Hints on comparing agencies and fees

I have put together this checklist because of all the requests for help in selecting an agency and questions about money. Comparison of fees is often difficult because agencies call their fees different things, and the same things are not included in the fees. Dollar amounts listed are for your information only and could have changed since the last time that I checked them.

Although these lists assume an adoption from Kazakhstan, it certainly could be used for adoptions from any other country, or even to compare adoptions from different countries.

New link:

I have created at Google document at Fees comparison; you can download it and make changes to it. Or you can create a spreadsheet document, with each of the categories at the top. You can then enter the amounts, and check what is included, for each agency. Some fees, such as those for accommodations and food and travel, will probably be just estimates. I have added my own comments to some of the list items.

Additional categories you might want to include, as appropriate for your situation: parent ages, single/divorced, race, religion, ages of children available, number of other children in the house allowed, travel with other couples, reduced fees for older children or those with special needs, referral or travel to country to select child in person, allow other chilren and/or family members to travel with you.

Checklist categories:

  • Non-profit 501(c) (3); check them out with Guidestar, the Better Business Bureau, etc. (see Pre-Adoption for details.)
  • Affiliated with foreign child-finding agency such as Frank Foundation or another adoption agency.
  • How long to get dossier to Kazakhstan (includes time for translation and at the Kazakhstan Embassy/Consulate)
  • Referral times for boy/girl and Kazakh/Russian/other (how long until you travel) and/or blind referral (no information prior to travel)
  • Travel time (how long in Kazakhstan, how many trips, time between trips, escort option available)
  • Application fee
  • Home study review fee: not all agencies have this; not applicable if the agency does the home study.
  • Agency fee, when due; may also be called a dossier fee.
  • Other fees are called different things by different agencies: service and support fee, administration fee, processing fee, referral fee.
  • Dossier translation
  • Mailing fees: for FEDEX to send dossier for apostilles, to Kazakhstan Embassy, to Kazakhstan, visa applications, etc. Some of these may be included in agency fees; other wise they are difficult to estimate and compare.
  • Medical report/video: some agencies charge for duplicating and mailing tapes.
  • In-country or foreign fee: This is where it varies the greatest in terms of what is included. Any amounts I list here have been reported to me by parents who paid the fee separately.
  • In-country expenses: for adoption city and/or Almaty
    • hotel/apartment/home stay (expect around $50-60/day for an apartment in Almaty), food ($12/day eating well)
    • translator ($25-30/day), driver ($20/day), facilitator, legal representation; sometimes these are separate expenses. $70/day for both driver and translator.
    • child's Kazakhstan passport/exit visa ($300-400)
    • orphanage donation; some agencies will specify an amount of $ or an item
    • pictures for Kaz passport and US visa, a minor expense.
    • registration of child's passport in Astana ($35), travel expenses involved with this ($200-350)
  • In-country travel (not necessary if you are adopting in the Almaty area); can be air, train or hired car; if you are having your child escorted to the US, the cost could be around $5,000.
  • Post placement reports (some agencies charge to review and send them)
  • Some agencies may give you an estimated total cost. This may be helpful.

Fees that are the same, regardless of agency, or can't really be compared prior to selecting an agency:

  • I-600A application: $750, $80/adult for fingerprinting.
  • Parent passports: $97 each plus pictures; if you already have passports, they must be good for 6 months beyond your travel time, renewals are $67.
  • Home study: varies greatly, $500 to $2000+
  • Dossier: cost can vary from agency to agency because of the documents that they require, but you rarely know this before you apply. Secretary of State apostilles vary from state to state.
  • Kazakhstan Embassy dossier registration: $550 to Embassy ($250 to Legal Eaze for processing through the Consulate if you are using her).
  • Review of medical report/video by international adoption medical specialist: depends upon who is doing it; estimate $100.
  • Parent education: $100, this is a requirement of the Hague Convention that more and more adoption agencies are adding.
  • Kazakhstan visa: price varies with how long you need to stay, how far in advance you are applying, how many trips you are going to make, and whether you use a service or obtain them directly from the Embassy or Consulate.
  • Travel to and from Kazakhstan; child's fare is usually a % of adult fare on any international flight.
  • Souvenirs
  • Child's US visa: $380 payable at the Embassy in Almaty.
  • Child's medical exam: $75-100 payable to a medical clinic in Almaty; required for US visa. Can be charged.
  • Post-placement report (sometimes required to be completed by social worker; usually 6 during the three years after adoption, then done by parent until the child is 18).
  • Certificate of citizenship: $420. If arriving home after January 2004, this is sent automatically.
  • Child's US passport (as other proof of citizenship): $82.
  • Readoption in the US varies from state to state and even within the each state.

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Page last updated on 27 January 2008.

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