At American Adoptions, we help families to grow through private domestic adoption. However, we’re passionate about making sure you have access to adoption information no matter which type of adoption appeals to you. To that end, we’ve compiled some helpful information for California families hoping to pursue international adoptions.
As a family pursuing intercountry adoption in California, here’s what you can expect the process to look like:
Choose a country to adopt from. Since different agencies specialize in different international adoptions, you’ll want to narrow down your list of countries to adopt from first and foremost. To do this, consider your preferences in a child; do you have preferences in terms of age or gender? You’ll also want to consider whether you meet the country’s eligibility requirements, as these do vary by location. Costs can vary as well.
Choose a California international adoption agency. Once you’ve chosen a country to adopt from, it’s time to choose a professional to help you complete the process. Per the International Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012, any professional you consider should be Hague-accredited, which means that they’re compliant with the Hague Convention. (The Hague Adoption Convention is an international treaty that was enacted to oversee international adoptions and protect children.) Your adoption agency will also help you to complete the adoption home study process and guide you through the rest of the necessary steps for an international adoption.
Apply to be eligible to adopt. Before you can adopt overseas in California, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must give their approval. If you’re hoping to adopt from a country that’s a member of the Hague Convention, you’ll fill out Form I-800A. If your country is a non-Hague country, you’ll file Form I-600A.
Wait for an adoption opportunity. When both the United States and the country you wish to adopt from have deemed you eligible, you’ll wait for an adoption opportunity. Depending on the country you’re adopting from, you may either receive an adoption referral before you travel or be matched with a child after you’ve traveled.
Apply for the child’s adoption eligibility. Once you’ve matched with a child, you’ll need to make sure he or she is eligible to immigrate to the United States. Depending on which form you previously filed with the USCIS, you’ll either fill out Form I-800 or Form I-600. Once that has been approved, you’ll fill out the DS-260 form to apply for your child’s visa.
Receive your child’s immigrant visa. When you travel to adopt your child, you’ll receive one of the following types of immigrant visas:
The IH-3 (Hague) or IR-3 (non-Hague) visa. You’ll receive this visa if both adoptive parents were present to complete the child’s adoption.
The IH-4 or IR-4 visa. You’ll receive this visa if the adoption was not completed in the child’s home country or if only one of the child’s adoptive parents were pregnant for the adoption proceedings. If this is the visa you receive, you will have to finalize your child’s adoption in the United States.
As we stated above, if you received an IH-4 or IR-4 visa for your child, you will have to finalize his or her adoption in the United States. However, it’s recommended that even if your child’s adoption was legally completed in his or her home country, you re-adopt, or finalize the adoption, in the United States. Re-adopting your child in the U.S. can help to ensure that he or she gets the same legal rights as a U.S. citizen. Where a foreign adoption is concerned, it’s always prudent to complete a re-adoption in the United States.
If you’re interested in adopting internationally in California, you’ll want a trusted professional who is skilled in completing adoptions in the country you wish to adopt from. You should expect your adoption agency to:
Support, educate and guide you through the international adoption process
Oversee your home study
Communicate with the country you wish to adopt from and identify a child for an adoption opportunity
Help to terminate parental rights if applicable
Aid in the re-adoption process once you bring your child home to the U.S.
A few California international adoption agencies you may consider to help you in your adoption journey are:
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