How to Complete an International Adoption in Florida
The International Adoption Process, Step-by-Step
International adoption and domestic infant adoption are available to you in Florida.
International adoptions have declined in recent years.
Private domestic adoption offers financial protection when you choose the right adoption agency.
The relationship and openness in your domestic adoption is a rewarding and life-changing experience everyone involved will share for years to come.
Many families have grown both by international adoption and domestic adoption in Florida. How do you know which one is right for you? Ultimately, it comes down to what you want. Some hopeful adoptive families prefer to adopt a child from another country. While an international adoption is certainly a rewarding and beautiful way to grow your family, there are complicated laws associated with intercountry adoptions.
When it comes to choosing which type of Florida adoption is right for you and your family, knowing the differences between international and domestic adoption in order to compare the two is one way to help you make your decision. You deserve to have the best possible adoption experience with the end result being the finalization of your adoption journey and a child finding a loving and nurturing home.
Many of our adoption professionals have first-hand adoption stories of their own, giving us a unique perspective on how adoption can be rewarding and life-changing for all involved. American Adoptions focuses on domestic infant adoption, but we recognize that international adoption is right for many families and fully support any hopeful parent pursuing their desire to start a family.
We are happy to answer any questions you may have about International adoption, as well as how you can begin your private domestic adoption journey with us. You can visit us online for more information on adopting through our agency.
The following will help you learn more about the Florida international adoption process compared to a private domestic adoption in Florida.
Comparing International and Domestic Adoption in Florida
The International adoption process will be different than a private domestic adoption, mostly due to the difference in relationship with the birth parent, as well as the laws involved. As it relates to adoption law, the country you adopt from determines much of this. The country’s adoption requirements and laws will vary, and whether or not they’re part of The Hague Adoption Convention will affect your adoption process.
Select a Florida Adoption Professional to Work With
Domestic Adoption: When you work with an agency like American Adoptions, our professionals guide you through each step of the Florida domestic adoption process with a wide range of services and support. We are well versed in each state’s adoption laws and how they might impact your adoption journey and our industry-leading risk-sharing program provides important financial protections.
International Adoption: Depending on which Florida international adoption agency you choose to work with, they’ll be authorized to complete adoptions with specific countries, but not others. Your agency should be licensed to complete adoptions in that country and should also be highly experienced in that region. Adoptive parents are also encouraged to work with Florida international adoption agencies that are Hague-accredited, even if they don’t plan on adopting from a Hague Convention country.
The Home Study Process for International and Domestic Adoption
Domestic Adoption: The home study process is an important step during your Florida adoption. We want you to experience a smooth and successful adoption journey, which is why we strive to fully prepare you for the domestic adoption home study. This is the step that determines your readiness to parent and our licensed home study professionals will guide you through this aspect of your adoption with the required preparation, information and support.
International Adoption: Your Florida international adoption professional should be licensed to in accordance with the Hague Convention home study requirements, even if you’re not adopting from a Hague Convention country. If you’re working with a home study professional not associated with your agency, you’ll likely need the agency to approve the home study professional you work with beforehand.
Important Steps in the International Adoption Process
International adoption has many unique steps that require a specific adoption agency and professionals to address the many intercountry laws and regulations for bringing a child to the United States.
Determine Which Country You Want to Adopt From
You may already have an idea of which country you’d like to adopt from. Or, maybe you don’t have a preference where your child is born. Either is perfectly fine.
The current political climate, travel restrictions and shifting adoption laws within a country will affect which countries you’ll be able to adopt a child from at a given time. Researching your options carefully will be most beneficially to you in your Florida international adoption journey, especially since intercountry adoption laws and trends can change from one week to the next. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adoption department will need to confirm your eligibility to adopt after you’ve completed your Florida international adoption home study.
This will involve one of two paperwork processes:
Once you’ve been verified as eligible for international adoption by the USCIS adoption authorities, your FL international adoption professional will send your adoption dossier and completed forms to the country’s adoption authorities. The country’s adoption department will then also review your adoption dossier and confirm your adoption eligibility against their own set of national adoption laws and requirements.
File for Your Child’s Adoption Eligibility
Your child will also need to be confirmed as eligible for adoption by both the sending and receiving country. You’ll essentially need to repeat the process you completed to verify your own adoption eligibility. This time, the goal is to verify your child’s eligibility for adoption and then immigration. Here’s how that’s done:
You’ll be able to file for your child’s U.S. visa if the USCIS confirms their international adoption eligibility. This allows them to travel to the United States.
Travel Visas and Returning Home to Florida
Once you receive approval for your child’s adoption, you will travel to their home country to meet them. You’ll likely need to stay there for one to four weeks during the adoption and visa application process.
There will usually be an exit interview with members of your child’s country’s adoption department prior to finalization of the adoption. They’ll check to ensure that you’ve met all the international adoption requirements, and then grant the visa needed for you and your child to return to Florida.
Legally Complete Your Adoption with a Re-Adoption or Finalization
Next is either an adoption finalization or a recommended re-adoption. Completing your international adoption in Florida with a finalization or a re-adoption ensures that your child’s rights as a United States’ citizen will be permanent and protected. Adoptive parents who fail to finalize or re-adopt their child after returning to Florida have encountered frustrating legal difficulties with citizenship or parenthood later.
Once you’ve finalized the adoption or completed a re-adoption within the U.S, you’ll be able to apply for your child’s amended birth certificate and U.S. Social Security card.
International Adoption Agencies in Florida
Thoroughly researching your potential Florida international adoption professionals will be all-important to your family-building journey.
There are several international adoption agencies in Florida, including:
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We take great pride in guiding our clients through the incredible journey and experience of adoption. The life-long bonds created between you and the birth mother in a shared effort to provide a child with the perfect home is incredibly rewarding.
The relationship between the two of you can’t be overstated. Take it from Jenna and AJ, an adoptive couple who reflect back on bonding with the birth mother.
“We spent like 12 hours with her,” Jenna said. “The ultrasound was cool, but the best part was building a relationship with her and her daughter, so when we went back for the actual birth, it was that much easier. We feel very fortunate that we just like hanging out with her; we just like talking to her,” AJ added. “It just felt natural for the three of us — for everybody.”
If you’re still weighing the option of adopting either internationally or domestically, feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. Even though we don’t service international adoption, we may be able to provide you with information to help point you in the right direction.
“I am available to answer any questions that arise, particularly from birth moms, as I have been in your shoes and know how you are feeling,” Michelle said. “It was most helpful to me when I had someone to talk to who would just listen to me without making any judgments or conclusions about who I was as a person.”
You can ask Michelle questions about the private domestic adoption process online. You can also get free information with our online contact form for prospective birth mothers considering adoption here. Adoptive families wanting more information on adopting a child can click here to get more information.
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