The idea of adopting a child from another nation can warm your heart. You are ready to nurture another human being and the image of bringing a child to America, the land of opportunity, can cause you to immediately start surfing the adoption sites to find your new family member. International adoption, however, can be a lengthy and complicated process. As of 2010, there were more than 50 nations worldwide allowing international adoptions of their citizens. Learning and understanding the requirements involved with an international adoption will help you avoid time-consuming and costly mistakes.
Choose the country that you want to adopt a child from. International adoption offers the opportunity to study and become involved in another culture. The child you adopt will want to know about his ancestral culture. You should choose a country for adoption that interests you. Consider language, cultural and religious predominance when choosing the country. Discussing the decision with family members can help you decide which country to select.
Accept that the child will not be an infant when he comes to you. According to the Joint Council on International Children’s Services, by the time most families fulfill all requirements and work through the red tape, the child will no longer be an infant. About half of internationally adopted children come into their new homes, however, before their first birthday.
Contact the adoption agency of your choice. You will work closely with this agency for several months to several years, so be sure the agency is one that you feel good about working with. Choose a Hague-accredited agency to ensure the official international adoption code will be followed.
File the I-800A form and wait for confirmation of approval before proceeding. While awaiting approval, it is important that you refrain from any contact with the child, the child’s family or the orphanage where the child is housed. This process maintains the integrity of the adoption and is required by Hague-accredited agencies.
Complete your adoption packet, and send it in with all the required fees. International adoptions can become expensive with trips to the country of adoption, paperwork fees and other financial obligations. Making sure you can cover the cost will prevent unnecessary delays.
Schedule and complete the home study. Once this is completed, you will wait for your child. In some cases, you will be required to travel to the child’s home country to pick the child up and bring her home. In other cases, you will be able to arrange for an individual to escort the child to the United States where you will receive her and begin your life together as a family.