Because there are hundreds of countries to adopt from, the Maryland international adoption process can actually vary widely. The country you end up choosing to adopt from will dictate much of your experience with adoption overseas. To help you understand the general logistics of international adoptions in Maryland, however, we’ve compiled a basic guide to help you prepare to adopt abroad.
International adoption agencies in Maryland and throughout the United States specialize in completing international adoptions from different countries, so you have to choose which locations interest you before you begin contacting professionals to learn how to adopt a child from another country. Keep in mind, too, that different countries have different costs and requirements associated with adoption.
After you know which countries to adopt from interest you, it will be time to choose an adoption agency. You should consider only professionals who are Hague-accredited, which means they have complied with the International Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012.
After you’ve been cleared for adoption by both the U.S. and the country you adopt from, you’ll enter the waiting period for an adoption opportunity. Some countries prefer that couples wait in the United States until an adoption match has been found, while others have you travel to the country and match with a child there.
After you’ve traveled to bring your child home, you’ll need to apply for their immigration eligibility back to the United Sates. For Hague countries, you’ll file Form I-800. For non-Hague countries, you’ll file Form I-600. Once you receive the go-ahead for your child to immigrate, you’ll file form DS-260 to get your child’s visa. If both parents were present for the adoption in the foreign country, you’ll receive either an IH-3 visa (Hague) or an IR-3 visa (non-Hague). If only one parent was present in the foreign country or the adoption wasn’t finalized in the child’s native country, you’ll receive either an IH-4 (Hague) or an IR-4 (non-Hague) visa.
Even if an international adoption was finalized in a foreign country, it is important that you finalize it again upon returning home. See below to learn more about re-adoption.
Re-adoption is finalizing your child’s adoption again upon returning to the United States. Of course, if the adoption was not finalized in your child’s home country, then you will have to finalize it upon arrival at home. However, it is recommended that you always finalize an international adoption in the United States, even when the adoption process was legally completed in another country. This is to ensure that your child is an official U.S. citizen and receives all the rights and privileges that come with that.
As a private domestic adoption agency, American Adoptions only completes adoptions that occur within the United States. However, for those families interested in adopting internationally in Maryland, you can contact any of the following agencies:
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