Bethany Christian Services specializes in both domestic and international adoption among other services, including foster care, refugee assistance, post-adoption services, and youth and family counseling. The national headquarters is in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with other offices in 35 states across the U.S. and additional global offices. Bethany operates international adoption programs in eleven different countries and also provides home study and post-adoption services for both full-service clients and adoptive families working through other agencies.
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Rank Chart
Waiting Time
Our Score
$20k - 35k
2-3 Years
$8k - 13k
Up to 2 years
$28k - 40k
4-12 mnths
Request only
6-36 mnths

The Good

  • International adoption
  • Domestic fee affordability
  • Foster care adoption
International Adoption

Bethany complies with the Hague Convention on International Adoption. As of 2016, Bethany places children from Albania, Bulgaria, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Hong Kong, Lithuania (for families with Lithuanian heritage), South Africa, South Korea, and Uganda. The Haiti program is on hold. Many of these international children have emotional, physical, or cognitive challenges. Bethany works with in-country adoption specialists who speak both English and the local language and are familiar with the local customs and government.

Wait times, fees, and eligibility requirements differ according to the country, and can be unpredictable even within each country. For example, the wait time to receive a referral for a child aged 4 or younger from Albania can take 2-3 years for one couple, and can be as short as 6-18 months for another couple that has Albanian heritage. Couples open to adopting a Chinese child with special needs could complete the entire process in as little as 15 months. Bethany provides detailed eligibility descriptions, rough wait estimates, and process nuances on their website.

The country fee, third party fee, travel fee, and post-adoption fees vary by country. But these fees remain constant regardless of the country:

Preliminary Application: Free
Formal Application: $550
Global Services fee: $1,800
Home study: $1,900-3,000
Program Fee 1: $3,000-5,050
Program Fee 2: $2,000-3,450
Post-Adoption Services: $1,400-2,000

Total international costs range from $18,083 (Hong Kong) to $52,168 (Uganda).

Domestic Fee Affordability

Fees for domestic adoption vary from state to state due to legal system and state regulations, but Bethany’s fees are straightforward and affordable for Michigan adoptions. Here’s the breakdown:

Application fee: $750 (non-refundable)
Assessment fee due prior to home study: $1,900 (non-refundable)
Pre-placement services fee due at approval: $5,000 (non-refundable)
Placement and supervision fee due at legal placement: $13,850
Total: $21,500

The fees above include family counseling and support, adoption education, support groups, family assessment, national networking, legal documentation, and finalization. They do not include birthparent expenses, which are required on a case by case basis to comply with state laws.

Foster Care Adoption

Foster care adoption through Bethany is an option for individuals or couples of any marital status and the costs are extremely minimal, especially with the help of grants, corporate scholarships, and contracts with the state. Waiting children are generally a minority, part of a sibling group, between the ages of 8-18, and/or have special emotional, mental, or physical needs. There is currently a huge need for foster care adoption, with over 104,000 waiting children in the U.S. Adopting a foster child from a state other than the parent’s state of residence is possible, can be a long process.

The Bad

  • Need for centralized information
Need for Centralized Information

The bad thing about having so many different branches for domestic adoption services is the lack of a unified information source. While the agency sets forth detailed information about the international programs online, they provide precious little information about domestic, directing prospective clients to contact specific branches of the company for even general questions about the adoption process. Though it seems a small complaint, it’s probably enough to make some prospective clients opt for an agency that presents more information, more clearly, more quickly.

The Bottom Line

Bethany stands out with its broad approach to helping children in a variety of avenues, such as family and youth counseling, foster care support, and refugee assistance, without sacrificing depth in its adoption-specific programs. In addition to the criteria ranked, the placement statistics, client references, and a long record of success confirm Bethany’s good name. It is worth noting that Bethany’s latest annual report reveals significant donor contributions, further indicating trust and confidence in this organization as capable and impactful.

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6 Bethany Christian Services Reviews

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  1. User Score


    February 28th, 2017 Thomasville, GA

    Spent close to $9,000 and waited for three years. Three years. Nothing. Very little support and they didn’t contact me unless they needed my annual $1,000 home study fee. Cancelled a few weeks ago and didn’t even get a courtesy “sorry for screwing you over” reply. We’re pretty poor and we don’t have $1,000 a year for a decade or however long it takes to just throw around.

    Worst mistake of our lives. I don’t care about the money. It’s the three years they took from us we can’t get back.

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    January 24th, 2017 Edgewood, MD

    Been working with over a year for foster care, they have been rude to me and lost countless paperwork. Purposely attempted to allow clearances to expire. They always make it the customer’s fault when there is a “problem” in their eyes. My caseworker even said “I won’t be able to find you children.” Stay away. I used them because I thought that they were Christian. For them it is all about the money.

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    January 23rd, 2017 Rochester, MI

    Terrible about returning calls and emails; if you get luck and get a good social worker, they can be great, but there are (in Madison Hts. Mi, anyway) explicitly unprofessional, IMO cruel, and discriminatory people who are at the top of this branch. Feel prepared to be talked down to, insulted, and rather than get a solid “apply elsewhere” a long time period of not returned calls and emails, waiting for you “to just get the hint.”

    We are Christians and good people, but (before knowing ANYTHING about us) a particular Division Supervisor – after very unChristian and derogatory comments to us, to our face! – made sure our communications just twisted in the wind. They give Christianity and adoption a bad name. After deciding to leave I did research and also found they earned the “Adoption Demon of the Year” award (as opposed to the “Angel of Adoption” award) for their coeercive practices in trying to get “unChristian mothers” to give up their children to the “right kind of people.” Yuck.

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    May 10th, 2016 Fort Mill, SC

    If you place your child with Bethany, you aren’t guaranteed ANYTHING. People make promises with “Good intentions” but fail to deliver. Adoptive families don’t have to write or send letters to the birthmother. Often (such as in my own case as a birthmother) the adoptive families are so afraid to let YOU OWN flesh and blood know you , they can be distant and not forth coming about the situations going on with your child. I’ve asked to see my daughter I placed with a couple. YEARS later I get a long letter about the truth of a difficult past few years for the family. How heart breaking that was. I can’t see my daughter, yet from reading one letter, her adoptive father and mother divorced and brought a now step father into the picture and LORD know how many girlfriends that the adoptive dad has allowed my daughter to meet. Yet , I HER BIRTHMOTHER, don’t even get to see her.
    If you wouldn’t give a complete stranger $100 dollars, why trust them WITH YOUR CHILD?

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  5. User Score


    March 26th, 2016 Blairsville, GA

    Bethany has the same problem as many national adoption agencies. Too many couples waiting for an adoption placement and too few expectant mothers wanting to complete an adoption plan.
    Six years ago, they stated that we would have a finalized adoption in two years. Now six years later, we don’t have any finalized adoption and no children in our home. Other problems we see is a constant turnover of case workers and increasing wait times.

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    April 23rd, 2015 Lawndale, CA

    The wonderful team at Bethany Christian supported me every step of the way. I enjoyed a successful domestic adoption within a year of beginning my process. They continue to support me and my family….and pledge to do so for life. I can’t say enough about this wonderful organization!!

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