Adoption Program

Small World is the only USA Agency accredited in Lesotho. We work with US Citizens worldwide who wish to adopt a child from Lesotho and have been doing so since 2013.  Small World is proud to partner with Malefa Semekela as our liaison in Lesotho.

This Small World Adoption Program qualifies for financial grants by the foundations who partner with Small World. The granting foundations are solely responsible for approving or denying prospective adoptive parents.

*Due to the limited amount of families we accept into our Lesotho Program, we are currently not accepting any new applications at this time.  Please check back at a later time for updates on our Lesotho Program.


Our adoption program in Lesotho is in cooperation with the Central Authority of the Lesotho Government. Once your dossier is accepted in Lesotho, your file will be in line for your turn in a match meeting by the Central Authority. You will receive a referral of a child from Lesotho after your dossier is registered in Lesotho.

After referral there is a waiting period of 2-6 months while the Lesotho government processes the adoption and schedules the court hearing.  You will not be required to travel to Lesotho to personally appear in court for this hearing as our employee in Lesotho can appear for you with your power of attorney.

Once this is complete and exit documents have been procured,  you will travel to Lesotho to pick up your child. Each adoption is different for many reasons, but our best guess on the timeline of adoption from Lesotho at this time is 2-4 years.

The adoption process in Lesotho

Small World walks with you through the entire process of your adoption. The Small World employees communicate with you throughout the process of your Home Study and actually do your dossier for you as a service. Small World English speaking Representatives meet each family at the plane upon arrival in Maseru, Lesotho and guide and accompany you through every step of the adoption process.

You will be in Lesotho approximately two weeks. Our representatives will walk you through the entire process in Maseru. You will then travel from Maseru to Johannesburg, South Africa where you will stay one week culminating in your child’s visa from the US Consulate. Small World Representatives will accompany you to the airport for your departure from Johannesburg back to your home with your child.

Small World, Inc. prohibits its employees and agents from giving money or other consideration, directly or indirectly, to a child’s parent(s), other individual(s), or an entity as payment for the child or as an inducement to release the child.  Any attempt to do so is grounds for immediate termination and report to all authorities necessary.

If permitted or required by the child’s country of origin, Small World may remit reasonable payments for activities related to the adoption proceedings, pre-birth and birth medical costs, the care of the child, the care of the birth mother while pregnant and immediately following birth of the child, or the provision of child welfare and child protection services generally.

Under no circumstances shall permitted or required contributions be remitted as payment for the child or as an inducement to release the child.  For any further questions concerning our Lesotho program please contact the Lesotho Program Director Christian Graham at christian@smallworldadoption.com.



Each applicant must be at least 25 years old and generally not more than 55 years older than the child. There is no firm restriction on the age limit, but it is subject to a case by case review by Small World and the Central authority of Lesotho.


Small World requires sufficient income and resources on the part of every applicant to support the addition of a child.


Lesotho does not limit the number of children per family, but it is subject to a case by case review by Small World and the Central authority of Lesotho. Lesotho refers children 1 – 14 years of age.

Marital Status

Married heterosexual couples who have been married for at least 2 years and single heterosexual females only may apply to adopt from Small World’s Lesotho program.


In accordance with Small World’s mission statement, our Lesotho program is open to Christian families only.

Post Adoption

Lesotho is intensely interested in the development of children placed for adoption. They require reports at 6 months, 1 year, 18 months and 24 months by a social worker approved by Small World and 3 additional self reports at 36 months, 48 months and 60 months.

For further information, please contact Kerri Tracy, Director of Post Placement Services.


Fees for Lesotho adoption paid to Small World:

Application  $250
US State Dept. Monitoring Fee (per child)   $550
Home Study $2,000
Agency Fee $7,000
Dossier Fee (Includes shipping all documents, Authentication, Registration, and Translation of all documents throughout the adoption process) $3,600
Letter of Intent (per child) $2,500
Foreign Program Fee (per child unless indicated) $12,000
Post Placement/Post Adoption Services* (per child) $1,600

Estimated expenses associated with Lesotho adoption not paid to Small World:

Document procurement  $500
Visa (per person)  $118
COVID Testing (per person/per test) $100-$200
USCIS Application $775
FBI Fingerprints ($85 per adult living in the home) $170
Roundtrip Air from US (2 adults returning with 1 child) $7,000
Hotel/Ground Trans. (2 adults plus the adopted child) $3,500

Total Adoption Cost:

