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25 Factors to Consider When Adopting from Thailand

 Also available in a printable version

Current as of February 2009. This information is subject to change; therefore, check with an agency that places from this country for the most current information.


Parental Age

Thailand does not have set guidelines, but the trend has been:

  • Minimum 25 years and at least 15 years older than the child
  • 25-35 referred infant and older
  • 35-40 referred toddler and older or infant with special needs
  • 40-50 referred school-aged and older or toddler with special needs
  • Parents over age 50 must be pre-approved, and over 55 are discouraged.

Length of Marriage

No country requirement, but agency may have a requirement.


For a married couples, a total of 2 divorces (1 per spouses, or 2 for 1 spouse

Children in Family

Thailand does not have set requirements, but the trend has been that they will place with families with up to 2; flexible for older or special needs children and for families who have previously adopted Thai children; Youngest child in home must be at least 2 yrs. old at time of application.

Single Applicant

Single applicants accepted on a case-by-case basis. May be required to accept special needs child. Prior approval by Thailand government required.

Sexual Orientation

Does not knowingly place with homosexuals.

Children Available

12 months to 8 yrs. at time of referral. The majority are 14 months to 2 yrs. at time of referral. Children over 2 years may have some special needs.




Not a specific policy of Thailand, but many agencies require childless couples and families who already have a girl must be open to a child of either gender. Shorter wait for boys.

Adopting more than one unrelated child at same time

Not allowed.

Travel in Country

  • Both parents required to travel;
  • 8-14 days average.
  • Parents do not travel in groups.

Referral Method

Standard; referrals sent to adoption agency which then matches to family on their waiting list.

Wait for referral (after dossier is submitted)

2-6 months after dossier submission. Usually shorter if child is on waiting list with special needs.  Waiting times vary by agency due to the referral method. (See above.)

Wait after Referral

6-8 months

Approximate Cost

$11,000-$20,000 plus travel

Adequacy of medical reports

Medical and developmental information available, but not extensive.  Because the children are often relinquished by their birthparents, it is possible to receive birth family social history. 

Youngest Age Upon Arrival Home

12-14 months, but average is closer to 18 months.

Orphanage/Foster Care

Generally orphanage, although a few agencies have set up a foster care program for the children they place.

How children enter government care

Voluntarily relinquished due to poverty

Prevalence of FAS

Not enough placements to get a consensus from IA doctors interviewed.




Number of children placed in the US 2002-2008



Holding steady with about 56 to 70 children coming to the US per year.

Post Adoption Reports

Reports prepared by home study agency at 2, 4 and 6 months.

Hague Treaty


Additional Information

About a year after return to the United States, parents must go to the Thai consulate in Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York, or to the Thai embassy in Washington, D.C. to finalize the adoption under Thai law. Adds to the cost. Failure to complete this step could jeopardize future adoptions from Thailand. 

The Thai Government has a moratorium on adoptions to certain countries, including the US and Canada.  This hasn’t had the huge impact on US adoptions from Thailand that was expected since it does not apply to children placed directly from the 3 approved charities that regularly place kids with US agencies. These relief organizations include Holt, Thai Red Cross, and Friends for All Children Foundation. Make sure your agency is currently getting children placed from one of these organizations.

Since Thailand is a member of the Hague Treaty on Intercountry Adoptions, prospective parents must use a Hague accredited US agency.

Parents report that the quality of care in the orphanages that place in the US are fairly good.

Useful Links

Creating a Family Sponsors with Thailand Programs


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Available from, a nonprofit providing education and resources for adoption and infertility.  Please do not reprint without giving credit to Creating a Family and a link to the website.



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