Please note, this is in no way a comprehensive list, and you may encounter other difficulties in your journey to adopt. It is usually recommended by parents that have already been through an inter-country adoption, to seek the services of an adoption agency that specializes in inter-country adoptions.

Step 1

Begin a home study.

A home study is a series of meetings conducted by a social worker in your state that allows you to learn about issues related to international adoption, to determine your suitability to parent an adopted child, and to help prepare you for the experience.

Step 2

Submit a USCIS I-600A application to your local office.

It may take up to several months for the processing of your application, so you should begin this step even if you have yet to come to a decision on the country from which you will adopt.

Step 3

Collect any documents that are required by the country from which you are adopting, which may include: your birth certificates, marriage certificate, employment letters, references, and medical clearances.

Most of the documents you collect will also be required for the completion of your home study and must be notarized, authenticated, translated, and approved by the embassy of the country from which you plan to adopt.

Step 4

Prepare to travel to your child’s country.

This includes securing airline tickets, scheduling an appointed date and time, making sure you passport is in-date, and obtaining a visa and required vaccinations where necessary.

Step 5

Travel to your child’s country to meet him/her and finalize the adoption.

Most commonly, your trip will range from a few days to several weeks, depending on the country. In some programs, two trips may be required. Only one parent is required to travel or, in some cases, the child can be escorted.

Bilingual coordinators can guide you through the process and facilitate communication overseas.

Step 6

Obtain an immigrant visa for your child from the US Embassy, and return home with your child.

Step 7

Participate in post-placement supervision with your home study agency, which may include follow up visits over a time period that will be specified by your child’s birth country (usually 1 to 3 years).

This is to ensure that the adoption is going well, and to offer support and assistance if outside services are ever needed. Reports of these visits, along with photos of your child, will be forwarded to adoption officials in your child’s birth country to confirm that the child is loved and is adjusting well.

Step 8

Readopt your child in your state court to obtain a US birth certificate and adoption decree.

This step is only required if only one parent traveled abroad or the child was escorted to the US.