International adoption, or “intercounty adoption,” is the process of adopting a child from a country outside of the U.S. Here, learn how the international adoption process works in Kansas and find the resources you need to successfully complete this type of adoption.
Depending on whether or not the country from which you adopt is part of The Hague Adoption Convention, and depending on the specific adoption laws in the country you adopt from, your adoption process will look slightly different. But generally, there are seven major steps to the international adoption process in Kansas:
Not every adoptive family has a strong preference about the country in which their child is born. Sometimes, current political affairs, travel restrictions, or changing adoption laws will influence which countries you’ll most likely be able to adopt from at a given point in time. Research should be your first action when deciding which country to adopt from.
Other factors can influence which country you adopt through, including:
The availability of certain types of children; children of particular ages, sibling groups, and genders will be more frequently available for adoption in some countries than in others.
Countries have individual eligibility requirements, so you’ll need to meet those in order to be able to adopt from that particular country.
Total costs to adopt internationally will vary based on the country, largely due to travel costs.
Culture and race play a large role in the life of an internationally adopted person, and it’s something that adoptive parents should be prepared to embrace as a new part of their family’s uniquely formed culture.
Not all international adoption agencies in Kansas are authorized to complete adoptions within certain countries, so if you have your heart set on adopting through a particular country, you may want to find a KS-servicing international adoption agency that’s experienced and licensed in that region of the world.
A good Kansas international adoption professional will:
Educate, support, and guide you throughout your adoption journey, and carefully manage your case with the optimal well-being of young adoptees as their top priority.
Handle communication with the country through which you intend to adopt, and communicate with the adoption professionals there.
Conduct your international adoption home study, or oversee the home study conducted by an approved Kansas home study professional, including post-placement visits.
Search for children and birth families who are potential matches with you.
Talk you through the international adoption process, including the necessary paperwork, legalities, and re-adoption processes that may be required in your situation.
It can be helpful to check reviews and ratings of Kansas international adoption agencies online whenever possible to ensure that you’re working with a high-quality professional who will take care of you and put the best interests of children first.
Unlike a home study for domestic adoption, your Kansas home study professional must be licensed according to the Hague Convention requirements, even if you’re not adopting through a country that’s associated with the Hague Convention. If you work with a home study professional outside of your adoption agency, your agency will likely need to approve the home study professional that you choose in addition to reviewing their reports.
The home study process for international adoption can take as long as three months, so it’s best to start right now.
In other respects, the home study is very similar to the domestic adoption home study. You’ll need:
Clearances on criminal background checks in Kansas as well as on a federal level
Recent health statements
Recent financial statements and documentation
Autobiographical statements regarding your intent to adopt
In-home visits involving an interview and a home inspection to verify safety
Post-placement visits to verify that everyone is adjusting well to the adoption placement
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Adoption Department must verify that you’re eligible to adopt.
If you’re adopting through Hague Convention countries:
You’ll file Form 1-800A along with your information, documentation, and completed international adoption home study. Your adoption eligibility for a Hague Convention country is valid for 15 months.
If you’re adopting through a non-Hague Convention country:
You’ll file Form 1-600A if you haven’t matched with a child that you intend to adopt yet. Or, you’ll file Form 1-600 if you’ve already matched with a child through your Kansas international adoption agency, along with your information, documentation, and completed international adoption home study.
Your adoption eligibility for a non-Hague Convention country is valid for 18 months.
Once the USCIS adoption authorities have cleared your adoption eligibility, your KS international adoption provider will send your completed form and your adoption dossier to the country’s adoption agency, where they’ll also review it to ensure that you’re eligible to adopt according to their own adoption laws.
Once you’re matched with a child that you wish to adopt, you’ll essentially repeat the process that verified your eligibility to adopt, but this time with the purpose of confirming that the child is eligible for immigration to the U.S. from their country.
Previously, you either filed Form 1-800A or 1-600A. Now, you’ll need to file Form 1-800 or 1-600, depending on whether you’re working with a Hague Convention country or not.
The USCIS will review your child’s form and information, and if they approve their adoption eligibility, you’ll apply for the child’s U.S. visa to be able to leave their country. This requires you to submit Form DS-260, which is reviewed by the child’s home country’s administration.
Most stays within your child’s home country for the adoption last one to four weeks. You’ll complete the final steps of your child’s visa application, move on to the legal steps of the KS international adoption process, and spend time getting to know your child.
There will be a final interview with the country’s adoption authorities where they verify that you’ve met all requirements for adoption. If you receive that last verification, they’ll grant your child a visa corresponding to your situation, either:
An IH-3 (Hague) or IR-3 (non-Hague) visa if both adoptive parents (when applicable) are present and the adoption is completed in the child’s native country
An IH-4 (Hague) or IR-4 (non-Hague) visa if only one of two adoptive parents are present and/or the adoption has to be finalized in Kansas
When you return to Kansas, make sure that your child has their:
Social Security card
Any additional documents required by the “sending” country
Returning home with your child is an exciting milestone, but it is not the final step of international adoption in Kansas.
Next, you’ll need to complete the international adoption process in Kansas through either a finalization or a recommended re-adoption.
If your child was given an IH-4 or IR-4 visa, you will finalize the adoption for it to be complete.
If your child was given an IH-3 or IR-3 visa, the adoption is technically complete since it was finalized in your child’s home country, but a re-adoption within the U.S. is strongly recommended by professionals.
This final step ensures that your child’s adoption is legally recognized in both countries, and that they will receive full rights as a U.S. citizen. Failing to finalize or re-adopt an internationally adopted child in Kansas can bring about legal difficulties regarding citizenship or parenthood. Finalization is necessary; re-adoption helps ensure legal safety for you and your child.
After the finalization or re-adoption in Kansas, your child’s adoption is successfully completed!
While there currently aren’t any full-service international adoption agencies in Kansas, some national agencies have home study providers or branches located within the state that can help you with your international adoption needs, including:
Christian Family Services (International Adoption Home Studies Only in Kansas)
Adoption Option, Inc. (International Adoption Home Studies Only in Kansas)
Nightlight Christian Adoptions (No Home Study Services in Kansas)
Children’s House International Adoptions (No Home Study Services in Kansas)
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