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Placement of a Child in International Adoptions: Becoming a Parent

Kathryn Patricelli, MA

In an international adoption situation, the adoptive parents receive a first call when a specific child has become available and then a second call when it is time for them to bring the child home. With an international adoption, most countries will require one or both of the adoptive parents to travel to the birth country and personally transport the child back to the new home country. Multiple trips may be required, one or more of which is mandated to last for an extended period of several days or weeks. Other countries allow the adoptive parents to hire someone to act as their proxy for bringing the child home. Either option can become quite expensive.

asian toddlerMost countries will process and finalize the adoption before the adoptive parents and child return to their home. The local courts will usually require documentation about the child being adopted, the home study report and dossier, and the government approval forms before they will finalize the adoption.

While the adoption may have already been finalized in the birth country, it is often not yet final in the new home country. Once the family has brought the child home, they will need to contact the relevant government agency again and submit a form asking them to classify the child as their immediate relative and issue visas.

Though not strictly necessary in all cases, most international adoption agencies and lawyers will strongly recommend to adoptive families that they go through the adoption process a second time in the homse country after first doing so in the birth country so that there is no question that the adoption is fully recognized within the child's new country. A secondary adoption process is also required when the adoptive parents have hired a proxy individual to bring the child into the new country and have not actually seen the child prior to its arrival. Once the adoption has been finalized and recognized by the government, the child typically officially gains citizenship without the family having to make any further applications.