I believe adoption is such a unique and beautiful way to grow your family and provide the love, support, and nurturing environment a child needs. Every adoption story has the potential to be successful.

Countless resources are available to adoptive parents who are adopting a child internationally. These resources provide tremendous support and enable these adoptive families to flourish after placement. Regardless of where a child is born, they deserve a loving family.

Many children who are born in other countries, especially children with special needs, would never be adopted if prospective parents from the United States did not come along to give those children their forever homes. So today, we are going to explore international adoption.

Specifically, we are going to look into adopting from Thailand. Thailand inter-country adoption is the term used in Thailand regarding adoption by foreigners who desire to adopt a child from Thailand and raise the child outside of the country.

Let’s explore some background information on this country. Thailand is a Southeast Asian country that has a population of over 68 million people. Ten percent of the country’s entire population lives in Bangkok, which is also the capital. The primary language in Thailand is Thai and the main practiced religion is Buddhism. Thailand is one of the largest exporters of rice in this world and is a newly industrialized country. Thailand’s culture is heavily influenced by several other surrounding countries but mostly inherits traditions stemming from India, Cambodia, and China. There are currently 17.9 million children under the age of 18 in Thailand, and many of these Thai children need families.

Reasons for Thailand Children Abandonment

Thailand’s way of life is absolutely different from what we are accustomed to in The United States. There are millions of extremely poor people in Thailand. Many people are desperate to simply survive, and there is no welfare or governmental financial security put in place for the people of Thailand. A lot of responsibility is placed on the young adults of the family to work and support themselves as well as their elders who can no
longer physically work. Many of these young adults are migrant workers who often relocate to different areas to find work and send money and materials back home to their families. All of these conditions contribute to the many reasons for a child being abandoned and put in the care of an orphanage in Thailand. Below, I will list the majority of these reasons.

1. Poverty is the most common reason a child would be placed into the care of an orphanage. If a family cannot financially support their child, he or she is typically placed into an orphanage.

2. Children of migrant workers oftentimes are abandoned because the parents cannot keep up with the demands of working and taking care of a child while financially supporting their family and elders. Therefore, the child is placed in an orphanage.

3. Single mothers who have been abandoned by their husbands or boyfriends oftentimes are forced to abandon their children to go to work to survive.

4. Children born to teenagers are often abandoned because the parents are unable or unwilling to change their lifestyles.

5. Children born into abusive families are sometimes placed into orphanages.

6. Children born from a mother who was raped or involved in prostitution are typically placed in orphanages because that child becomes shameful in the eyes of its biological family.

7. A child who is sickly or has special needs is commonly placed in an orphanage.

Even though there are so many abandoned children in Thailand living in orphanages many of these children are not eligible to be adopted. The reason for this is because children must be legally surrendered under Thai law to be eligible for adoption. The Thailand government makes every effort to find a biological family before allowing a child to be adopted. The majority of Thai orphans do not fit this criterion because their biological parents have never signed relinquishment paperwork.

Children Available for Adoption in Thailand

The majority of Thailand children waiting to be adopted currently live in orphanages. Some of these orphanages are run by Thailand’s government, while others are run by non-governmental organizations or private charities. Also, foster care programs currently do exist in Thailand. This is where children live with foster families until placed with their adoptive families.

There are considerably more boys waiting to be adopted in Thailand compared to the number of waiting girls. Because of this, the adoption process is shorter when adopting a boy from Thailand versus waiting to adopt a girl.

Children may be adopted from the ages of 1 to 15 years old. However, a Thailand child who is over the age of 10 is typically never placed with a family who does not speak the Thai language. Prospective parents from the United States have been able to adopt children up to the age of 12. Even though it has been rare, some U.S. parents have even been able to adopt their Thai child before their first birthday. The average age of children adopted from Thailand is 4 years old.

Thailand’s children waiting to be adopted are mostly healthy, but some special needs children require extra love and special care. Thailand has a well-established adoption process. Therefore, each child’s background information regarding birth family, and health records are usually almost always available and well-documented. Although, there are circumstances in which a child’s abandonment cannot be traced.

Thai children are also always tested for Hepatitis and HIV, and this information is kept in their records. Although a child may seem presentably healthy, he or she may be delayed in different areas. A child who has spent the majority of his or her life in an institution will most likely have some sort of developmental delay. These children certainly have the capabilities to bloom and
flourish in the supportive and loving environment that their family will provide.

