Croatia International Adoption Process and Cost

Since the forming of the Hague Adoption Convention in 1995 more than 90 countries have become a party to the treaty including Croatia. International adoption also known as intercountry adoption allows U.S. citizens to adopt from foreign nations such as Croatia.

International adoption from Croatia is possible under the Hague Adoption Convention and per Croatia’s own laws. Although it is possible to adopt from Croatia the process has become much harder for foreigners in recent years and one looking to adopt internationally from Croatia must get legal counseling from someone who specializes in international adoption in Croatia. Be prepared to spend between $15-$40,000.

Croatia’s official name is Republika Hrvatska, which means Republic of Croatia. It is rich in Mediterranean and Russian culture. Croatia has fertile plains as well as beaches that border the arctic sea. Located in central Europe it has just over 4 million people and a growing economy.  

For those looking to adopt internationally from Croatia, there are some things to consider before deciding on this country for your international adoption process.

The strong economy in Croatia allows households to afford the raising of children and in most cases, family members prefer to take on children whose parents are not able to care for them rather than adopt to strangers, both domestically and internationally.

This means even a Croatian citizen looking to adopt has a hard time if they aren’t related to the child in some way.

The foster care system in Croatia exhausts every resource available to place the child in the home of a relative. This makes International adoption from Croatia a much harder process.

International adoptions to the U.S. have seen a huge fall in the last 15 years.

When starting an international adoption journey having support is crucial. Reach out to the people you know and ask for their support on your choice to adopt from a foreign nation. Having supportive people around you can make a long hard process much easier to get through.

You may even seek out other adoptive parents who have adopted internationally or from Croatia.

Preadoption Checklist for International Adoption

Before we go over the costs of international adoption from Croatia lets go over some important preadoption protocols that are best to get out of the way before you start the official process.

Contact a lawyer from Croatia who specializes in international adoption. It can be hard to find one in the U.S. who has experience with Croatian law, so you will probably have to reach out to a law firm in Croatia.

After you have all the legal information you need, decide if adoption from Croatia is right for you. The monetary and emotional costs of international adoption are a lot to consider.

Have a backup plan in case adoption from Croatia is not possible for you. It’s usually best practice to know what your expectations are early on and to have options if your first choice falls through.

Try to keep realistic expectations, the process can be much more difficult in Croatia than inother countries.

Know your strengths, be sure that you are ready to be a parent. Make sure early on that you know who you are as a person and the great things you could do as a parent or parents.

It’s not just your life you are working towards building, with adoption you will now have the responsibility of raising a child.

Prepare for anything and everything. There are many documents you must get out of the way before you start the adoption process. Get everything done beforehand that you can so that the adoption may go more smoothly and ultimately faster.

It helps to find a notary that you can use since a lot of your documents will need to be notarized.


Make sure you do your research on adoption agencies. There are some agencies that are more capable of getting a child from Croatia available to adopt. Since Croatia has a tight policy on who can adopt children you will want to go with a Hague accredited agency.

Do some research on the laws and any restrictions Croatia might have for international adoption. The more due diligence and information you can collect beforehand the better off you will be.

It also helps to do as much research on the country you are adopting from, their culture, religion and traditions. You will be making one of theirs one of your own. Find out as much as you can before you decide to adopt from Croatia.

What is the Cost of an International Adoption from Croatia?

Review your finances and make sure you are financially able to raise a child along with all the costs of international adoption, including travel, food, and transportation.

You need to have bank statements and work history that shows proof of income and financial stability.

Create a budget for your international adoption, in the next section we will go over some of the costs related to international adoption. You will need to be prepared to spend between $15-$40,000 on international adoption.

A list of fees associated with international adoption:

  1. Application Fee
  2. Agency Fee
  3. Home Study Fee
  4. Country Fee
  5. Travel Costs
  6. Government Fee
  7. Post-adoption

As mentioned above an international adoption can go as high as $40,000 and more in some cases.

You will need to find an agency that can work with Croatian adoptions and find out what their agency fees are.

Application fees can also be different depending on the state you live in. There are multiple government agencies you will have to deal with when filing paperwork and filings can get expensive.

Expect to pay over $1,000 on the U.S. paperwork alone.


Look into an international adoption clinic.

You will want to make sure the child you are adopting is healthy, and also to make sure you get all the correct medical records. You might want to gather information on an international adoption clinic. They help get all the medical records together to avoid things like, not knowing about food allergies and critical health problems.

Make sure you record the whole process. Later in life after the adoption you will want to have clear records of what happened, when, and who did what.

Make several copies of all the paperwork involved.

It helps to get a large portion of the paperwork out of the way before the adoption process starts. You will want to get the background check and be fingerprinted by the FBI.

These are standard protocols when it comes to international adoption and Croatia has even more strict laws than most.

A Detailed List of the International Adoption Process from Croatia

Chances are you are looking into international adoption and are wondering what kinds of steps are part of the process.  

Lucky for you we have come up with this list of the steps involved.

Step One – Research

The more you research you can do the better off you will be. From the country of origin to the agency, to all the financial requirements. You want to research every aspect of the international adoption process before you undertake such a long and costly process.

Open up a folder on your computer or an actual folder and start saving information now so you can be a pro when it comes time to know what to do.

