Obviously, domestic adoptions are close to our hearts at American Adoptions. However, Missouri families have another option to grow, and that’s by pursuing international adoptions. While we work only with pregnant women inside the United States, we still believe in providing good information if you’re considering adopting a child from another country.
Choose a country to adopt from. This may depend on several conditions: your preferences in a child, the specific country’s requirements for adopting, the cost and the culture of the country.
Choose an agency to help you complete your adoption. Different professionals work in different countries, so you’ll need to know where you want to adopt from before beginning your search for a reputable agency.
Complete your home study, which will be similar to the one you would complete for a domestic adoption. The country you choose to adopt from may ask for additional information, however, so communicate with your adoption professional about what exactly to expect.
Apply for adoption eligibility. This process will depend on whether or not the country you choose to adopt from is part of the Hague Convention, which was put in place to ensure safety practices in international adoptions. If you are adopting from a Hague Convention country, you’ll fill out form I-800A for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If the country you adopt from isn’t a Hague Convention Country, you’ll file Form I-600A with USCIS.
When you’re determined eligible for international adoption by the United States, it will then be time to wait for a match. Depending on where you’re adopting from, you may receive a referral before you travel, or you may be matched with a child after you arrive in the country. If you receive a referral, it will include information about the child, a picture and an explanation of why the child has been matched with you. When you accept the referral, you will then travel to the country to meet your child.
Once you’ve been matched with a child, you’ll have another application to fill out with USCIS. Depending on which form you originally filled out for your own eligibility to adopt, you’ll either file Form I-800 or Form I-600 for your child’s eligibility to immigrate to Missouri. If everything goes well with the first form, you’ll then fill out the DS-260 form to apply for your child’s visa.
Now it’s time to travel to meet your child! Expect to stay from one to four weeks as you complete the legalities as well as your visa application. You will be interviewed by the country’s adoption authorities before receiving one of four possible immigrant visas for your child. Exactly which one your child receives will depend on how the adoption was completed and whether or not you adopted from a Hague Convention Country.
Before returning home from the country in which you adopted your child, you’ll need to make sure you have certain documents lined up for him or her:
Any documentation required specifically by the country you adopted from
A Social Security card
A birth certificate
When pursuing intercountry adoption, sometimes parents forget that the process isn’t necessarily finalized as soon as you bring your child home to Missouri with you. What happens after you return to Missouri will depend on the type of immigration visa your child was given. This could be one of two varieties:
The IH-3 or IR-3, which signifies that the adoption was completed in the foreign country and that both parents were there. If you adopted from a Hague country, you’ll receive the IH-3. If not, you’ll get the IR-3.
The IH-4 or IR-4, which signifies that the adoption was not completed in the country your child is from or that only one parent was present to meet the child.
If you received an IH-4 or IR-4 for your child, your foreign adoption was not completed. You must still finalize it in Missouri. If you received an IH-3 or IR-3, this means the adoption process was officially completed, but it’s still recommended that you re-adopt your child to make sure his or her international adoption is legally recognized in Missouri. This way, you can be sure that your child will be a legally recognized United States citizen and avoid any potential legal difficulties in the future.
As stated above, the international adoption agency you work with will depend on which country you want to adopt from. Once you’ve settled on a location, though, here are a few agencies that can help you adopt internationally from Missouri:
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