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Should You Consider an International Adoption in Missouri?

Your Guide to this Process

If you’re a waiting adoptive family considering international adoption in Missouri because you want to create the family of your dreams, you’re making a beautiful choice.

Obviously, domestic adoptions are close to our hearts at American Adoptions — that’s our specialty, and it’s the only type of adoption we can complete. However, Missouri families have other options to grow, and one is by pursuing international adoptions in Missouri. While we work only with prospective birth mothers inside the United States and cannot assist with international adoption in Missouri, we still believe in providing good information if you’re considering adopting a child from another country.

Just like hopeful parents in the domestic infant adoption process, you likely have a lot of questions if you’re considering international adoption in Missouri. We’ve created this guide to help. The more you know, the better your position will be to make this life-changing decision.

Without further ado, here’s your complete guide to international adoptions in Missouri.

How does international adoption in Missouri work?

This process is complex, and every situation is unique. Each step can change depending on which agency you work with, which country you adopt from, your local laws and the child you are matched with.

With that being said, here is a generalized overview of the international adoption process to help you understand how things could play out.

  • Step 1: Choose a country to adopt from. This may depend on several conditions: what you believe you are prepared to handle as a parent, the specific country’s requirements for adopting, the cost and the culture of the country and more.

  • Step 2: Choose an agency. Next, choose an adoption professional to help you complete your adoption. Different professionals work in different countries, so you’ll need to know where you want to adopt from before beginning your search for a reputable agency.

  • Step 3: Meet home study requirements. At this point, you will complete your home study, which will be similar to the one you would complete for a domestic adoption. The country you choose to adopt from may ask for additional information, however, so communicate with your adoption professional about what exactly to expect.

  • Step 4: Apply for adoption eligibility. This process will depend on whether or not the country you choose to adopt from is part of the Hague Convention, which was put in place to ensure safety practices in international adoptions. If you are adopting from a Hague Convention country, you’ll fill out form I-800A for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If the country you adopt from isn’t a Hague Convention Country, you’ll file Form I-600A with USCIS.

  • Step 5: Receive a referral. When you’re deemed eligible for international adoption by the United States, it will then be time to wait for a match. Depending on where you’re adopting from, you may receive a referral before you travel, or you may be matched with a child after you arrive in the country. If you receive a referral, it will include information about the child, a picture and an explanation of why the child has been matched with you. When you accept the referral, you will then travel to the country to meet your child.

  • Step 6: Apply for your child’s adoption eligibility. Once you’ve been matched with a child, you’ll have another application to fill out with USCIS. Depending on which form you originally filled out for your own eligibility to adopt, you’ll either file Form I-800 or Form I-600 for your child’s eligibility to immigrate to Missouri. If everything goes well with the first form, you’ll then fill out the DS-260 form to apply for your child’s visa.

  • Step 7: Travel to your child’s home country. Now it’s time to travel to meet your child! Expect to stay from one to four weeks as you complete the legalities as well as your visa application. You will be interviewed by the country’s adoption authorities before receiving one of four possible immigrant visas for your child. Exactly which one your child receives will depend on how the adoption was completed and whether or not you adopted from a Hague Convention Country.

  • Step 8: Return to Missouri with your child. Once you’ve received your child’s adoption visa and approval from the country’s adoption authorities, you will be ready to return home with your newest family member! However, the adoption process isn’t quite complete once you touch down on U.S. soil. Depending on the visa you received for your child, you may need to finalize the adoption in Missouri or complete what’s known as an international re-adoption.

International Adoption Checklist

Before returning home from the country in which you adopted your child, you’ll need to make sure you have certain documents lined up for him or her:

  • Any documentation required specifically by the country you adopted from

  • A visa

  • A passport

  • A Social Security card

  • A birth certificate

This is one of the complicated factors to international adoption in Missouri. Not only are you navigating an adoption process, but also an immigration process. Plenty of families are able to handle this each year, but it is a challenge you should be fully prepared for as you begin this journey.

When to Get an International Re-Adoption in Missouri

When pursuing intercountry adoption, sometimes parents forget that the process isn’t necessarily finalized as soon as you bring your child home to Missouri with you. What happens after you return to Missouri will depend on the type of immigration visa your child was given. This could be one of two varieties:

  1. The IH-3 or IR-3, which signifies that the adoption was completed in the foreign country and that both parents (if applicable) were there. If you adopted from a Hague country, you’ll receive the IH-3. If not, you’ll get the IR-3.
  2. The IH-4 or IR-4, which signifies that the adoption was not completed in the country your child is from or that only one parent was present to meet the child.

If you received an IH-4 or IR-4 for your child, your foreign adoption was not completed. You must still finalize it in Missouri. If you received an IH-3 or IR-3, this means the adoption process was officially completed, but it’s still recommended that you re-adopt your child to make sure his or her international adoption is legally recognized in Missouri. This way, you can be sure that your child will be a legally recognized United States citizen and avoid any potential legal difficulties in the future.

International Adoption Agencies in Missouri

As stated above, the international adoption agency you work with will depend on which country you want to adopt from. Once you’ve settled on a location, though, here are a few agencies that can help you adopt internationally from Missouri:

If you still have questions about the international adoption process, click here to get more information.


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.

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