Getting Started

International Adoption Services is a licensed, non-profit child-placing agency from the State of Minnesota. Our goal is to find loving homes for children and to assist adoptive parents with the multifaceted process of international adoption. I.A.S. tailors our services to meet the needs of our families. Some of the steps that are involved in adopting an international child include:

  • A home study or biographical history of the adoptive family
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) processing
  • Collection of documents required by the foreign country
  • Notarization, verification, certification and translations of documents
  • Post Placement Services
  • Finalization and citizenship in the United States

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International Adoption Services cheerfully consults by telephone with prospective adoptive parents interested in learning more about our agency and the adoption process. Please call our office at (952)-893-1343.

To begin an adoption with our agency, please fill out the application and return it to us by postal mail along with your check for the application fee. Once we receive your application, we will send, by postal mail, the required background search forms and the contact information for the social worker who will assist you.  By email, we will send you all of the documents required to be in your file.

The Home Study

The home study is a biographical history of the adoptive couple. The Department of Human Services, State of Minnesota has specific requirements to be implemented by the adoption agency:
a) In-home visit by the agency social worker
b) home study topics discussed with the family
c) the documents required of the family
d) the format of the home study report

The training requirement includes:
a) On line training which is completed from your home computer.
b) Discussions with the family’s social worker regarding the various issues associated with adoption and the adoptive child.

This entire process takes 4 to 8 weeks to complete, depending on your availability and timeliness in submitting your paperwork to the agency.

Citizenship and Immigrations Services (CIS) Process

To complete an international adoption, prospective adoptive parents must comply with:
a) rules and regulations set forth by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
b) rules and regulations of the state of residence of the prospective adoptive parents
c) the country of birth of the child to be adopted

The CIS requires that all prospective adoptive parents complete an application called the I-600-A or the I-800-A application.  When your home study is completed, IAS will send the application along with your home study, copies of your birth, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, and any other documents which may be required.  Information about U.S. Immigration is sent by email once IAS has received the application.

Collection of Documents

Once your application is received, emails will be sent to you which include forms and directions on completing documents for the home study.

The international country will also have a list of documents (called a dossier) gathered by the prospective adoptive parents. Many of the documents are the same as the documents you are collecting for your home study. Copies of these documents can be sent to the IAS office by email or postal mail.

Notarization, Verification, and Authentications

Most countries require that documents, such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate are a certified copy. Other documents which are signed by the prospective adoptive parent are notarized (signed by a notary public). Once all your documents have been collected then they are taken or sent to the Secretary of State office to be verified. This verification is either an Apostile or a State Certification, depending upon the agreement the U.S. has with the specific country.  Sometimes, the country also requires that the documents are authenticated by their embassy or Consulate located in the U.S.  The next step is the translation of documents. Some countries accept documents in English, some require that the translation is completed in their country and some accept the translation to be completed in the U.S.

Costs Involved

The costs involved with international adoption generally fall into the following categories:
a) Application Fee - Usually this is a non-refundable fee and covers the administrative costs to review your application and open a file.
b) Home Study and Post Placement costs vary depending on the agency you use.
c) Post placement and report Fees - vary by agency and number required by the child’s country of origin. For clients living outside the MN Twin Cities Metropolitan area, an additional travel fee is usually assessed.
d) Finalization Fees - vary by agency and includes supplying and assistance with completing documetns needed for court finalization. Not all agencies offer this service.
e) Document Processing costs are for getting your dossier documents certified and authenticated at the state and embassy levels for use in the foreign country. These costs vary greatly depending on the country from where you adopt and the state from where the document was issued.
f) Other expenses you may incur include U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services fees, passport and visa fees, and county filing fees

Waiting For A Referral and Travel

The child referral process is slightly different in each country. The length of time after your dossier has been submitted until you receive a referral of a child varies. The referral consists of a picture of the child and medical information. Background information on the child is usually limited due to the fact that most children are abandoned and medical resources in other countries may be limited or not accurate. Families must understand and accept this risk as a part of international adoption.

The time between the acceptance of a referral and the date of travel to fetch the child varies by country. This time may seem forever. During this time, you should take the opportunity to learn more about your child’s country of origin and perhaps take a language lesson.

All time ranges given to you are approximations according to what has happened in the recent past. Changes may occur beyond our control, which may change the time frame originally given to you. Prospective parents must be flexible and patient with the process as we are dealing with foreign policies and officials.

Post Placement/Finalization

Once you are home with your child, there are post placement reports and legal papers to file according to the laws and regulations of the other country and your state of residence.

A post placement report is when the social worker visits the home to discuss how you and your child are adjusting as a new family and writing a report of the visit. Most countries require at least one visit and report after you return home with your child. This report is then sent to your child’s country of origin. It is vital that we stay in compliance with the post placements requirements of the foreign country.

IAS will also assist you with the Minnesota county court finalization paperwork needed to “re-adopt” or re-finalize your adoption in the United States. A child who is legally adopted in the United States automatically becomes a U.S. citizen.

After all this, you now get to relax, spend quality time with your new son or daughter (or both!) and enjoy being together as a family.

We also encourage families to stay in touch with one another and the agency to let us know how life is going. The agency periodically sends out a newsletter for all our clients to learn from and enjoy.