America World Adoptions (AWA) does domestic infant placements for childless married couples living in Virginia and international placement in India, Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan, El Salvador, and China for couples and individuals across the U.S. The agency has previously placed children from Haiti and Honduras, but when this article was written they were not accepting applicants to adopt from those countries. Since its beginning in 1994, the agency has placed 3,750 orphans from 13 different countries.
AWA is licensed and Hague/COA accredited in 24 states. To see which services the agency offers in a particular state, prospective clients can select a state. Each state has a page showing the cost breakdown, local seminars and references, FAQ’s for that particular state, and contact information.
- Educational Experiences
- Fee Structure
- Refunds and Transfers
Along with standard training and preparation for adoptive parents before placement, America World Adoption makes available unique learning experiences for families who have already adopted or are considering adoption. AWA's "Storyteller Missions" advocate adoption by providing adopted children to experience the culture of their birthplace together with their adoptive parents. The 2016 mission trips are to China, Haiti, Ethiopia, Honduras, Uganda, India, Cambodia, and China. Welcoming Angels is AWA's temporary hosting program where U.S. families can host orphaned children ages 8+ from China for 2-3 weeks. Hosting fees are about $2,000 per child, and AWA hosting liaisons usually help organize fundraising efforts to help cover the cost. All children must return to their native country after the program is over, but they are all adoption-eligible if families would like to begin the adoption process after the program.
Adoptive families can expect to pay around $30,000 or less for a domestic adoption in Virginia, the only state currently accepting domestic applications:
- Application: $350
- Agreement: $2,000 (due when client submits signed agreement for services)
- Home study: $2,000 + travel
- Clearance for home study: $120
- Adoption Education Courses (online): $70-100
- Profile books: $90
- Approval/Pool: $4,000 (paid when home study and family profile book are complete and entering pool of families shown to birthparents)
- Placement Agreement: $12,000 (paid when child is legally free for adoption and in client's care)
- Post-placement: $450
- Medical care for pre-natal/delivery: $0-10,000
- Finalization: $1,200
- Total: $23,430-33,460
- (average $28,445)
International adoption fees through AWA are generally in the same range as domestic fees, even including travel expenses. Here are the averages and wait times:
- China cost: $32,150 (10-24 months)
- India $34,602 (18-24 months)
- Ethiopia $31,430 (36-48 months)
- Kyrgyzstan $38,855 (18-24 months)
- El Salvador $27,292 (variable)
- (Haiti $29,975 - not currently open)
- (Honduras $33,510 - not currently open)
The agency provides a 10% discount for families who fit any of these criteria:
- Pastor's Discount: One of the two spouses or single applicant is a part-time or full-time minister (20-40 hours/week) as defined by the IRS
- Military Discount: One of the two spouses or single applicant is in a branch of the military on active duty, and the combined income of both spouses is $70,000 or less
- Second Adoption Discount: The family is adopting through America World for a second, third, fourth time
- (A family or individual can only redeem one discount, even if they are eligible for more than one)
Refunds and Transfers
The agency is transparent about which fees are refundable and transferrable, and which are not. See this page for details: http://www.awaa.org/forms/refundpolicy.aspx. The biggest payment, the bulk of the placement fee, is not paid until the child is in the adoptive family's care, which helps prevent the need for a refund or transfer. If a family is matched with a birthmother through another agency while enrolled with AWA, AWA will cover the post-placement services with the first installment of the program fee paid when entering the pool.
- Openness Requirements
Many prospective adoptive families will not meet the agency's standards of sexual orientation and faith identity. In addition, each country has its own eligibility requirements that must be met. America World Adoption believes children should only be placed into Christian families with a heterosexual marriage or single heterosexual individual. In addition, one of the parents, or the individual, must affirm one of AWA's four specific statements of faith:
- The Bible is the inspired, only infallible, written word of God.
- There is one true God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died an atoning death, and was resurrected.
- All are sinful and need justification by grace through faith and rebirth by the Holy Spirit for salvation.
While most agencies encourage a degree of openness in adoption, AWA requires it of adoptive families placing domestically. This may not be a common deterrent, as the majority of both birth and adoptive parents desire a level of openness - but it is a limiting criterion nonetheless. All families must agree to:
- If she requests, meet the birthmother prior to the child's birth and schedule follow-up meetings as desired
- If the birthmother requests placement directly from the hospital after birth, visit her and be present at the hospital at discharge
- Allow the birthmother to keep the family profile book
- Provide updates about the child with letters and photos quarterly the first year, twice yearly the second year, and annually each year until age 18.
The Bottom Line
America World Adoption has a strong international adoption program supplemented by outreach efforts and continual networking in the countries it works with. This kind of stability is a good sign in the often-unpredictable realm of international adoption. They have their bases covered, too, with accreditation in nearly half the U.S. states and representation in many more. Just be prepared to affirm a statement of faith and be ready for a wait of up to two (or more!) years before bringing a child home.