At American Adoptions, we only complete adoptions that occur within the United States. However, we know that plenty of families are interested in pursuing international adoption in North Carolina. It can be difficult to find resources that apply specifically to the process in your state, so with this in mind, we’ve compiled an outline of the North Carolina international adoption process.
Keep in mind while reading this article that the steps for adopting a child from another country can vary greatly depending on which country you choose to adopt from. To learn more about how to adopt a child from another country, speak with your North Carolina international adoption agency.
This decision will determine how the rest of your international adoption process goes. North Carolina international adoption agencies specialize in completing international adoptions in different countries, so you’ll first need to determine what areas you’re interested in before you can begin researching professionals. You may want to consider that the adoption requirements are different in different countries, as are the potential costs.
After you’ve chosen a location (or at least honed in on a few countries to adopt from), you’ll be ready to start researching adoption professionals. At this phase, you’ll only want to consider professionals who are Hague-accredited. The Hague Adoption Convention is an international adoption treaty that was enacted in 1993 to protect children who are adopted overseas. Hague guidelines serve to regulate the international adoption process and ensure the safety and wellbeing of internationally adopted children. You can find a list of international adoption agencies in North Carolina below.
To make sure you are eligible to adopt abroad and bring your child back to the United States, you’ll be required to apply with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You’ll file Form I-800A if the country you choose to adopt from is a member of the Hague Convention. You’ll file Form I-600A if the country is not Hague-accredited. You will also need approval from the adoption authorities in the country from which you hope to adopt.
After USCIS and the foreign government’s adoption authorities have granted you adoption eligibility, you’ll enter what many adoptive families refer to as the waiting period. How this period will go depends largely on the country you choose to adopt from. Some countries will provide you with an adoption opportunity before you travel, while others will have you travel to match with your child.
Once you’ve gone to your child’s home country to meet them and bring them home with you, you’ll need to make sure they can immigrate back to the United States. If you adopted your child from a Hague-accredited country, you’ll file Form I-800. If not, you’ll file Form I-600. After your request for your child’s immigration has been granted, you’ll file form DS-260 to receive his or her visa. The type of visa depends both on whether or not both parents were present for the adoption and if the country is a member of the Hague convention. If the parents were present in the child’s native country, you’ll either receive an IH-3 (Hague) or an IR-4 (non-Hague) visa. If only one parent was presented or the adoption wasn’t finalized in the foreign country, you’ll receive an IH-4 (Hague) or an IR-4 (non-Hague) visa.
Regardless of if your child’s intercountry adoption was finalized in his or her native country, it’s important that you finalize your child’s international adoption or re-adopt them in the United States.
Re-adoption is the process of finalizing your child’s adoption upon return to the United States, even if you’ve finalized it in his or her home country. If you received an IH-4 or an IR-4 visa, finalizing your child’s adoption in the United States will be legally required, as this means it was not finalized in the foreign country. However, even if you received an IH-3 or IR-3 visa, you should always finalize your child’s adoption in the United States, regardless of how the process was done in the foreign country.
This process looks much like adoption finalization in a private domestic adoption, and it ensures that your child has the same rights and privileges as any other U.S. citizen.
As we mentioned above, American Adoptions works only in domestic adoptions. However, North Carolina does have international adoption agencies for families hoping to adopt overseas:
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