You're ready to become a parent and are set on adopting internationally. Understanding the international adoption process includes knowing the two different types: Hague and orphan (or non-Hague). The specific adoption process that you must go through depends on the country where your child is coming from, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Oversees adoptions are often subject to the international treaty, the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (also known as just the Hague Adoption Convention). The over-riding goal of this treaty is to safeguard children who are adopted internationally. Countries that are part of the Convention have adoption processes that are subject to these guidelines. Your agency will tell you if your adoptive child's country is part of the Convention or not.
There are dozens of Hague Convention countries. The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs maintains an up-to-date list. There are some countries that are part of the Convention that don't allow adoptions from the U.S. under the Hague treaty. This list changes depending on the home-country's politics.
If your child's home country is part of the Convention you must follow the rules of the treaty during the entire process. This includes choosing a Hague Accredited Adoption Service Provider (or ASP). Only some adoption agencies are authorized to handle Hague adoptions. The first thing that you need to do is ask the provider or agency if they are official ASPs. You may also use a Hague authorized immigration attorney to help you along with the process.
The Home Study
Now you're ready for a home study. Any adoption, whether it's domestic or international, requires a home study. This ensures that you (and your spouse or family) are fit to adopt. The study will help the agency to see who you are and how you live.
You need to have an authorized home study provider do the assessment. Your authorized ASP can help you to make sure that the home study casework is qualified.
Application and Petition
You've been found fit to adopt. Now it's time to fill out an application with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You can't make a decision on a specific child for adoption before the USCIS until your application is approved. After the application is approved, you need to file a separate petition. The petition that you file with the USCIS isn't the same as the application. The application allows you to start the process. The petition is used to decide if the child is eligible to immigrate to the U.S.
You'll most likely need to go to the child's home-country and meet all of their requirements for this to happen. Up until this point you've fulfilled your country's standards, now you need to meet with your child's country's policies. Before you can bring you adopted child in to the U.S. to join your family, you will need to apply for and get a visa for her.
After a few years of marriage, my husband and I decided to open our home to a child who needed a family. Our journey included learning about the adoption process, what goes into matching parents with children, and even how relationship counseling can help improve the chances of building a solid family unit. It did take some time, but at last we were matched with two wonderful children. One was a newborn while the other was six years old and had spent time in more than one foster home along the way. Each child brought specific challenges, but also gave us a joy that we had never known before. If you are thinking of becoming an adoptive parent, understand that it can take time. Read on and I'll share what things that you need to know in order to make your own journey.