To get started with international adoption, you first need to know some general information. Many countries have different requirements for adopting their children, so it is important to do some research on the country’s specific laws and regulations.
There are generally four steps involved in international adoptions: first contact, matching, processing, and travel. The first three of these will generally take six months or more before a child can be adopted. A number of organizations can help you with this process; one of the most comprehensive is the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
International adoption costs depend on many factors such as the agency that a family works with and any legal fees in a birth parent’s home country. You’ll have to keep this in mind when budgeting for the international adoption process.
What is the Process for International Adoption?
The first thing that prospective parents need to do is contact their local child welfare office to see who they can connect with who can help them move forward with the international adoption process.
The next step is to complete a home study, which involves background checks and a physical inspection of your home to make sure it’s safe for a child to live in. Like many other processes involved in international adoption, there are agencies that can step in and guide you through this part as well.
In some cases, prospective parents will have already completed a home study as part of their eligibility requirements as foster care parents. These children that are potential adoptive kids must be legally free for adoption before they can be adopted by adoptive parents from another country.
Once you have submitted the required documents that prove your eligibility for adopting an international child, approved or denied based on agency regulations, you will begin corresponding with the orphanage or foster care home that has been caring for the child you are interested in adopting.
Through these correspondences, you will begin a relationship with the orphanage or foster care home that is caring for your future adopted child. You will then be sent pictures of the children to choose from as well as profiles which include helpful information such as what they like to do and eat, favorite color and similar likes and dislikes as well as an account of their past medical history.
Once this process is complete, you can make a final decision on which child or children you would like to adopt.
When choosing an international adoption agency it is important that you find one that specializes in international adoption and thoroughly investigates programs abroad to ensure that the countries involved have proper regulations that meet the US requirements. You will need to have a social worker or an adoption facilitator from the agency you choose to process your initial application. If they do not, this is a red flag and you should probably look elsewhere for an adoption agency.
Oftentimes, there is another step after choosing a country and applying: waiting. This can be long and frustrating as you hope for good news about the child that has been chosen to become part of your family; families who adopt internationally often wait several months before receiving word that their documents are completed and travel is possible.
The home study process is also important in order to make sure that everyone involved with bringing the child into United States territory (the adoptive parents themselves as well as any non-adoptive siblings) is in good standing with the law.
Careful planning is involved so that a child’s life can be saved and a lifetime of waiting for a family to adopt them will become worthwhile. The process does not have to be difficult, so long as you have patience and are easy-going about it all.