Frequently Asked Questions
Who can be an adoptive parent?
Nearly anyone who has the desire, means and ability to raise a child can become an adoptive parent. No one is automatically excluded because of age, race, sex, marital status or religion. Prospective parents are screened by a qualified social worker through the home study process to ensure the well-being of children to be adopted.
What are the costs?
Fees for adoption can vary depending on whether adoptive parents need an initial or updated home study, post placement supervision, assistance with legalization in the U.S. or child referral and placement. Other basic costs required for international adoptions include transportation, lodging, certification of documents, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) fees, translations, attorney fees and, in some countries, foster care. Complete adoptions can range in cost from $15,000 to $25,000 (excluding travel and lodging fees).
How long does it take?
There are several stages to completing an international adoption and each:
- Home Study: 4 to 8 weeks
- Referral Time: 2 to 10 months (varies by country)
- Process Time: 2 to 10 months (varies by country)
- Time in country: 3 days to 4 weeks (varies by country)
- Post Placement/Finalization/Naturalization: Up to 1 year or more (takes place after child is in the home)
Total minimum until child is in home 6 to 8 months. (12 to 18 months is more typical).
What kinds of children are available for adoption?
The availability of children varies greatly. Prospective parents looking for specific ages or ethic backgrounds may have a much longer wait for a child than do parents who are more flexible in their wishes. New countries may open for adoptions while others may impose new, more restrictive guidelines for international adoptions so its best to check with a qualified source such as IAS for the most recent information.
What steps are involved in an international adoption?
- Choosing the Primary Adoption Agency (agency who is approved in the child’s country to assist U.S. adoptive families)
- Choosing the Home Study Agency
- Completing the home study
- Filing application and documents Citizenship and Immigration Sevices
- Collection of Documents for child’s country (dossier)
- Notarization, Verification and Certification of documents
- Waiting for the Referral
- Post Placement/Finalization/Naturalization
Q. How will my adopted child who was born in another country become a citizen?
If your child’s passport is stamped with an IR-3 visa, then your child became a citizen upon entering the United States. A Certificate of Citizenship is automatically mailed to you. The Citizenship and Immigration Services makes the final determination country by country. The usual rule is that if both parents have seen the child before legal adoption and if the country’s process is a full adoption, then the child’s passport will be stamped with an IR-3 visa.
If your child’s passport is stamped with an IR-4 visa, then your child will become an U.S. citizen when the adoption is finalized in your state of residence. If you desire to have a certificate of citizenship, Form N-600 and a fee must be submitted to U.S. CIS. If you do not wish to file the N-600 for the certificate of citizenship, It is advisable that you obtain a passport for your child once the adoption is finalized in your state of residence.
Q. How Does the Child Get a Passport Under the Child Citizenship Act?
You will need the following when the child applies for a passport:
- Proof of the child’s relationship to the American citizen parent. For the biological child of the American citizen this will be a certified copy of the foreign birth certificate (and translation if not in English). For an adopted child, it is a certified copy of the final adoption decree (and translation if not in English);
- The child’s foreign passport showing the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security (USCIS) I-551 stamp in the passport, or the child’s permanent resident card (green card);
- Proof of identity of the American citizen parent(s)
- Passport application, passport photographs and fees. Go to Passport Services for forms and full instructions.