Adoption Program

November 2019 –  Me Familia reports that no intercountry adoption referrals will be made except for children with significan special needs for the forseeable future.  Therefore, we are only accepting applications from families desireing to adopt Nicaraguan children with significant special needs.

The adoption process in Nicaragua is a government performed match and bonding process. Under their current system you will spend time with your child in Nicaragua before making a lifetime commitment and your time in country is expected to be three or four months.

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 grant applicants.


There are wonderful USA missionaries in Nicaragua that are incredibly helpful for US families while they are getting to know the child they are considering for adoption.

Small World families are represented by our attorney in Nicaragua. She is well experienced with international adoption for Americans and bilingual. After login of your dossier with the Central Authority of adoption in Nicaragua, we will follow the progress of your file, meeting frequently with the authorities who assign children.

Only families open to adopting a child with a significant special needs are accepted by the Nicaraguan government.  The wait time for a referral is expedited due to the special needs of the child.

The Nicaraguan government seeks to protect the identity and dignity of every child. They accomplish this in part by not sharing photos or videos of waiting children.  Referrals will contain information and invitation to travel to Nicaragua and meet the child in person.

Your Match

When a child with significant special needs becomes available for international adoption that meets the criteria for which you are qualified, our Small World team will contact you with medical and social history information concerning the child or sibling group. We will send you the referral documents in English and Spanish. We will include a Letter of Acceptance for your potential use to begin the Match Process.

For any further questions concerning our Nicaragua program please contact the Nicaragua Program Director Jimbo Savley at


In the cases of U.S. citizens with an approved I-600 or I-600A, Prospective Adoptive Parents will work through Small World to prepare their homestudy and dossier and submit it to the authorities in Nicaragua.


Officially, prospective adoptive parents must be between 25 and 40 years of age. However, the Ministry of Family has been somewhat flexible on this requirement on a case-by-case basis.

Marital Status

Married heterosexual couples who have been married for at least 2 years may apply to adopt from Small World’s Nicaragua program.


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

Post Adoption

The Nicaraguan Government Department over adoptions “Me Familia”  requires that the adoptive family via Small World complete one Post Adoption visit and Translated report with photographs and progress overviews be completed and delivered to Me Familia each year from the adoption date until the child reaches the age of 18.

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


Fees for Nicaragua adoption paid to Small World:

Application  $250
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) $2,250
Letter of Intent (per child) $2,200
Foreign Program Fee (per child unless indicated) $9,000
Post Adoption Services* (per child) $1,200

plus Traslation & Shipping for report #4 +

Estimated Expenses for Nicaragua adoption above fees paid to Small World:

US State Dept. Monitoring Fee  $500
Document procurement  $500
USCIS Application $775
FBI Fingerprints ($85 per adult living in the home) $170
Roundtrip Air from US (2 adults returning with 1 child) $3,500
Hotel/Ground Trans. (2 adults plus the adopted child) $5,500

Total Adoption Cost:

Total Adoption Cost $34,845


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 GA/MO/TN, 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 GA/MO/TN, 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 . 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.



You will spend significant time with your proposed adoptee in Nicaragua before making a lifetime commitment. Usually your time in country will be two to three months.

There are wonderful USA missionaries in Nicaragua that are incredibly helpful for US families while they are getting to know the child they are considering for adoption.


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.