Your first step towards international adoption begins with the following steps:
Why are you choosing to adopt? Every family travels a different path leading to the decision to adopt. Do you feel that there are too many children in the world in need of homes and that adoption is a way to help them? Have you been unable to conceive and/or deliver a biological child? Are you interested in taking in a child with special needs who might otherwise not find a home because you feel capable of providing the extra care they require?
Have you considered the type of child you wish to adopt? Are you seeking as young and healthy a child as possible: a child with a particular handicap you know how to manage? Children may have undiagnosed illnesses and disabilities or develop them later. They can have difficulty attaching to parents due to trauma, neglect or abuse. Children in orphanages will usually be delayed in their developmental milestones.
Do you have the financial ability to pay for the fees and costs of an adoption? Do you have the resources as well as space in your home or apartment to raise a child? It is estimated that it will cost about $300,000 (adjusted for inflation) to raise a child through age 18, not including college costs if your child chooses that route. Do you have the health and energy to raise the type of child you wish to adopt?
If you are adopting due to infertility or following the death or a child or failed pregnancy, have you taken the time necessary to grieve? How do your friends and family feel about adoption? Are they open and accepting? Will you need to educate them about adoption?
Adoption is not a single event. It is a lifelong part of the child’s identity. Are you prepared to help your child process this experience? Will you be able to support your child’s search for understanding, identity and heritage?
If you have come to adoption because of infertility or the death of a child, have you fully processed your grief? Openly and honestly examine your reasons and motivations for adopting to be sure that they will not only be right for your family but also be right for a child.
Adoption is a journey for all concerned. Your job as pre-adoptive parents is to fully and thoughtfully consider if it is the right path for you and if you are ready to undertake it. Examining your thoughts and feelings first, will help you be ready for the experience and to be wonderful parents.
Every adoptive parent must participate in a home study that evaluates their suitability to adopt. It consists of education and training for the adoptive parents, interviews, gathering paperwork, background checks and a home visit. Laws and details of the study elements vary by the state you reside in. If you have not selected a home study agency, New Star may be able to refer you to an agency that our other clients have used and found supportive and efficient.
Parents need a home study to demonstrate their qualification to adopt a child to various entities. You must establish that you have stability, moral character, financial resources and a suitable, safe home or apartment. If you are conducting an international adoption, you must submit it for approval from Immigration Authorities (United States Immigration and Naturalization) before you can apply to a foreign country. You will need to submit your home study to a foreign agency, government entity or court as part of the adoption or guardianship process. If you are adopting in the United States, you would need a home study to apply to a domestic agency or an adoption attorney as well as a state court.
A critical aspect of every home study is education. Parents need to know about parenting, bonding, child health, emotional issues and developmental issues. Most children are exposed to trauma such as residence in an institution, multiple placements and/or abuse and neglect. Parents must learn about the impact of these experiences on the child and the family. Research shows that the better prepared adoptive parents are, the greater satisfaction and adjustment of the family.
New Star also requires parents to take CPR and locate services they may need with after the adoption such as pediatrician, early intervention, daycare, schools and other resources.
A home study can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months to complete depending on the agency and state. You must additionally meet any state requirements for adoption. Each applicant must have criminal and child abuse clearances for all states resided in, medical examination report, employment verification, financial statement and vital records.
In order to bring a foreign child to the U.S., parents must be approved to adopt by the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS). You will also be fingerprinted for an FBI clearance. Adoptive Parents going to either Morocco or Pakistan must apply for the I-600-A (Application for Advancing Processing of Orphan Petition) and be approved to adopt before they can apply to the foreign government. They will examine all your documents.
You will receive detailed instruction and support unless your attorney is preparing your immigration documents.
You can access all instructions and forms at: http://www.uscis.gov/i-600a.
Once approved, you will receive the I-171H (Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition) and this approval will be sent to the Consulate in your child’s country.