International Adoption in Alabama
The AL International Adoption Process
If you're considering adoption in Alabama but want to adopt a child from another country, international adoption might be for you. International adoption, also known as “intercountry adoption,” is the procedure of adopting a child from a country outside the United States. The international adoption process has a lot of moving parts, so it's important to be informed before moving forward. Contact an adoption specialist today to learn more about intercountry adoption.
Here is what you need to know about international adoption in Alabama, along with the resources needed to successfully finalize your intercountry adoption.
The AL International Adoption Process
Your own international adoption process will vary depending on the country you are adopting from. Countries that are part of The Hague Adoption Convention will have different policies than countries that aren’t. Additionally, the laws of the country you adopt from will affect your international adoption process. Regardless of the country you choose, these major steps will generally remain the same in your AL international adoption process:
Step 1: Decide Which Country to Adopt From
Not every family has a strong preference about the country in which their child is born. Be sure to do research before choosing which country to adopt from, as changes in adoption laws, the current political climate, or travel restrictions will influence which country you’ll likely be able to adopt from at any given time.
Other influencing factors that may affect which country you’ll adopt through can include:
- Your budget: The international adoption cost will vary depending on the country and adoption professional you adopt from.
- The qualifications to adopt: Countries have individual eligibility requirements that must be met before potential adoptive parents are able to adopt from that country.
- The types of adoption opportunities you’re interested in: The ages and genders of children available for adoption may vary from one country to the next.
- The country’s culture: Adoptive parents need to be prepared to embrace the culture and race that comes with adopting a child from another country.
Step 2: Choose Your Alabama International Adoption Professional
Different international adoption agencies in Alabama are authorized to complete adoptions within different countries. If you have your heart set on adopting from a specific country, be sure to find an agency that is licensed to complete adoptions within that country.
It is also highly recommended that you choose an international adoption agency that is Hague-accredited through the Universal Accreditation Act of 2012.
When doing your research, be sure to check reviews and ratings of international adoption agencies in Alabama. You want to ensure you are working with professionals that have a reputation for taking care of their clients and putting the needs of the children first. The agency should be willing to work with you throughout the entire adoption process and handle communication with the country through which you intend to adopt.
Step 3: Complete an International Home Study
Even if you are not adopting from a Hague Convention country, your Alabama home study professional must be licensed according to The Hague Convention home study requirements.
The home study process for international adoption can take up to three months, so it is recommended you start the process as soon as possible.
- State and federal criminal background checks for all adult members of the household
- Recent health statements
- Recent financial records
- Pre-placement in-home visits including an interview and home inspection
- Post-placement in-home visits to monitor adjustment
Step 4: Apply to be Eligible for International Adoption
Before you can officially adopt, The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Adoption Department needs to verify you are eligible to adopt.
If you are adopting through a Hague Convention country:
- File Form 1-800A, as well as your documentation, information and completed international adoption home study. Once confirmed, you will be eligible to adopt from a Hague Convention country for up to 15 months.
If you are adopting through a non-Hague Convention country:
- You will need to file Form 1-600A if you have not yet matched with a child to adopt. If your Alabama international adoption agency has matched you with a child, you can file Form 1-600 along with all the necessary documents and your completed international adoption home study. You will be able to adopt from a non-Hague Convention country for up to 18 months before you need to renew your eligibility status.
Once you have been approved by USCIS, your Alabama international adoption agency will be able to send your completed forms and adoption dossier to the country where you’d like to adopt. The country will review your information to confirm you are eligible to adopt according to their adoption laws.
Step 5: File for the Child to be Eligible for Adoption
After you have been matched with a child for adoption, you will file either Form I-800 (for a Hague Convention country) or I-600 (non-Hague Convention country), this time to ensure your child is eligible for adoption and immigration.
When the USCIS confirms your child is eligible for adoption, you will apply for a U.S. visa for your child. You’ll file form DS-260 to the child’s home country to review and approve.
Step 6: Obtain Travel Visas and Return Home to Alabama
When you travel to your child’s home country for the adoption, plan to stay one to four weeks. During this time, you will get to know your child, complete your visa application and begin the legal work of the Alabama international adoption process. You will also have a final interview with the country’s adoption authorities, who will verify you have met their requirements for adoption.
Once you have had the final interview, you will receive a visa so you can return home to Alabama with your child:
- If both adoptive parents (if applicable) are present and the adoption is finalized in-country, you’ll be granted an IH-3 (Hague countries) or IR-3 (non-Hague countries) visa.
- If only one of the two adoptive parents are present, and/or the international adoption needs to be finalized in Alabama, you will be granted an IH-4 (Hague) or IR-4 (non-Hague) visa.
You will need to apply for your child’s amended birth certificate and Social Security card when you return to Alabama. Even then, the Alabama international adoption is not quite complete.
Step 7. Finalization of Adoption or Re-adoption
To complete the international adoption process in Alabama, you will need to complete a finalization or a re-adoption.
- If you have a IH-4 or IR-4 visa for your child, you will finalize the adoption in Alabama
- If your child received a IH-3 or IR-3 visa, the adoption is legally complete and the parents can receive a certificate of foreign birth. Re-adoption in the United States is highly recommended by adoption officials.
This final step ensures that your child’s adoption is legal in both countries, and they will receive full rights as a U.S. citizen. Failure to finalize the adoption or re-adopt an internationally adopted child could lead to questions about their citizenship and your parenthood later on.
After registration of the birth certificate, the adoption report will be sealed and filed. It will not be subject to inspection except by court order. Any person age 19 or older, who had a certificate of foreign birth prepared in Alabama, may request a copy of their adoption information.
After re-adoption or finalization in Alabama, the international adoption process is complete.
International Adoption Agencies in Alabama
If you are interested in adopting a child from a different country, here are some local professionals to consider:
- Lifeline Children’s Services
- Children of the World
- Children’s of Alabama
- International Child Foundation, Inc.
- Nightlight Christian Adoptions
- All God’s Children
Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.