How long does it take to adopt?
Generally the answer is about a year when Pre-Adoptive Parents are proactive in gathering documents and scheduling required appointments. The length of time it takes to adopt varies by program and the steps involved. There are certain common elements of any adoption such as a home study and immigration approval that we can estimate. The following will give Applicants an idea of the time ranges.
Home Study (8-12 weeks to approval) – Home studies are governed by state law and USCIS. As a rule of thumb, if there are no extenuating circumstances, a home study will take 8-12 weeks. It could take longer or slower depending on number of places lived, applicant history, and gathering paperwork.
USCIS Approval (8 weeks to approval) – The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, a Department of Homeland Security, must approve the applicants’ home study and vital records in order to adopt abroad.This is done via through the Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition (“I-600A”). If the application meets all the standards, then USCIS will approve with I-171H. USCIS times to approval can vary but are currently usually processed within 8 weeks. More complex cases may take longer. Additionally, sometimes minor corrections or additions must be made to the home study after review and this can hold up the process for about 4 weeks.
The Foreign Portion of the Process – If Parents’ goal is to complete the process as quickly as possible, they will gather all their dossier documents while waiting for USCIS approval. This will included recently dated medical and employment letters. Parents can submit their dossier as soon as they receive your Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application for Advanced Processing of Orphan Petition (“I-171H”) or Notice of Action (“I-797”).
Morocco (6 month to placement time) – The dossier is submitted (except for the pending notice of approval from USCIS) to translators as soon as the documents are completed. Translation takes place while you are waiting for your Notice of Approval/Action from USCIS. The last document is the approval notice which is translated immediately and completes the dossier. The dossier is submitted to an orphanage to await referral. Our different orphanages have different processing and wait times depending on how many trips are required and whether the orphanage has already terminated Parental rights of the children. Most cases will be one trip of about 30 days; others may be 2 trips of 15 days each. The US consulate process is included in this time frame
Pakistan (1-12+ months to placement time) – Pakistan cases require no translation so dossiers can be sent or given to the orphanage or placing organization as soon as USCIS approval is received. How long a referral will take is far less predictable in Pakistan than Morocco. For SOS Children’s Villages and some other small placing entities a referral will be made in advance of custody. The time to referral will depend on if children need placements that meet the request of parents. We will not submit a dossier to these entities unless they have indicated to us that a child needs a placement in which case the referral would be quick. If a family wishes to wait until a referral can be made from one of these sources, then the wait time will be unknown.
Why is international adoption so costly?
New Star Kafala charges considerably lower fees for its programs than other agencies while still providing full social and legal support services. Our fees are listed for all to compare on our website. There are no hidden or added costs. We encourage you to compare. But like any organization, we have ongoing costs to simply remain operational.
Adoption is a complex, specialized legal procedure that requires experienced personnel with knowledge of state, federal and international law. It requires extensive social services to educate, evaluate and prepare parents as well as support them from beginning to end. New Star Kafala’s budget is very cost effective; currently less than $200,000 annually with a client base of about 30-40 new cases per year. We operate on a true non-profit basis and work very hard to keep our costs as low as possible. The following are some of the main costs for New Star Kafala’s operation:
- Salaries for our four staff members in the United States and three staff members abroad
- Liability insurance and bonding for US Employees
- Annual accreditation fees to the Council on Accreditation
- Telephone, internet, fax, website, mail and electronic file management
- Promotion and Education of the Community about Adoption and Islam
- Mandatory ongoing education for Staff and Board Members including conferences
- Legally mandated financial reserves of 2 months of total operating costs must be kept on hand at all times
- Travel to Morocco and Pakistan on an annual basis
- Travel to national and international adoption and Muslim social services conferences
- Travel to meetings with foreign officials and foreign stakeholders and NGOs
New Star Kafala sponsors numerous charitable programs in Morocco that benefit un-adopted children who remain in institutional care.
Has adoption become more complicated? If so, why?
On July 14, 2014, the Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 was implemented. It requires all adoptive families to have retained a “Primary Provider Agency” to take responsibility for the performance or oversight of all adoption services. It also requires that all adoption service providers be accredited, approved, exempt or supervised by the Primary Provider. This was not the case in the past. Parents could previously submit their dossier directly to a foreign placement entity to save fees. They must now hire an agency and pay the agency fee.
Do we need a Foreign Supervised Provider Agreement with an orphanage under UAA?
Yes. The Universal Accreditation Act “(UAA”), the Hague regulations, the Council on Accreditation (“COA”) and the US Department of State (“DOS”) all mandate that a Primary Provider agency be named and that supervision of foreign placing entities take place and be evidenced in writing for all international child placements. This applies in Pakistan and Morocco where placements occur under guardianship. The purpose of these mandates is to protect children and parents, both biological and adoptive from fraud, trafficking and corruption.
A Supervised Provider Agreement sets forth the responsibilities of the service providers and assures that the placing entity in the foreign country is willing to abide by the legal and ethical standards of the Hague Convention. It holds the Primary Provider Agency accountable for the placing entities behavior, requires transparency and protects triad members. Without this instrument, there is no specific assignment of responsibility for adoption service providers’ actions abroad nor transparency of the foreign placing entity’s practices. This legislation helps assure families are receiving ethical adoption services through ethical providers.
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