International Adoption: Process and Steps

This information is from an excerpt in the book "How to Adopt Internationally" by Jean Nelson-Erichsen and Heino Erichsen. 

We thank them for allowing us to reprint this.

Should you decide to adopt internationally, it is in your best interest and that of your future child to learn the adoption procedures both in the United States and abroad. You will be handling much of the paperwork in cooperation with your U.S. social worker and your international agency or attorney. Your function is that of expediter. Endless delays can be avoided if you take responsibility for the paperwork shuffle; always know who has your papers, why they have them and what happens next. The more you know about the process, the more likely it is that your experience will go smoothly.

One of the best ways to become familiar with the adoption process itself and to understand the issues facing both the parents and children of international adoption is to attend orientations or educational seminars. These are typically sponsored by private, licensed adoption agencies to provide potential adopters with information on how a home study is conducted and to give an overview of the U.S. immigration and foreign adoption process.

Adoptive parent support groups may also sponsor seminars and usually invite all of the adoption agencies to participate. At seminars for international adoption, postadoptvie parents usually bring their children and speak about their experiences. Prospective adoptive parents find out about seminars by word of mouth, by keeping in contact with local agencies, and through public service announcements on television, radio and newspapers.

Attend as many seminars as possible before selecting and agency. Information more specific to you and your personal situation may require and individual consultation. International adoption professionals with degrees in social work or human development can give you the attention you need to make an informed decision.

In addition, begin learning all you can about international adoption from other sources, such as books, newsletters, magazines, videos, the Internet, and adoptive parent groups. The typical adoption candidate has access to the Internet and orders books on adoption, parenting and the country he or she is planning to adopt from on-line. The National Adoption Information Clearinghouse (NAIC) also offers a series of publications on carious aspects of the international adoption process. Many of these are free.

Write or call the NAIC at:

330 C Street, S.W.

Washington, DC 20447


Table of Contents
1. How to Adopt Smoothly
2. What are the steps?
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