Step Two – Application

Next you will want to pick an agency that does international adoptions specifically from Croatia. There are not many so you will have to dig. Once you find the right agency you will file the application, which costs a fee.

Step Three – Paperwork

You will need to start filling out the documents needed. This could take days or even weeks so get started as soon as possible. The documents you need to have put together span across several government departments and will most likely need multiple notary stamps.

Step Four – Home Study

Once you have begun the process  you will need to comply with a home study. A home study is when a social worker must come to your home and talk to all family members, making a dossier on the home environment, family situations and personal details of all that are involved.

Sometimes multiple visits are needed and other times just one does the trick. Croatia is a picky country to adopt from so there may be some extra things to cover in the home study having to do with cultural understanding.

Step Five – Travel

Next you will need to set up travel arrangements. You will have to travel to Croatia, to meet the child at the foster home. You will also need accommodations for hotel and transportation, all of which go into the cost of the adoption.

You will need to pay the country fee and fill out all documentation in Croatia needed to escort a child back to the U.S.

This step is the most important. You will need to make sure you have all your medical history, passports, and also make back up plans.

Things can happen while abroad and you need to be as prepared as possible for what can go wrong.

Step Six – Post Adoption

After the adoption is complete you will have to do a post-placement. This is where a social worker returns to check on the wellbeing of the child and the new environment. These can sometimes turn into multiple visits and also come with a fee, that takes care of the staff and paperwork.

You may need some financial assistance. So, before you start step one you need to look into your options if you can’t afford the whole process. Here is a list of funding options to consider:

  • Adoption Grants
  • Adoption Loans
  • Fundraising
  • Charities  

Most people do not have the money to privately fund an international adoption so if you don’t start with those close to you. Do a bake sale or throw a BBQ fundraiser and then go on from there to investigate grants and loans.

If you qualify for a loan you may be able to get assistance that way through an organization that helps with the process.

Your complete financial history comes into account when applying for an international adoption from Croatia.

Make sure you have the means to throw the money together yourself or find others to help.

When you get to Croatia and even before, you need to talk to a international adoption lawyer. The laws in Croatia are different from other nations and having a law specialist in that field is something you won’t be able to go without.
Choose the right lawyer.

That will need to be added to the overall cost.

This is an exciting process once you have made up your mind and have gone through all the channels.

You will need to stay mentally sharp. You will be asked many times for information and documentation. You will have to present documents multiple times so make lots of copies!

Transition into a Forever Family

The transition from adopting a child from Croatia can be a long journey. There can be language barriers and many more obstacles once you make it home with your child.

You will have to obtain citizenship for your child and that can be a lengthy process so bear in mind that you must take care of all arrangements beforehand with the state, U.S. government and the government of the country you’re adopting from.

Once you have the visa and citizenship part taken care of as well all other necessary regulations and special documents. You can begin to sleep easy.

What Can You Expect to go Wrong?

Many things can go wrong with the process. Sometimes you will just need help from your social worker on fixing small clerical mistakes.

You may also wait and wait but not get on the list to adopt from Croatia. As stated a few times in this article it is very hard to get an adoption into the U.S. from Croatia if you are in no way related to the Child.

It is not impossible, but you must prepare for anything

Once again do not set your hopes too high and have real expectations.

Raising a child can take a lot out of a person emotionally and physically. Add to that the pains of the international adoption process. You will need to take time to work on your mental health, take help from friends and make sure you have the right people around you.

Like other international adoptions, you will have to have a clean criminal record. You must pass the background check and fingerprinting. It also helps to surround yourself with credible people.

Fundraising is an Important Part of the Process.

Start researching different ways to raise funds for your adoption. There are so many good ways to raise money, through benefits, bbqs, bake sales, auctions, raffles.

Get accustomed to these methods and make sure you have all the funds needed to fund the adoption as well as being able to make it financially in the years after the adoption when you become a family.

Donations are also acceptable.

If you know anyone who would donate hit them up. There are plenty of ways to gather donations, from churches to charities to online apps.

If you really want this change in your life do not let anything stop you from getting what you want. Make this happen!

What Happens Now?

Now that you have some of the information you need on international adoption from Croatia and its costs. Start your process of gathering documents and data.

Get fingerprinted and have the background check. Do all of the aforementioned preadoption steps and let the journey begin.

Do not be intimidated by the process. Work through each step and you will be well on your way to becoming an adoptive parent.

You have what it takes to get through each and every step along the way, just make sure you go by the book and get everything you need documented. Keep records of ever part of the process.

Surround yourself with good people and remember that good character goes a long way. Once you have completed the process, consider helping others who are looking into international adoption from Croatia.

One last thing to consider after an adoption from Croatia, and from a foster home is the behavior of a child. Many children in foster homes can be troubled and may take extra care. You’ve done your research though, and you got this!

Some Related Questions

Does international adoption into the U.S. require you to be a U.S. Citizen?

Absolutely. You must also obtain citizenship and a visa for the child through immigration. In Croatia you must also be over 25 and married. Make sure you meet these requirements before considering an adoption from Croatia.

Does Croatia adopt special needs kids?

Croatia does allow adoptions of special needs kids. One group to research for more information on that subject is the Rainbow Kids organization. They specialize in international adoption and children with special needs.

Chad Kilpatrick

A freelance writer passionate about adoption and helping to find children in need a forever home.

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