While domestic adoption is the adoption of a child within the country, an international adoption (also sometimes referred to as an intercountry adoption) is the adoption of a child from another country.
The information below will give you an overview of the international adoption process for adoptive parents in Colorado who are thinking about adopting a child from another country.
Although the international adoption process varies depending on the country you adopt from, including that country’s adoption laws and requirements and whether they’re a part of The Hague Adoption Convention, the average international adoption process in Colorado consists of these seven steps:
You may have a preference about the country you adopt a child from, or you may have no preference. Either is perfectly fine. However, you should be aware of factors that may influence where you’ll adopt from, including:
The specific requirements that you’ll need to meet as adoptive parents, which vary between countries.
The varying costs of international adoption which change depending on the country and adoption professional you work with.
The availability of specific ages and genders of children within a specific country can vary.
The constantly changing politics, travel restrictions and international adoption laws may determine which countries you’re able to adopt from.
The race and cultural heritage of an internationally adopted child will remain an important part of their life and the life of your family, so adoptive parents should be educated and prepared accordingly.
Each Colorado international adoption agency is able to complete intercountry adoption within certain countries. These authorizations vary between agencies. Keep this in mind if you have a specific country you wish to adopt from, as not all international adoption agencies in Colorado will be licensed to complete adoptions within that country.
It’s also strongly recommended that you work with an international adoption agency in Colorado that is Hague-accredited, even if you don’t’ adopt from a Hague Convention country. Online reviews can also be useful in finding an international adoption agency that puts the welfare of children first.
Your Colorado home study professional must be licensed by Hague Convention home study requirements, regardless of whether or not you’re adopting from a Hague country. If you’re working with a third-party home study provider, your adoption agency will usually need to approve of the service provider first.
The home study process for international adoption can take up to three months, so starting as soon as possible is recommended.
Similarly to domestic adoption home studies, a CO international adoption home study requires:
Updated health and financial records
Adoption reference letters
Autobiographical statements about your motivations to adopt a child from another country
Pre-placement visits in your home, which include family interviews and a home tour
You’ll need to be confirmed as eligible to adopt by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Adoption Department once your home study is complete. To do this, you’ll file the following documents that are appropriate to your situation.
If you’re adopting from a Hague Convention country:
You’ll file Form 1-800A along with your completed international adoption home study and your adoption dossier. Confirmed adoption eligibility for a Hague Convention country is valid for up to 15 months.
If you’re adopting from a non-Hague Convention country:
You’ll file Form 1-600A if you haven’t been matched with a child yet. You’ll file Form 1-600 if you have been matched with a child via your Colorado international adoption agency. File that form along with your completed international adoption home study and your adoption dossier. Confirmed adoption eligibility for a non-Hague country is valid for up to 18 months.
After the USCIS adoption department has confirmed your eligibility to adopt internationally, they’ll send your forms and adoption dossier to the adoption authorities in your child’s country, where they’ll also review the documents to see if you’re eligible to adopt by their country’s set of adoption standards.
A child that’s adopted internationally will also need to be confirmed as eligible for adoption by both countries. This means that you’ll repeat the process that confirmed your eligibility as an adoptive parent, but now with the intent of confirming the child’s adoption eligibility.
So if you filed Form 1-800A or 1-600A for yourself, you’ll now file Form 1-800 (for Hague Convention countries) or 1-600 (for non-Hague countries) for your child.
When the USCIS adoption authorities confirm your child’s adoption eligibility, you’ll then file for his or her travel visa, allowing them to come to the United States with you. To do this, you’ll need to file Form DS-260 with your child’s country’s adoption department.
During the adoption and visa application process, you should anticipate staying in your child’s home country about one to four weeks. If your child’s home country grants your child a visa, they’ll be allowed to return to Colorado with you. The visa they receive will vary:
If both adoptive parents (when applicable) are present and the adoption is finalized in-country, you’re given an IH-3 (Hague) or IR-3 (non-Hague) visa.
If only one of two adoptive parents is present and/or the adoption is yet to be finalized in Colorado, you’re given an IH-4 (Hague) or IR-4 (non-Hague) visa.
Once you’ve returned to Colorado with your child, you’ll either finalize the adoption or complete a re-adoption. This just depends on the visa you received in your child’s home country:
If you received an IH-4 or IR-4, you’ll need to finalize the adoption within Colorado.
If you received an IH-3 or IR-3, it’s recommended that you complete a re-adoption within U.S. borders for your child’s legal protection as a citizen.
Although an adoption finalization is legally required with an IH-4 or IR-4 visa, completing a recommended re-adoption on U.S. soil with an IH-3 or IR-3 visa safeguards your child’s U.S. citizenship and adoption status in both countries. If you fail to finalize or re-adopt your child in Colorado, you may have to deal with frustrating legal trip-ups about parenthood or citizenship later on.
Once the finalization or re-adoption is complete, the Colorado international adoption process is also finished.
These international adoption agencies in Colorado can help you find the resources necessary to complete an international adoption:
For free adoption information about domestic adoption, call 1-800-ADOPTION.
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