Where can I learn more About an International Adoption?
Adopting a child internationally is totally different from a domestic adoption from the United States.
Not only have we provided information on international adoption on this website, but we have also created a website that is specifically designed to assist those of you who are interested only in an international adoption: www.internationaladoptionhelp.com
Historically, the three most popular countries for an international child adoption were Russia and Guatemala as well as China. For up-to-date information on the number of visas issued by country please visit this State Department link.
An international child adoption, just like a domestic child adoption, is plagued with its unique set of potential problems, risks and concerns.
Factors such as complicated and never-ending paperwork, travel, medical conditions, lack of parental, social and medical information, unexpected delays, and dealing with the legal process in the country where the child is coming from make the process difficult and frustrating to many.
Additionally, an international adoption must meet the legal requirements of your state, US and foreign governments, and the Hague Convention. You need to be aware of the existence of these requirements. Make sure to educate yourself about international adoption and look carefully at the adoption agency you select.
Three of the most significant issues involved with International adoption are discussed below.
First, it is recommended that before you begin the Home Study process, which is required in every international adoption, you should select the country that you desire to adopt from. Many international countries have very specific requirements about who prepares the home study and what must be included in the home study. By selecting the country you are adopting from before getting started with your home study you will avoid unnecessary delays and expenses.
Second, it is important for everyone adopting internationally to be aware that adoptable children from foreign countries may suffer from various health conditions including, but not limited to, developmental delays, malnutrition and attachment disorders. But, in general, the children adopted internationally are healthy.
The third issue is that most countries require persons who are adopting to travel to the country where the child is located. Some countries do allow the adoption of a child without the adopting parents traveling to the foreign country, but this is the exception rather than the rule. And, adopting a child without seeing the child before the adoption process is started can be very risky. It is strongly recommended that you always see a child in person before you finalize his or her adoption. It is also important to know that some international adoption programs may even require individuals and families to travel twice or even three times before an adoption is completed.
In most international adoption programs which require one trip, travel is usually between 10-21 days and includes finalization of the adoption and obtaining a visa for the child to come to your country of residence. If multiple trips are required, it is because individuals or families must travel to the country in order to see the child/children being referred to them and to accept the referral of the child/children. The first trip involves seeing a child/children and executing the necessary legal documents to proceed with adoption. The second and/or third trips are taken to attend court to finalize the adoption and to obtain the child’s visa so that the child can enter the family’s country of residence. in most one trip adoptions the actual adoption(s) may take place before you arrive in the country you are adopting from. With a multiple trip process the actual adoption(s) usually takes place with you present. Note that in some cases the child/children will have to be re-adopted again in the country within which the adopting persons reside.
What role does the U.S. Department of State play?
The State Department provides information about international adoption in foreign countries, makes inquiries regarding the status of a specific adoption case and clarifies documentation or other requirements, and ensures that U.S. citizens are not discriminated against by foreign countries. Please be aware that the State Department does not find children available for adoption, does not become directly involved in the adoption process in another country, will not act as an attorney or represent any adoptive family in court, and will not order that an adoption take place or that a visa be issued.
Through recorded telephone messages at 1-888-407-4747 and the site at http://travel.state.gov the Department of State provides additional help. You can contact the U.S. Department of State at:
Office of Children's Issues
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520-2818
In order to have an international adoption and bring a child to the United States, you will need to meet the requirements set by the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS), the foreign country in which the child resides and sometimes your state of residence. For specific information about BCIS requirements, see the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services brochure M-249Y titled "The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children". The BCIS also has a toll-free information number (1-800-375-5283) from which you can obtain form M-249 booklets and the telephone numbers of local BCIS offices in the United States.
The Department of State has a very good International adoption governmental brochure that provides information and guidance to U.S. citizens who are looking for help with an international adoption. The brochure covers guidelines on international adoption, visa information and much more including a strong recommendation that adopting persons only use reputable (licensed) adoption agencies and adoption attorneys.
Where can I get more Information about International Child Adoption?
For up-to-date information on the number of visas issued by country please visit this State Department link.
Every state has a special child adoption contact to help a person or couple who is interested in child adoption. Other adoption resources for each state are the State Child Welfare website and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Child Welfare Information Gateway.
Please make sure to visit ChildAdoptionLaws for international adoption law concerns, and then, if you want a more personal touch, feel free to contact Dr. Vince Berger at Adoption Services.
How do I find an Adoption Consultant Resource?
Why You Need an Adoption Consultant
There are many risks when you go to adopt a child including losing a child after you have already taken them home (referred to as a disruption), losing all of the money you have invested in the adoption if the birth mother changes her mind, or finding that there are previously unknown or undisclosed fees that may appear. Dr Berger has helped thousands of adopting families with domestic adoptions and international adoptions and he is available to assist you no matter what type of adoption you chose to pursue and regardless of whether you work with an adoption agency, facilitator or adoption attorney. He can help you save your time, effort and money in helping you to decide what routes to take and the best way to achieve your goal of adopting a child. He can help reduce your risks and potential pain and can help you avoid many of the problems and pitfalls found in the adoption process. You can read and download his free adoption manual or, for more information on how he can help you, please visit his Adoption Consultant link.
Looking for additional International Adoption Resources?
Below we have provided a few of the many organizations involved in adoption.
Child Welfare Information Gateway
P.O. Box 1182
Washington, DC 20013-1182
Tel: 703-352-3488 / 888-251-0075
Adoptive Families Magazine
P.O. Box 5159
Brentwood, TN 37024
Joint Council on International Children's Services
1320 19th St., NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20036
North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC)
970 Raymond Avenue, Suite 106
St. Paul, MN 55114
National Council for Adoption
225 N. Washington Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
The chart below provides links to Adoption Information for Countries Around the World.