As a private domestic adoption agency, American Adoptions works only to complete adoptions that occur within the borders of the United States. However, we aren’t just passionate about helping pregnant women and hopeful families. Educating families about adoption — no matter which kind — is important to us, and we know Washington has plenty of families hoping to pursue international adoption.
With this in mind, then, we’ve written this article to help people learn about the Washington international adoption process. Please know, though, that the procedure for adopting a child from another country will change depending on which country you end up adopting from.
Washington international adoption agencies specialize in international adoptions from different countries, so you’ll need to narrow down which countries to adopt from interest you before you can take any additional steps. When honing your list, remember to consider that adoption requirements vary by country, as do adoption costs.
Once you’ve decided which country you’d like to adopt from, it’ll be time to choose an adoption professional. It’s best to choose an adoption agency that is Hague-accredited, or compliant with the Hague Adoption Convention, which was enacted in 1993 to protect children who are adopted across international borders.
To ensure that you are able to adopt abroad and return with your child to the United States, you’ll first need to apply with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. If you choose to adopt from a Hague country, you’ll Form I-800A. If the country is not a member of the Hague convention, you’ll file Form I-600A.
Once both the United States and the foreign government have deemed you eligible to adopt, you’ll officially enter the waiting period. The length of this time will depend mostly on the country you choose to adopt from, as some countries will have you travel prior to matching with a child and others prefer that you travel after.
Before you bring your child back to the U.S., you’ll need to apply for their immigration eligibility. If you adopt from a Hague country, you’ll file Form I-800. If not, you’ll file Form I-600. Once you receive approval, you’ll file form DS-260 to apply for your child’s visa. There are two factors that determine which kind of visa your child gets: whether or not both parents were present for the adoption, and whether or not the country is a member of the Hague convention. If the parents were present, you’ll receive an IH-3 (Hague) or IR-3 (non-Hague) visa. If both parents were not present, you’ll receive an IH-4 (Hague) or IR-4 (non-Hague) visa.
Whether or not your child’s intercountry adoption was finalized in their native country, you’ll need to re-adopt them in the United States. No matter which type of visa you received, you should always finalize your child’s adoption in the U.S. to ensure they have all the legal rights of a U.S. citizen.
If you are interested in adopting overseas, contact one of the following international adoption agencies in Washington:
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