Total Adoption Cost $41,663 – 41,763


Payment Schedule

Application Fee Payment must accompany submission of application.
Services Agreement The signed services agreement must be returned to Small World along with the US Dept. of State Monitoring Fee (See Estimated Expenses) as the next step after the client’s application review. Transfer clients submit $1,250 of the agency fee at this time.
US State Dept. Monitoring Fee  In compliance with the mandate issued by the US State Department, this fee is collected by Small World and paid to the agency appointed by the US State Department for Monitoring and Oversight. The US State Department requires that the $500 (per child) fee be remitted following the finalized contract for services with your adoption agency. The payment will not be refunded by the Monitoring agency under any circumstance.
Home Study Fee Payment must be submitted at the initiation of Home Study services.  The Home Study packet will not be sent and work will not begin until the Home Study fee is paid.  Payments for updates are due at the time services are requested. For families residing outside of TN/MO, case worker travel is billed separately and in advance of travel.
Home Study Review Fee All Home Studies are reviewed by our professional reviewers.  If your Home Study is prepared by an agency other than Small World, a Home Study review fee of $200 is due at the time Small World enters into an exempt provider contract agreement with your home study agency.
Agency Fee Payment must be submitted at the time of the completed Homestudy.  No further work may be performed toward the adoption until the agency fee is received by Small World.  The agency fee for each additional child adopted simultaneously with the first child for most programs is eligible for a 50% discount. Transfer Clients Only: $1,250 is due upon contracting with SW, and the balance is due upon dossier transfer completion.
Post Adoption Services *$800 in Post Adoption Services, per child, must be submitted with the Home Study fee.  The post adoption services balance, per child, is due prior to travel and includes applicable translation fees.  For families residing outside of TN/MO, case worker travel is billed separately and in advance of travel.
Post Adoption & Exempt Providers When post adoption reports are completed by a Small World pre-approved exempt provider, the client will be eligible for a Post Adoption Services discount. To be eligible for the discount, the pre-approved exempt provider must be under contract with Small World prior to client travel to the foreign country.  Applicable discounts will be applied to the post adoption balance due prior to travel.
Dossier Prep & Registration Fee Includes applicable translation fees. Payment must accompany the first, original documents submitted to Small World for processing. Approved dossier documents will not be sent for authentication/apostille until the Dossier Fee is paid in full.
Letter of Intent  Includes applicable translation fees. Payment to Small World must accompany the document packet indicating that you intend to pursue a specific child for adoption.  Submission of the intent to pursue a particular child for adoption does not guarantee approval by the foreign country.
Foreign Program Fee The foreign program fee includes funds required by the foreign supervised provider, exit documents, applicable translation fees, and program development. Due to exchange rates and external costs, foreign program fees are subject to change. Orphanages in China request that adoptive families make a contribution to the orphanage for the care of the child and preparation of the child’s file which made them eligible for adoption. The average contribution requested by orphanages in China is $5,100. When agreed to by the client, the orphanage donation contribution is included in the foreign program fee invoiced prior to travel.

For China, the published foreign program fee assumes the full, standard orphanage donation contribution. Details regarding Small World’s process for the orphanage donation contribution can be found at https://smallworldadoption.com/blog/ . The estimated foreign program fee and the estimated in-China travel is billed upon receiving I800 and is due prior to TA arrival. The estimate is updated to reflect actual costs upon receiving the final cost list from China after the requested itinerary is finalized. If the actual costs are lower than the estimate, the resulting overpayment will be credited back to the family. If the actual costs are higher than the estimate, the resulting underpayment must be remitted to Small World prior to departing for Gotcha Day. This invoice will include a 3% payment processing fee for the applicable amount paid online.

For all other countries, half of the Foreign Program Fee is due at the time of I800 or I600 approval, and the balance is due prior to travel.


Country And Culture

Lesotho (pronounced li-soo-too)

An excellent article on the country and culture of Lesotho: http://conservapedia.com/Lesotho

Lesotho is officially the Kingdom of Lesotho, a landlocked country entirely surrounded by the Republic of South Africa which covers an area of 30 000 square km – roughly the size of Belgium or the US state of Maryland. Formerly Basutoland, the name Lesotho translates roughly into “the land of the people who speak Sotho”. Lesotho is also known as the Kingdom in the Sky as the entire country lies 1000m above sea level and includes Thabana-Ntlenyana, which at 3482m is the highest peak in Africa south of Kilimanjaro. The twin spines of the Drakensberg and Maluti mountain highlands dominate Lesotho’s formidable terrain and occupy three-quarters of the country’s area giving sanctuary to a unique developing nation. The country offers an opportunity to experience Africa’s natural beauty and the simplicity and warmth of the friendly Basotho people who have developed a rich culture within their towns and isolated villages.

The Basotho people

The Basotho people (the local inhabitants of Lesotho) are renowned for their crafts, and their traditional products have a reputation for quality, individuality and variety. For many years ponies were their only means of transport through the mountainous terrain, resulting in a strong tradition of horse-riding and breeding.

The traditional Basotho Hat, or mokorotlo, BasothoHatis the best known of a fine range of grass-works made in Lesotho. It’s conical shape is seen everywhere in the kingdom, and is the recognized symbol of the country. The hat’s shape is believed to have been inspired by the Qiloane mountain near the mountain fortress of Moshoeshoe I – Thaba-Bosiu.


One trip, about 2-3 weeks long, is required for adopting from Lesotho. Your court date will be assigned approximately 2-4 months after you have officially accepted a referral and been matched with a child. Depending on timing and holidays in Lesotho, this time could increase.

Once we receive notice of your court date, travel is typically three to four weeks later. Once court is passed, an appointment is set at the Consulate in Johannesburg, South Africa. The time spent in Lesotho is typically around two weeks, as you bond with your child and have 1-2 visits with a social worker. Time spent in Johannesburg is typically around one week as final paperwork is prepared before you can return home.



More information on the statistics of Small World’s program is available upon request, including the number of adoption placements per year, number of applicants per year, and where possible, the number of children eligible for adoption. Please contact the Program Director via the info form to the right of this page if you wish to receive to discuss this information.