A to Z of the Adoption Process
Walking on the adoption avenue will eventually bring you home with a child to love in a caring family. It's an exciting and rewarding journey.
The adoption journey will start with getting information, doing some reading and research, and eventually you will need to choose an agency for your adoption and home study. They need not be the same, one agency can do your home study and another one may help you in completing your adoption. Pick an agency that has a good reputation, good references from previous clients and one you feel comfortable with. Call Adoption Avenues if you need help in locating an agency for your home study in the state you live.
The next step is to file your I-600A form or "Application for advanced processing of orphan petition" if you plan on adopting internationally. You can order this form on line from the BCIS TUSCIS website. Fill out the form and send it to your local INS office with a cashier's check or money order in the amount of $525 plus the $70 fee for fingerprinting for each person 18 or over living with you. Along with the form and the checks you'll need to send your birth certificate and marriage or divorce certificate. You should prepare 3-4 originals of each of your birth certificates and marriage or divorce certificate, because you will need them for your home study and adoption dossier. Also send proof of United States citizenship. After you have filed the I-600A form, USCIS will contact you to let you know when and where you are scheduled for fingerprinting. If you have a completed home study you should submit it with your I-600A form. If not, you may send your home study to USCIS after it has been completed. Feel free to contact Adoption Avenues to help you with the I-600A form if you have any questions.
If you do not have a home study by the time you file your I-600A form, after you file, you should start working on your home study. Your home study needs to be completed by a licensed social worker, working with a licensed adoption agency. It can be the one you choose to do your adoption with or another licensed agency in your state. You can also contact Adoption Avenues and we will find an agency in your state for you, the agency we contract with, and get you better and lower fees. For this process the social worker will gather documents from you, will come into your home and also will provide you with information concerning international adoption. Among the documents you will have to provide to the social worker are: your birth certificates, marriage or divorce certificate, financial statement and medical reports. The social worker will also ask for a criminal record check and child abuse registry clearance, autobiographical statements and references.
After you have completed your home study and have submitted your I-600A form, you will need to start working on your adoption dossier. The dossier contains standard documents that you already have collected for your home study. Some documents are specific to the country you choose to adopt from. Adoption Avenues will prepare those documents for you and send them to you. After you receive your INS approval and have a completed your home study and adoption dossier Adoption Avenues will send your paperwork to the country of adoption. Once the dossier is registered and approved by several ministries and local authorities you will be advised about travel schedules, visas and hotel arrangements.
Some countries might require two trips and some only one trip of 3-4 weeks, depending on the country regulations. Adoption Avenues will help you prepare your trip and our facilitators overseas will assist you in every step of your in-country process. If you want more information on travel please go to our travel page.
While in country your adoption case will be heard in a Regional Court, which is the equivalent of a state supreme court in U.S. After you get the court decree, the adoption is finalized and irrevocable and you will receive the child's new birth certificate and passport. With the passport you will go to the American Embassy in the adoptive country and receive the child's visa.
Once home in USA you will have to register your child with the foreign countrys' Embassy here in US (if required, it depends on the country), and submit a series of post placement reports to our agency. Adoption Avenues will send you a schedule of when the post placement reports are due. This process might seem very complicated and overwhelming but if you know in your heart that you want to offer a good life to an orphan child, nothing is too hard to overcome. I would compare it to a 9 month pregnancy and then the delivery process. The period that starts from the filing of your I-600A form to the moment you travel to bring your child home. During your pregnancy you can not see the child but you prepare yourself for their arrival in this world and you go through several emotional stages, as with with the adoption process, you prepare yourself for the arrival of your child, going through several emotional stages but in the end the reward is quite unique.