An intercountry adoption refers to the adoption of a child across national borders. The following information will help you learn more about the international adoption process for prospective adoptive parents in Ohio, and the resources that you’ll need:
Everyone’s own international adoption process will look slightly different depending on the country you adopt from and whether or not that country is part of The Hague Adoption Convention, and that country’s adoption laws and requirements for adoptive parents. However, the international adoption process in Ohio consists of seven key steps:
You may or may not have a preference about the country your child is born in. It’s important to note that current political affairs, travel restrictions, or shifting national adoption laws will likely affect which countries you’ll be able to adopt from at a given point in time.
Researching your options should be your first step when deciding which country to adopt from, because trends in international adoption frequently change and you need up-to-date information before moving forward. Other factors that can influence which country you’ll adopt through may include:
The ages and genders of children available for adoption, which vary from one country to the next.
The adoptive parent eligibility requirements of a country, which vary from one country to the next.
The varying international adoption costs of different countries and international adoption agencies.
The racial and cultural heritage of an internationally adopted child, which will continue to play an important role in their life.
Because every Ohio international adoption agency only completes adoptions within countries they’re individually authorized to work with, you may want to keep this in mind when choosing a country to adopt from or choosing an agency to work with.
It’s also generally recommended to work with international adoption agencies in Ohio that are Hague-accredited, even if you don’t intend to adopt from a country that’s part of the Hague Convention. Online ratings and reviews of Ohio international adoption agencies can also be helpful to you when choosing an adoption professional that puts the needs of children first and foremost.
Regardless of whether or not you’re adopting from a Hague Convention country, the Ohio home study professional you work with will need to be licensed according to The Hague Convention home study requirements. If you work with a home study professional that’s not affiliated with your agency, your social worker will likely need to approve the home study professional.
A home study for international adoption in Ohio takes about three months, so getting started on the home study process now may be helpful to you. Generally, the international adoption home study is very similar to the domestic adoption home study. It requires:
Current health statements
Current financial statements
At least three adoption reference letters
Pre-placement visits in your home, including family interviews and safety inspections
Post-placements visits in your home to ensure everyone is adjusting well
Prospective adoptive parents through intercountry adoption will first need to be verified as eligible to adopt by The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Adoption Department.
For those adopting through Hague Convention countries:
You’ll file Form 1-800A, your completed international adoption home study and other required documents. Once you’re confirmed as eligible to adopt for a Hague Convention country, it’s valid for up to 15 months.
For those adopting through a non-Hague Convention country:
You’ll file Form 1-600A if you haven’t been matched with a child yet. If you’ve already been matched with a child, you’ll file Form 1-600 along with your completed international adoption home study and other required documents.
Once you’re confirmed as eligible to adopt for a non-Hague Convention country, it’s valid for up to 18 months.
Once the USCIS adoption department has confirmed your eligibility for international adoption in OH, your adoption professional sends your completed forms and adoption dossier to the country’s adoption authorities. They’ll also review your adoption dossier to confirm your adoption eligibility according to their own national adoption laws and requirements.
You’ll need to repeat the same adoption eligibility process for the child that you intend to adopt.
You’ll now file Form 1-800 if you’re adopting from a Hague Convention country, or you’ll file Form 1-600 if you’re adopting from a non-Hague country.
The USCIS will need to confirm your child’s adoption eligibility in order for you to file for the child’s U.S. visa. You’ll file Form DS-260 to the child’s country’s adoption administration to review and then approve.
Expect to stay in your child’s home country for one to four weeks while you complete the adoption and visa application processes. There may also be an exit interview with your child’s country’s adoption authorities.
If the sending country’s adoption authorities find that you’ve met all the necessary requirements to adopt, they’ll grant your child the visa necessary for them to return to Ohio with you.
If both adoptive parents (when applicable) are present and the adoption is completed within the sending country, you’ll be supplied with an IH-3 (Hague) or IR-3 (non-Hague) visa
If only one of two adoptive parents are present and/or the adoption still needs to be finalized upon returning to Ohio, you’ll be supplied with an IH-4 (Hague) or IR-4 (non-Hague) visa
Once you’ve obtained a visa for your child, you’ll be able to return to Ohio.
If your child was granted an IH-4 or IR-4 visa, you’ll need to finalize the adoption in Ohio.
If your child was granted an IH-3 or IR-3 visa, a re-adoption within the U.S. is highly recommended by adoption experts, even though the adoption is technically complete according to the sending country’s standards.
A re-adoption or finalization is key to protecting your child’s rights as a U.S. citizen. This step ensures that your child’s adoption is formally recognized by both countries’ administrations. By failing to re-adopt or finalize your adoption in Ohio, you may run into legal difficulties regarding citizenship or parenthood even years or decades later. An adoption finalization is legally required, but a re-adoption safeguards the legal bonds of your family.
Once finalization or re-adoption in Ohio is complete, the international adoption process is also completed.
There are several resources for international adoption in Ohio that you may consider working with, some of which offer international adoption home study services, such as:
For questions about domestic adoption, call 1-800-ADOPTION.
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