And Nevis53,544
Faroe Islands49,049
Sint Maarten43,412
Monaco39,511
Saint Martin39,234
Turks And Caicos Islands39,231
Liechtenstein38,250
San Marino34,017
Gibraltar33,698
British Virgin Islands30,421
Palau18,169
Cook Islands17,565
Anguilla15,117
Tuvalu11,931
Wallis And Futuna11,094
Nauru10,876
Saint Barthelemy9,907
Saint Pierre And Miquelon5,766
Montserrat4,977
Falkland Islands3,533
Niue1,619
Tokelau1,373
Vatican City800

Easiest Countries To Adopt From 2021