An international adoption takes place across national borders and is also known as an intercountry adoption. If you’re considering beginning the international adoption process in Utah, the information below will help you understand more about adopting a child from another country, so you can better decide if it’s the right family-building option for you.
There are a number of factors that can influence your individual Utah international adoption process, such as the country you choose to adopt from and the professional you work with. The individual costs, laws, and requirements of a country will vary, and whether or not the country is involved with The Hague Adoption Convention will impact your adoption process, as well.
All of these factors can affect you international adoption process in Utah, but the process will usually go like this:
To adopt a child from another country in Utah, you’ll first need to determine which country you want that to be. Some adoptive families may have some idea of what country they might want to adopt from, while others might be unsure.
It’s worth noting that there are a few things that can affect the countries you might choose to adopt from, such as:
The requirements for potential adoptive parents in each country.
The international adoption costs of each country and each adoption professional.
The international adoption laws, travel restrictions and politics of each country, which are subject to frequent changes.
The racial and cultural identity of an internationally adopted child, which will remain an important part of their overall identity.
The countries that an agency is licensed to conduct adoptions in can vary. If you’re determined to adopt a child from a certain country, you may want to search for international adoption agencies in Utah that are licensed to complete adoptions within that specific country. Even if you don’t adopt from a country that is involved in the Hague Convention, your Utah international adoption agency should still be Hague-accredited.
An international adoption home study can take several months, so prospective adoptive parents are encouraged to begin as soon as possible.
A UT international adoption home study has similar requirements as a domestic adoption home study, including:
Abuse and criminal background checks
Family interviews and home visits before and after placement with your home study professional
Health and financial statements
Adoption reference letters
The Utah home study professional that you work with will need to be licensed in accordance with The Hague Convention for them to complete a home study for an international adoption, even if you aren’t adopting from a Hague Convention country.
Once you’ve completed your home study, you’ll need to confirm that you’re eligible to complete an intercountry adoption. To do this, file the following documents with The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Adoption Department:
For Hague Convention countries:
If your UT international adoption agency has already matched you with a child, you’ll file your adoption dossier, your completed Utah international adoption home study and Form 1-800. If you haven’t been matched yet, you’ll instead file Form 1-800A.
Confirmation as being eligible to adopt from a Hague Convention country is valid for up to 15 months.
For non-Hague Convention countries:
If your UT international adoption agency has already matched you with a child, you’ll file your adoption dossier, your completed Utah international adoption home study and Form 1-600. If you haven’t been matched yet, you’ll file Form 1-600A.
Confirmation as being eligible to adopt from a non-Hague Convention country is valid for up to 18 months.
When the USCIS adoption department confirms you as eligible to adopt internationally in Utah, they send your adoption dossier and forms to the adoption department of your child’s home country, where they’ll repeat the process using their own country’s adoption eligibility standards.
Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility to adopt a child from another country, you’ll need to repeat the process with both countries, but now with the goal of confirming that your child is eligible for adoption.
So, if you had previously filed Form 1-800A or 1-600A, you’ll now file Form 1-800 (Hague) or 1-600 (non-Hague).
When USCIS adoption authorities confirm your child as eligible to be adopted internationally, you can file for their travel visa. The visa will allow you to return together to Utah. To do this, file Form DS-260 with your child’s home country’s adoption authorities.
You can expect to stay in your child’s home country for about one to four weeks during the adoption and visa application process while the two countries send the required documents back and forth. The visa you’ll receive depends on your circumstances:
If both adoptive parents (when applicable) are there for the adoption finalization in your child’s country, you’ll be given an IH-3 (Hague) or IR-3 (non-Hague) travel visa.
If one out of two adoptive parents is present and/or the adoption remains to be finalized in Utah, you’ll be given an IH-4 (Hague) or IR-4 (non-Hague) travel visa.
Once your child has been granted their travel visa, you can all go home and move on to the final step of the international adoption process in UT.
An adoption finalization will be legally required when you return to Utah if you were given an IH-4 or IR-4 travel visa.
If you were given an IH-3 or IR-3 travel visa, then your adoption is legally finalized by your child’s home country’s standards, but a re-adoption on U.S. soil is still highly recommended. Completing a re-adoption in Utah will prevent future legal complications regarding parenthood or citizenship and cement your child’s status as a U.S. citizen.
Completing the finalization or re-adoption process means that the Utah international adoption process is also complete.
The following international adoption agencies in Utah can help you begin the international adoption process and provide you with more information about your Utah intercountry adoption:
Call 1-800-ADOPTION if you’re interested in learning more about domestic adoption.
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