AdoptInternational Frequently Asked Adoption Questions


Questions About the International Adoption Process, From Home Studies to Single Parent Adoption, post-placement, and More..

We are happy to answer any additional questions you may have.  Send us an email or call us at (800) 960-0907.  Are there questions that you think should be included?  Please let us know.  Our new FAQ's are compiled by you—our visitors and our clients.

  1. How do I decide if international adoption is the right choice?

  2. Can single parents adopt?

  3. Why are children given up for adoption?

  4. When in the adoption process do we need to decide on the gender of our child?

  5. Upon the submission of our dossier, how long before we get to see a referral of a baby?

  6. How do we decide which country to adopt from?

  7. How long does a foreign adoption take?

  8. What is a foreign dossier?

  9. We are thinking of adopting two children, are the adoption fees double?

  10. Are there post-placement adoption requirements for children adopted from Guatemala, Kazakhstan, or the other countries?

  11. If for some reason we lose the referral in the process of the adoption, what happens?

  12. Do you have a list of referrals of families that have successfully adopted through AdoptInternational?

  13. Must we travel abroad to adopt?

  14. Will we be alone when we travel?

  15. Are there more boys or girls available for adoption?

  16. What happens after we return with our child/ren?

  17. Must we re-adopt our child?

1. How do I decide if international adoption is the right choice?

International adoption has been steadily growing over the last decade. In 2005 over 20,000 children were adopted internationally by American families. Some of the main reasons for choosing international adoption include the following: the adoption decree is final; Once a child has immigrated to the U.S, there is no chance of the child's birthparents regaining custody; fees and expenses are predictable; while international adoption can take 9-12 months, domestic adoption can take even longer, particularly for parents desiring caucasion infants; the search process in international adoption is handled by your adoption agency and foreign coordinator rather than private adoption in the U.S. in which many families compete for the approval of a birthmother; International adoption does not involve contact with the birth parent; the decision to adopt a child internationally can open a new world for adoptive parents; these children are in dire need of loving homes and families; international adoption gives children born into incredibly depressed circumstances a chance to live and flourish in a loving home.

2. Can single parents adopt?

Yes, single women can adopt in all our programs. Single men can adopt from Guatemala and Liberia. We work with many single parents, we are supportive of single parent adoption and have completed many adoptions for single parents.

3. Why are children given up for adoption?

In most developing countries, the poor live in poverty so acute that the decision to give up a child for adoption can be a deep act of love and hope for a better future for the child. These countries are too poor to provide welfare assistance programs, so many mothers decide to abandon their child at the maternity hospital, orphanage, and even a police station. Some birth parents continue to visit the child in the institution, knowing their child is being fed and medically cared for beyond the parent's means. In many places birth control is unavailable, prohibitively expensive or culturally condemned. Unwed mothers can also be shunned by society and ther is not safety net to assist her in providing for her children.

4. When in the adoption process do we need to decide on the gender of our child?

Usually, parents must decide at the time their dossier is completed and presented to foreign officials or attorneys as the case may be.

5. Upon the submission of our dossier, how long before we get to see a referral of a baby?

Each program is different. Some programs require that the dossier be submitted to one or more governmental agencies involved in the adoption process prior to the referral of a child. Other countries such as Guatemala and Liberia in which adoption is not centrally controlled allow for referral of children much earlier in the process. Our program galleries provide more detailed information regarding referral time for each adoption program. In general, we do not have lengthy referral times, particularly compared to agencies with large programs and waiting lists.

6. How do we decide which country to adopt from?

When choosing which country or foreign program is right parents need to consider several factors, such as the country's laws and eligibility requirements, travel requirements, the manner of referrals, the age and sex of the children readily available, and their general health. For example, some foreign countries have eligibility limitations on the age of prospective parents, single parenting, and whether parents can adopt more than one child. Some foreign countries require longer or more difficult trips, or two trips. Some foreign countries refer a specific child to the adoptive parents, while other foreign countries allow the parents to choose among videotapes of available children (usually obtained by the adoption agency's representative abroad). Relatively few foreign countries require the parents to travel abroad to choose their child. Some foreign countries do not have infants readily available for adoption, while others may not often have children of both sexes available (China, for example has mostly girls). Health issues differ in each foreign country and it is strongly urged that prospective parents obtain an independent medical consultation before making a decision to adopt any particular child. Ethnicity may be a factor as well, and prospective parents need to carefully consider their level of comfort with each situation, as well as the anticipated support from extended family and community.

