Adopting From South Korea

Adoption Requirements

Family Requirements
AgeMinimum age of 25 for both parents, and no older than 43 years when the preliminary application is submitted.
MarriageThree years minimum. No more than 1 divorce per spouse is allowed.
SinglesNot accepted.
IncomeMust meet USCIS Poverty Guidelines and demonstrate sufficient income for household size. The South Korea program prefers a minimum household income of $30,000
Children at HomeAccepted with documentation of sufficient resources to care for additional children. Families with more than 4 children will be considered for Waiting Children only. Please note that the youngest child in the home must be one years old by Home Study completion.
CriminalSouth Korea will not consider families with multiple criminal offenses; a DUI 10-15 years prior, however, will require a letter of reference and an assessment will be made in the home study.
Health of Adoptive Parents Health issues (including those who are overweight) must have a statement from a physician. Families with a history of substance abuse and/or pornography are not accepted.
Concurrent Adoptions 

Not allowed.



Two trips of 7-10 days and 4-5 days respectively with 1 month in between OR 1 trip option that would be 4-7 weeks


  • The time for a referral is 26-30 months after the home study approval. After the referral, the time frame varies, but is generally from 8-18 months. 

  • The adoption is finalized in the U.S. This occurs in Family Court at the county level.

  • Post-Adoption placement visits and reports are required at arrival, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months.
Special Considerations
The adoption process is changing, with new requirements to be implemented in the summer of 2012. Families will be required to travel to Seoul to attend the court process. The South Korean government limits the number of children that are placed for international adoption on an annual basis, leading to increasing time frames between referral and travel. Currently, Bethany is only accepting applications for Waiting Children.
Please use our fee calculator to get an estimate of fees for adopting from South Korea.


Our Partner

South Korea was Bethany's first international adoption program and started in 1982. Bethany partners with Holt Children's Services and their main office in Seoul to facilitate adoptions. Established in 1955, Holt Children's Services has numerous branch offices throughout South Korea that provide a variety of social services to children and families.


Our Children

Children eligible for adoption range from 6 months to 5 years old at the time of referral.  Both boys and girls are eligible; gender, however, may not be requested. Older children and sibling groups are rare.


General Requirements FAQs

Do I have to travel to pick up my child?
Yes, at least one trip to the child’s country of origin is required. Bethany strongly encourages both parents to travel to pick up their child.

Disclosure of information: How much of my personal history do I need to disclose?
In order for Bethany to fully advocate for children and support its adoptive families, full disclosure of information is imperative.  All criminal and drug histories must be disclosed, including those that have been expunged.  Failure to disclose can result in delays, extra expenditures and termination of contractual agreements. A history of a DUI conviction is discussed during the home study and is reviewed by the countries on a case by case basis.

What medical histories are accepted for adoptive families?
Applicants must document that they are in good physical and mental health.  A Physician’s Report for adoption for each parent must be included with a family’s formal application.  Each country is specific in which medical conditions it will accept in an adoptive parent.

What are the costs of an international adoption?
The costs incurred during the process of the adoption include country fees, Bethany fees, travel costs, immigration fees and other fees such as shipping and translation of documents.  The total cost will vary depending on the country chosen.  Minimum total costs are approximately $25,000.  Financial assistance may be available.

What if I have a DUI conviction from 10 years ago?
Some countries that Bethany works with will accept a DUI conviction that occurred in the past; these cases are reviewed by the countries on a case by case basis.

What is required after the adoption?
Depending on the country, Post-placement Reports are required. These reports are a summary of the assessment completed during each post-placement visit and are sent to the child’s country of origin with photographs

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