- How much does it cost to adopt internationally?
- How long does the process take?
- How old are the children?
- Can we state a preference for a boy or girl?
- Can single people adopt?
- What requirements do the parents have to meet?
- What is a dossier?
- What documents go into a dossier?
- Why is the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) involved?
- What is authentication?
- Do we need to have passports for adoption? Do we need visas to travel to the country?
- Why would you not choose to adopt a particular child referred to you?
- Where can I get good medical advice about an international adoption?
- Do we have to travel to my child's birth country to adopt him/her?
- How do I find out more information about intercountry adoption and about specific countries?
How much does it cost to adopt internationally?
The cost varies country-to-country, but the range of cost, including all U.S. and foreign fees as well as travel, is $25,000.00 to $45,000.00. The most common factors affecting cost is the selected country itself, the age of child desired, and the health of the child.
How long does the process take?
The wait time for an intercountry adoption varies by country. Most adoptions are taking one to two years to complete. Some countries, such as China, are currently taking over 3 years before placement occurs. Factors that may delay an adoption from a particular country include changes in country to their adoption process; temporary “moratoriums” on adoptive placements imposed by the country; travel restrictions to certain areas of the world due to conflict or disease and political changes in the country from which you wished to adopt.
How old are the children?
Again, it depends upon which country you pursue for adoption. Many countries have minimum wait times in order to allow for the in-country legal process to be completed. It is rare that a child will be under six months of age and more likely that the child will be close to, if not older than, one year of age. Many children are in need of homes, so there are children up to age fifteen available for adoption in some countries.
Can we state a preference for a boy or a girl?
In most countries, parents may state a gender preference. Please keep in mind, however, that any parameters you place on the type of child you wish to parent will likely result in a longer wait for a referral.
Can single people adopt?
Yes, although it has been increasingly difficult and limited. There are some limitations and/or additional requirements for single parents depending on the country. If you are single, we recommend that you do extensive research on what countries still allow single parent adoptions and what the extra requirements might be before you process with a home study process.
What requirements do the parents have to meet?
For international adoption, all prospective adoptive parents must be at least 25 years of age. At least one parent must be a U.S. citizen. Other than these two requirements, each country decides other eligibility criteria, such as marital status, age, income, etc. Coordinators2inc does require that all couples wishing to pursue adoption be married at least one year before submitting their initial application. Some countries have very specific requirements around health, previous marriages, and income that you should educate yourself about before proceeding.
What is a dossier?
The dossier is the collection of documents that your placing agency sends to the legal decision-making body in the child's country of origin. It describes the person or couple that would like to adopt and demonstrates that they are capable of being adequate parents and have met the requirements of that country sufficiently.
What documents go into a dossier?
This will vary country-to-country. However, there are some basic documents required for all dossiers. Most of these are certified documents obtained from the state's bureau of vital records. Examples are certified copies of marriage certificates, birth certificates, divorce decrees, and death certificates, where applicable. It is a good idea to obtain these from the bureau of vital records, always ordering one extra copy beyond the required number for your chosen country. The placing agency will instruct you as to how many to order, once you've decided on a country.
Why is the
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) involved?
When you complete adoption of a child in a foreign country, that child is a citizen of that country. When you bring the child home to the U.S., you are bringing a citizen of another country into the U.S. From a legal standpoint, the child is immigrating into the U.S. and the USCIS regulates all immigrations. Therefore, to bring your newly adopted child into the U.S., you must comply with the rules as defined by the USCIS. These are not too complex and involve mostly filling out a number of forms. Refer to the section marked "USCIS" in the process portion of the International Adoption Get Started page, for a more detailed explanation.
What is authentication?
The officials in the foreign country from which you will be adopting will be matching you with a child solely on the basis of a stack of documents from the United States. They cannot keep track of what is an authentic document from thousands of state and county government bodies in the U.S. To resolve this problem, they have adopted a set of requirements call authentication or sealing..
The best way to explain the authentication or sealing process is by example. One of the required documents in the dossier is a basic medical examination to ensure that the parents are healthy enough to raise a child. The medical exam form is filled out by the examining physician (Dr. Jones), and signed in the presence of a notary. The notary (Bill Smith) places his seal on the document and signs a certification that Martha Jones, M.D. is the person signing the document. This document is now taken to the state government, which issues a second seal, which states that the notarization has been completed by a state registered notary. The document now goes to the U.S. State Department, which issues a third seal, which states that the Certification issued by the Commonwealth of Virginia is in fact an official document. Finally, this document goes to the Embassy or Consulate of the foreign country (located in Washington D.C.), which provides a fourth and final seal stating that the U. S. State Department document is an official state department document. This process of authentication is required by some but not all countries. Some documents may need to be sealed only at The Embassy while others will need both the State Department and Embassy Seals. Your referral agency will either guide you in this process as you gather the documents and complete all the sealing or they will do it for you. Coordinators2inc
may be able to assist in a limited capacity if requested.
Do we need to have passports for adoption? Do we need visas to travel to the country?
For all international adoptions, you will need a valid passport that is not due to expire within the year. Almost all countries require travel visas to enter their country.
Why would you not choose to adopt a particular child referred to you?
There are a variety of reasons for deciding against a referral, but the primary reason for refusing referral of a child is information in the medical report that indicates the child has a medical condition that the prospective parents are unable to handle. Other factors may be other information received on the child indicating developmental or emotional needs that once again, the family feels unprepared to respond to effectively. This is why it is so important for adoptive parents to be honest with themselves and their home study worker as to the type of child they are able to parent.
Where can I get good medical advice about an international adoption?
Coordinators2inc can provide you with a list of resources for medical advice and assistance. There are several medical clinics in Virginia that specialize in internationally adopted children, one of which is right here in Richmond, Virginia.
Do we have to travel to our child's birth country to adopt him/her?
In almost every case, the answer is yes. It is a legal requirement for the majority of international adoptions. Traveling to your child's birth country can also be valuable for your child's future. By traveling to the country, you can learn much about your child's birth culture and be better equipped to answer questions that may arise regarding your child's adoption story.
How do I find out more information about Intercountry adoption and about specific countries?
If you click on the link titled "Resources For Families", you will find a number of links to valuable websites related to intercountry adoption. In addition, you are welcome to contact us directly, if you have very specific questions about adoption from the countries in which we work.