The International Adoption Process: Where To Start
Updated: Mar 26
Are You Wondering How International Adoption Works?
As an Adoption Lawyer, I’ve helped many families through the adoption process, including international adoptions. As you probably already know, international adoption is when a child from outside the country is placed with a family from the United States. Unfortunately, there are children from other countries that cannot be cared for, but luckily most of those countries allow those children to be adopted into the United States.
The process of adopting a child from another country depends on federal and state laws of the United States and the laws of the country where the child is born, which can make the process vary greatly. However, there is an adoption procedure to follow, and we’ll go over it step-by-step in this article to ensure you know exactly what to expect.
1. Choose the country you want to adopt from
You’ll want to start by selecting the country that you want to adopt from first because the eligibility requirements differ from country to country. You need to know if you’re qualified to adopt a child from that country, and how long or difficult the process might be before you move on to the next step.
2. Pick an agency
Next, you’ll want to select an international agency that you not only want to work with, but that works with the country you’re going to adopt your child from. There are a ton of international adoption agencies all over the United States, but not all of them work with every country. This is why choosing the country you want to adopt from is the first step.
There are different eligibility requirements depending on the country you are adopting your child from. Here are just a few examples of what you might expect:
● China - If you’re adopting from China, you will need to have been married for at least 2 years, and you must be between 30 - 50 years old. The process, from applying to getting your child into your home, can take 12 months to 2 years.
● Haiti - If you’re adopting from Haiti, you will need to have been married for at least 5 years, and you must be 30 years of age or older. If you’re single, you need to be 35 or older. The process can take 3 - 3 ½ years.
● Colombia - Whether you’re married or single, you need to be 25 or older to adopt a child from Colombia. If you’re married, you must have been married for 3 or more years. The process can take 2 - 3 years.
In many instances, you will need to finalize the adoption once you are back in the U.S. and this is called an international re-adoption. For example, if you go to China to bring your child home, you will finalize the adoption through the court system in China. However, when you come to the U.S., the government will require you to re-adopt the child here so that your child can obtain an American birth certificate.
5. Hire an adoption attorney
The last step to bringing home your child is hiring an adoption attorney to help finalize the process. That begins with getting your attorney in contact with the caseworker for the international adoption agency and then going to court to finish the adoption. You’ll need an experienced adoption attorney who knows the ins and outs of international adoption to bring your adoption to the finish line.
Are you interested in adopting an international child or need help finalizing the adoption with an experienced and professional adoption attorney? Schedule a call today!