While a domestic adoption occurs within the borders of a country, an international adoption is one where a child is adopted between countries and is sometimes referred to as an intercountry adoption.
The guide below can help you learn more about how to begin the international adoption process in Mississippi, and help you determine if an intercountry adoption is the right choice for your family.
The country that you choose to adopt from and the professional that you choose to work with will affect your Mississippi international adoption process. Each country will have its own adoption costs, requirements and laws, and its relationship with The Hague Adoption Convention will also influence your individual adoption process.
It’s always recommended that you spend some time learning about all the different ways that you can expand your family. If you know that adoption is the path that you want to go down, learn about the different types of adoption and the varying requirements and processes of each, particularly the emotional challenges and benefits that you may experience. After educating yourself about the emotional steps of choosing to complete the international adoption process in Mississippi, you can typically expect the legal and practical steps to go something like this:
In order to adopt a child from another country in Mississippi, you’ll of course need to establish which country you’ll be adopting from. Some adoptive families already have some idea of where they’d like to adopt from, and others aren’t sure or don’t have a preference.
Remember that there are a number of factors that can affect where you might be able to adopt a child from, including:
The international adoption laws, politics and travel restrictions of a country, which change often.
The international adoption costs of a country and an adoption professional.
The requirements for prospective adoptive parents that a country has.
The racial and cultural identity of an internationally adopted child, which will always be an integral part of their personal identity.
When choosing an agency, remember that the countries an adoption professional is licensed to work with will vary. So, if you have your heart set on adopting a child from a specific country, searching for international adoption agencies in Mississippi that are licensed to conduct adoptions in that country will probably be at the top of your list.
It’s also important to note that even if you aren’t adopting from a country involved in the Hague Convention, you should choose a Mississippi international adoption agency that is Hague-accredited.
The MS international adoption home study process is a lengthy one, often taking several months to complete. Prospective adoptive parents are advised to begin their home study as soon as they can.
Like a domestic adoption home study, a Mississippi international adoption home study requires:
Current health and financial records
Adoption reference letters
Family interviews and a series of home visits before and after placement with your home study worker
Abuse and criminal background checks
Your Mississippi home study professional will also need to be licensed in accordance with The Hague Convention in order for them to conduct a home study for an international adoption in Mississippi, regardless of whether or not you plan to adopt from a Hague Convention country.
After completing your home study process, you’ll need to confirm that as an adoptive parent, you’re eligible to complete an intercountry adoption in Mississippi. You’ll need to file the following documents with The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Adoption Department:
If you’ve already been matched with a child through your MS international adoption agency, you’ll file your completed Mississippi international adoption home study, your adoption dossier and Form 1-800. If you haven’t been matched yet, you’ll file Form 1-800A, instead.
Confirmed eligibility to adopt from a Hague Convention country remains valid for up to 15 months.
If you’ve already been matched with a child through your MS international adoption agency, you’ll file your completed Mississippi international adoption home study, your adoption dossier and Form 1-600. If you haven’t been matched yet, you’ll file Form 1-600A, instead.
Confirmed eligibility to adopt from non-Hague Convention country remains valid for up to 18 months.
If the USCIS adoption department has confirmed that you are eligible to adopt internationally in Mississippi, they will ship your adoption dossier and your submitted forms to the adoption department in your child’s home country, where the process will be repeated according to that country’s adoption eligibility standards.
After your own eligibility to adopt a child from another country has been confirmed by both countries, you’ll repeat the process to confirm that your child is eligible to be adopted.
If you previously filed Form 1-800A or 1-600A, you’ll now file Form 1-800 (Hague) or 1-600 (non-Hague).
If USCIS adoption authorities confirm that your child is eligible for international adoption, you’ll be able to then file for their travel visa. With that visa, you can return with them to Mississippi. To obtain this visa, file Form DS-260 with your child’s country’s adoption authorities.
The adoption and visa application process can take a while because the two countries will need to send the necessary documents back and forth. This means you’ll need to stay in your child’s home country for about one to four weeks during this time.
The visa that you’ll be granted will depend on how you’re completing your adoption:
If both adoptive parents (when applicable) are present for the adoption finalization in your child’s country, you’ll be granted an IH-3 (Hague) or IR-3 (non-Hague) travel visa.
If only one of two adoptive parents is present and/or the adoption still needs to be finalized in Mississippi, you’ll be granted an IH-4 (Hague) or IR-4 (non-Hague) travel visa.
After obtaining your child’s travel visa, you can go home together and proceed to the final stage of the international adoption process in MS.
If you were granted an IH-4 or IR-4 travel visa, then you’ll need to finalize your adoption upon returning to Mississippi.
If you were granted an IH-3 or IR-3 travel visa, then your adoption is considered finalized according to your child’s home country’s standards, but a re-adoption within the U.S. is highly recommended for safety reasons. A re-adoption in Mississippi ensures that there will be no legal complications regarding parenthood or citizenship later on. This is extremely important for protecting your child’s status as a new U.S. citizen.
Once you have completed the adoption finalization or re-adoption process, your Mississippi international adoption process is finished.
To receive more information about Mississippi intercountry adoption, contact the international adoption agencies in Mississippi listed below. They can help you begin the international adoption process:
200 Million Flowers (international home studies only)
If you’d like to learn more about domestic adoption, call 1-800-ADOPTION now.
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