7. How long does a foreign adoption take?

Generally, the entire process takes between 9-12 months to complete. There are several steps you must complete. The first step is obtaining an approved home study by a licensed social worker or agency in your state of residence. You must also apply with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for pre-approval to adopt a foreign-born child. You can visit and download Form I-600a. Contact us if you have any questions about completing the form. This steps make take several months depending on your homestudy provider's timeline and your local USCIS office processing times. The next step is preparing the documents (dossier) required by the country from which you plan to adopt. Documents must be notarized, state sealed or apostilled, authenticated by the U.S. Department of State and/or the Embassy of the country from which you are adopting. The time involved depends on how quickly you can gather the required documents and the processing times of the various state departments and embassies involved in the process. This can take between 1 and several months, sometimes longer. Once the documents are completed and authenticated, they are forwarded to the foreign country. At this point documents are translated, legalized, filed with the appropriate authorities and the adoption process begins. The adoption process and timelines vary greatly by program. See our Program Galleries for further information on the specific process within each country or Contact us for further answers to your questions.

8. What is a foreign dossier?

A foreign dossier contains all the documents required by the foreign government to complete the adoption of a child. The foreign authorities use these documents to evaluate the prospective adoptive parents and to document that the adoption is in the best interests of the child. It is compiled according to the laws of the country where you intend to adopt. Law and custom will dictate which documents are required in the dossier and how they shall be prepared and presented. Documents typically included in a foreign dossier are the home study, photos of the prospective parents and their home, BCIS pre-approval to adopt, criminal record and child abuse clearances, employment verification letters, financial statements, petitions to the court or other foreign authority, medical statements, birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce certificates, passports, deed or lease to home, and sometimes personal references. These documents must be notarized, legalized, authenticated and translated as the foreign country specifies.

9. We are thinking of adopting two children, are the adoption fees double?

Each adoption program varies according to country. Usually, there are additional fees for each additional child, however.

10. Are there post-placement requirements for children adopted from Guatemala, Kazakhstan, or the other countries?

Guatemala does not have formal post-placement requirements though AdoptInternational asks that families provide photographs and updates once home.

Kazakhstan requires one post-placement report six months after the child is home, and then post-placement report once the child is home for 1 year and then once yearly until the child has reached 18 years of age.

11. If for some reason we lose the referral in the process of the adoption, what happens?

You will be provided another referral. You will not incur additional foreign program fees or agency fees.

12. Do you have a list of referrals of families that have successfully adopted through AdoptInternational?

Yes, AdoptInternational can provide many references of families who have adopted through us. Just ask us for a list of references.

13. Must we travel abroad to adopt?

The laws of the foreign countries in which we work determine whether or not parents must travel to meet their child and/or appear in court. Guatemala and Liberia, for example, do not require travel. In some instances, two trips are required, in others only one trip. However, parents who visit their child's country of birth often experience a fascinating journey and one which brings them closer to their child, their culture, which they will be able to share with their children later in life.

AdoptInternational has English-speaking staff on the ground in each country who will be with you during the entire process.

14. Will we be alone when we travel?

You will not be alone in the foreign country. We have English-speaking staff on the ground in each country. AdoptInternational coordinates your travel with our foreign staff prior to your departure and we provide detailed information on what to expect during your visit. Parents will be met and fully escorted throughout their entire stay by one of AdoptInternational's foreign coordinators. Our coordinators speak English and will escort parents and serve as interpreters during all official meetings and court hearings. They are available should parents have any problems and can provide information on local dining, places of interest, tour arrangements, and shopping. All arrangements will be made prior to arrival in the country. Most parents find the process smooth and comfortable except for the typical inconveniences that travel may present such as flight delays, jet lag, and adjustments to local cuisine.

15. Are there more boys or girls available for adoption?

In most countries, both boys and girls are equally available for adoption. For example, in Russia and other Eastern European countries, such as Bulgaria and Romania, both boys and girls are equally available. However, over 90% of families adopting internationally are seeking to adopt girls. Therefore, there is usually a much longer waiting list for girls. In contrast, as much as 98% of the children available for adoption in China are girls, although some boys are available as well. We find that in the case of Guatemala, more families choose to adopt girls; therefore, you might find there is a longer wait for a girl.

16. What happens after we return with our child/ren?

When you return home, you will send a copy of all your adoption documents to our office. You will be required to readopt if both did not travel to see your child before finalization of the adoption. If you did travel, then your child is an automatic citizen. You will also need to obtain your child's social security number, US certificate of naturalization, passport. You will also have to provide post-placement reports to AdoptInternational and to your home study agency, if different, depending on particular state and foreign requirements.

17. Must we re-adopt our child?

Whether you MUST re-adopt depends on several factors. Whether you choose to re-adopt depends on several considerations.

You MUST re-adopt in the following circumstances:

You may CHOOSE to re-adopt in consideration of the following:

Now, what can I say about Candace O'Brien other than she is my saving grace!!! She took what I thought was an impossible situation and made my lifelong dream of being a mother a reality. She is simply the best at what she does and I would strongly advise you to allow her the pleasure of working with you on getting your child home! Candace is the most honest, hard working, caring person I have met in a long, long time and I know you will be as greatful for her as I am once your adoption is complete.

Based on the caliber of people she had working with her in Guatemala, it is apparent that Candace surrounds herself with very capable and professional people within the country she is working in. My experience is something that I would not trade for anything!!!

K. Moulton

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