Thailand’s Requirements to Adopt

Thailand’s adoption program is unique and somewhat unlike many other international adoption programs. Thailand’s adoption process is strict and also includes different variables that factor into the adoption process for each specific adoption case. Every single adoption of a Thai child must be signed off by the Child Adoption Board of Thailand, and all factors are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. For example, parents in their forties have been asked to adopt children older or younger child with special needs. Once again, these many factors are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Below
are the absolute requirements by Thai law for prospective adoptive parents.

  • Prospective adoptive parents must be legally qualified to adopt a child in their home state or country.
  • Married couples must consist of a man and a woman.
  • Both prospective parents must be between the ages of 25 and 40 years old.
  • The youngest prospective parent must be at least 15 years older than the child being adopted.
  • The prospective adoptive family must be financially stable and must provide evidence that they can provide for the child.
  • Prospective parents must provide documentation supporting their infertility and parents must have no biological children of their own.
  • For a married couple, there must be no more than two prior divorces between each prospective adoptive parent (combined). For example, if a married couple wants to adopt and both parties have previously been divorced once before, they are eligible. If one party has had two prior divorces, and the other party has had one prior divorce, then that couple would not be eligible to adopt in Thailand.
  • Single women (not men) may petition to adopt special needs children only.
  • Prospective parents should have good health without any medical concerns.

Adoption Process and Steps

Thailand is part of the Hague Adoption Convention, which means that specific steps must be taken for adoption from Thailand to be successful. These steps must be taken in chronological order for the process to meet all necessary legal requirements. According to the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs, there are six main steps for the adoption process in Thailand. I’ve included these steps and summaries of each below.

1. Choose a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider. Only accredited and approved adoption services providers may handle adoptions between the United States and Thailand. These providers will serve as the primary provider in
the adoption case to make sure all steps are done correctly, according to The
Hague Adoption Convention and United States regulations.

2. Apply to USCIS to be found eligible to adopt. You must apply to be found “eligible to adopt” by three different agencies – the appropriate U.S. government agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You will need to submit Form I-800A. Once the form is approved, your approval letter, home study, and more will be submitted to the Thailand authority. Then, Thailand’s adoption authority will review your case to determine if you are eligible under their law.

3. Be matched with a child by authorities in Thailand once you are completely eligible. You may be referred to a child depending on your case.

4. Apply to USCIS for the child to be found eligible for immigration to the United States and receive U.S. agreement to proceed with the adoption. It is important to note that prospective parents must not attempt to adopt before a U.S. consular officer issues the Article 5 Letter in the adoption case.

5. Adopt or gain legal custody of a child in Thailand. This step in the adoption process involves a lot of communications with other parties and requirements of the necessary documentation. Working with an adoption service provider will help you with completing this step in the process.

6. Obtain a U.S. immigrant visa for your child and bring your child home. You must apply for three documents before your child can leave for the United States. These documents include a Birth certificate, Thai passport, and U.S. Immigrant Visa.

Adoption Service Providers
The steps and overwhelming processes for adopting in Thailand may seem a little uneasy. An adoption service provider can give you immense hope and comfort before you even begin. One of the most important things to consider before starting your journey is choosing an adoption provider who can assist you. Your adoption service provider will provide you the information and lead you in the right direction so that you
can successfully adopt from Thailand. Below I have listed many approved and accredited adoption service providers that have specialized and successfully helped prospective parents adopt from Thailand.

Holt International
250 Country Club Rd
Eugene, OR 97401
Phone: 1-888-355-HOLT
Email: info@holtinternational.org Website: https://www.holtinternational.org/

315 S. Second St.
Renton, WA 98057
Additional office in New York and Wisconsin
Phone: 1-800-732-1887
Email: wacap@wacap.org  Website: https://www.wacap.org/

International Christian Adoptions
41745 Rider Way #2
Temecula, CA 92590
Additional Branch Offices in CA and NC
Phone: 951-695-3336
Email: info@4achild.org Website: //4achild.org/about-ica/

Adoption Financial Fees

If you are considering adopting from Thailand, you must consider the costs that come with the process. Adoptions come with the agency, legal, and home study fees. However, for international adoptions, there are additional fees. These fees include travel and visa expenses, and additional fees needed for Thai agencies. Speak with your adoption service provider on financial options and make a plan. If you do not have all of the funds that are needed in your savings account, there are other options available that your
agency may go over with you. There are grants and reduced loans that be available to you on your adoption journey. Applying for the Federal Adoption Credit can save you more than $13,000 in adoption expenses. Ask your adoption service provider about any assistance offered.


Considering adoption? Let us help you on your journey to creating your forever family. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98.