How to Adopt Internationally in Arizona
Because there are many different types of adoption, an adoptive family may consider adopting a child from another country to start or add to their family.
To make your international adoptive dreams come true, you will need to research your options for international adoption agencies in Arizona. This guide will explore international adoption Arizona resources, as well as the international adoption process in Arizona.
While American Adoptions specializes in domestic infant adoption and cannot assist you in completing an international adoption, our licensed professionals can help educate you on all of your adoption options, and help you determine what may best match your adoptive goals.
Fill out this form to get more information on the services we can offer and to get in touch with an adoption professional. Until then, continue reading this guide on the international adoption agencies Arizona has, that can help you with your adoption.
What is International Adoption in Arizona?
International adoption is the process of adopting a child from another country. Although international adoption is not nearly as prominent as it once was, it is still a great alternative to domestic or foster care adoption.
The process for international adoption tends to be more complex, given the logistics of two countries’ sets of laws and regulations, as well as travel and wait time. Much of your international adoption process will depend on the country you are adopting from.
Although it is not a requirement, it is recommended that you consider adopting from a country that is part of The Hague Adoption Convention to avoid further delays and complications.
Steps in the International Adoption Process
Step 1: Choosing the country you want to adopt from
If you do not have a country in mind, you will want to make sure you do plenty of research, as changes in adoption laws, travel restrictions, political tension and more can all cause changes in the country you are hoping to adopt from.
Keep in mind each country will have its own set of requirements and regulations. You will also want to consider the cultural impact adopting a child from a certain country may have, and many other factors.
Step 2: Choosing the international adoption agency you want to work with
Finding the best international adoption agencies Arizona has to offer can take time, but it is one of the most important steps in the process. Because the agency you choose will impact the overall experience of your adoption, you want to make sure you find an agency you are comfortable with — one that puts your needs first.
Not all agencies can complete an adoption in every country, so you will want to make that one of your first questions when researching your options. For your safety and to make sure your adoption is being completed legally and ethically, you will want to work with an agency that is Hague-accredited through the Universal Accreditation Act of 2012.
Step 3: Completing your international home study
Like all types of adoption, you are required to complete an adoption home study. This is one of the longer portions of the international adoption process, so you are encouraged to begin sooner rather than later. The home study is an evaluation of your readiness to become a parent.
Some of the basic requirements for your international home study include:
- State and federal criminal background checks for all adult members of the household
- Recent health records
- Recent financial records
- Pre-placement in-home visits including an interview and home inspection
- Any other requirement your social work feels is necessary to put you in the best position for your adoption
Step 4: Applying for international adoption eligibility
Once you have completed your home study, you may then apply for international adoption. Before you can officially adopt, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Adoption Department needs to verify that you are eligible. Your adoption specialist will walk you through the required paperwork and make sure your documents are being completed and submitted properly.
Once you have been approved, you will be able to adopt from a Hague Convention country for up to 18 months before you need to renew your eligibility status. Once you have been approved by USCIS, your international adoption agency will be able to send your form and adoption dossier to the country where you’d like to adopt.
Your international adoption dossier is essentially a collection of all identification documents, paperwork, and applications that you need to officially become eligible for adoption. The country will review your information to confirm you are eligible to adopt according to their adoption laws.
Step 5: Accepting an adoption referral, and applying for the child’s adoption eligibility
Your international adoption agency, working in conjunction with the social services of the country you are adopting from, will send you a referral for a child who is waiting to know the love of a family through adoption. Your agency will work to find the best situation for you, and it is up to you to accept the referral when it is sent.
Then, the country you adopt from will determine which forms and paperwork you will need to send in for your application. Your adoption agency and attorney will help make sense of all the requirements as well as help you process the visa application for your child and yourself.
Step 6: Planning your travel arrangements
International adoption requires you to stay in the adoptive country for multiple weeks, or longer. When you travel to your child’s home country for adoption, there will be several requirements you need to complete before being able to return home. You will need to:
- Complete your visa application
- Begin the legal work of the Arizona international adoption process
- Be involved in an exit interview with adoption authorities from the country your child was born
- Obtain your visa so you can return home with your child
Before your departure, your adoption specialist will determine the adoption situation and what kind of permissions you will receive. In some international adoptions, you may be able to finalize the adoption overseas, others require you to finalize your adoption in Arizona.
Once you have returned home with your child, you will need to apply for an amended social security card and birth certificate, as these applications can sometimes take months to process.
Step 7: Finalizing the adoption and completing a re-adoption
To complete the international adoption process in Arizona, you will need to complete finalization or a re-adoption. To complete this final step in the process, you will need to submit either of the following to finalize the adoption:
- An original Arizona certificate of adoption
- A certified court order of adoption issued by an Arizona court and proof of the date and place of the adopted child’s birth
- A state-issued court order recognizing the adoption, if the child was not adopted in Arizona
If your child received an IH-3 or IR-3 visa, the adoption is legally complete and the parents can receive a certificate of foreign birth.
To ensure your child’s adoption has been confirmed and is legal in both countries, we strongly suggest completing a Re-adoption in the United States. This will recognize your child as a full US citizen and avoid any confusion later in life.
After re-adoption or finalization in Arizona, the international adoption process is complete.
This was a broad overview of international adoption in Arizona. We understand this is a lot to process, but an adoption professional can help make sense of it all and explain in further detail the requirements to adopt a child from another country.
To speak with professionals from international adoption agencies in Arizona, we suggest contacting any of the following
Adoption Options in Arizona
If the international adoption process seems overwhelming, or you aren't sure that it is right for you, then you may consider domestic adoption or foster care adoption. Although with both of these options, the child you would be adopting will be from the United States, not a foreign country, the life-changing outcome of being able to parent your child, remains the same.
Many adoptive families prefer these options and decide to have more control and direct involvement with their adoption plan, which better suits their needs. The uncertainties surrounding international adoption tend to concern many adoptive families.
Ultimately, it is a personal preference with what you are most comfortable with, as well as which aligns best with your adoptive goals. If you would like to read some of the pros and cons of international vs domestic adoption, visit this link.
No matter where you are at in your adoption decision, American Adoptions is here to help. If you are still considering domestic adoption, you can learn more about domestic adoption with our agency by filling out our online form. An adoption specialist will be more than happy to discuss your situation and help you determine what is best.
Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.