Should You Pursue International Adoption in Wisconsin?
When it comes to growing your family, there is a world of opportunity available to you — especially if you’re thinking about completing an international adoption in Wisconsin.
As a domestic infant adoption agency, American Adoptions only completes adoptions that take place within the United States. However, a Wisconsin intercountry adoption can be another rewarding way for hopeful parents to build their families. This article provides a basic guide to adopting internationally in Wisconsin so you can decide whether it’s the right option for you.
Deciding to Complete a Foreign Adoption in WI
Before pursuing any type of adoption, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and challenges of the process. Prior to choosing overseas adoption in Wisconsin, there are a few issues to consider.
While international adoption was once a very popular option for hopeful parents in Wisconsin and throughout the U.S., international adoption policies have shifted dramatically in recent years, leading to a sharp decline in intercountry adoptions. Ethiopia, Russia and other countries that were once popular adoption destinations have implemented suspensions on foreign adoptions, contributing to the staggering 76 percent drop in intercountry adoptions since 2004.
As a result, there may be fewer international adoption opportunities available to adoptive parents today and, depending on the country you choose to adopt from, the process may be longer and involve more risk than other forms of adoption.
However, if you are certain that this is the right path for your family, you shouldn’t let international adoption statistics discourage you from completing the process. Just be sure to do careful research about your chosen country’s estimated wait times, the stability of their adoption process and more.
If you are debating between domestic vs. international adoption in Wisconsin and would like more information about your options, you can always reach an adoption specialist at 1-800-ADOPTION or request free information online.
How to Adopt a Child Internationally in Wisconsin
Once you have decided that intercountry adoption is indeed the right option for your family, you are ready to begin the international adoption process in Wisconsin. Exactly how to adopt a child from another country in WI will vary based on the country you adopt from, the professional you work with and other factors, but in general, you can expect to complete the following steps:
1. Decide what country you want to adopt from.
Because the rest of your adoption journey will depend largely on the country from which you adopt, this should be the first step you take in your Wisconsin international adoption process. As you consider different countries to adopt from, take into account the following factors:
The stability of their adoption process, the current political climate, travel restrictions and international adoption policies
The country’s requirements for hopeful adoptive parents
The types of adoption opportunities available (including the age, culture and needs of children waiting to be adopted)
The average cost of international adoption and estimated wait times to adopt from that country
2. Choose an adoption professional.
Different international adoption agencies in Wisconsin have programs in different countries, so knowing which country you want to adopt from will help you narrow down your search for the perfect adoption professional. You’ll want to choose an adoption agency that is Hague-accredited and that can complete international adoptions in the country you’ve chosen.
Your adoption agency will then guide you through the remainder of the adoption process, including matching you with the child you’ll be adopting!
3. Be approved to adopt.
Before adopting a child from another country in Wisconsin, you must take a number of steps to be approved as adoptive parents — not only by U.S. adoption officials, but also by the country you are adopting from.
The international adoption agency you choose can walk you through this approval process. In general, you will need to complete the following:
An International Adoption Home Study: The Wisconsin adoption home study consists of submitting important documents and meeting with a social worker to complete family interviews and home inspections. This process ensures you are fully prepared and meet all of the requirements for international adoption. Your adoption home study provider must be licensed in the state of Wisconsin and must meet Hague Convention requirements, whether or not you adopt from a Hague country.
Apply for USCIS Eligibility: To be eligible for international adoption in Wisconsin, you will need to file paperwork with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If you are adopting from a Hague Country, you must file Form 1-800A along with your completed home study; if you are adopting from a non-Hague country, you must file either Form 1-600A (if you have not been matched with a child you wish to adopt) or Form 1-600 (if you have already been matched with a child). Once approved by USCIS, proof of your eligibility will be forwarded to the adoption authorities in your child’s country.
Apply for Your Child’s USCIS Eligibility: After being matched with a child, you will also need to apply for his or her eligibility to be adopted in the United States. You will either file Form 1-800 (Hague) or Form 1-600 (non-Hague) with USCIS. Once your application has been reviewed and approved, you can apply for your child’s visa using Form DS-260. Your adoption professionals will help you file the appropriate forms.
4. Bring your child home to Wisconsin.
Once you’ve been approved to adopt and have matched with a child, your adoption professional will help you make travel arrangements to go and meet your child. Depending on your individual circumstances, you may be required to stay in your child’s home country for several weeks while you complete the final steps of the adoption process.
This will be your opportunity to get to know your child and meet with the country’s adoption authorities to verify that you’ve met all of the requirements to complete the adoption and take your new child home.
When it is time for you to return to Wisconsin with your son or daughter, your child will receive one of the following visas:
If both adoptive parents are present and the adoption is finalized in the child’s country, you will receive an IH-3 (Hague) or IR-3 (non-Hague) visa for your child.
If only one parent is present and/or the adoption still needs to be finalized in Wisconsin, you will receive an IH-4 (Hague) or IR-4 (non-Hague) visa for your child.
This is an exciting milestone in your adoption journey, but there is still one more step you’ll need to take to complete your international adoption in Wisconsin.
5. Finalize your international adoption in WI.
Based on the type of visa your child received to immigrate to the United States, you may or may not be required to finalize your adoption in Wisconsin. However, even if you finalized your adoption abroad, you should always complete another finalization, or international re-adoption, in Wisconsin.
International re-adoption is strongly encouraged for all families adopting overseas in Wisconsin. This is a generally simple legal process that ensures the adoption and your child’s citizenship is legally recognized throughout the country. Failure to complete an international re-adoption or finalization can cause legal complications for you and your child later on.
A Wisconsin international adoption attorney can provide more information on international re-adoption and guide you through the process.
Wisconsin International Adoption Agencies
While international adoption can be a complex process, there are many local professionals who can help guide you through each step. The following adoption agencies commonly complete international adoptions in Wisconsin, so contact them today to get started:
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