According to the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, there were 5,644 international adoptions in 2015—less than a quarter of the staggering 22,734 peak reached in 2004. Although there is a complex intersection of explanations for this steadily-declining statistic, the appeal of international adoptions could arguably be improved by simply improving access to information. This is why we’ve put together these five FAQs about international adoption.
- What is the Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (UAA), and how does it affect my adoption?
Effective on July 14, 2014, the UAA “extends the safeguards provided by accreditation to orphans under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)” and ensures that adoption service providers are all held to the same federal standards. Individuals and couples seeking international adoption today should verify that an agency being considered is accredited to ensure the safety of adopted children and for their own legal protection.
- What is the difference between Hague and Non-Hague adoption processes?
The Hague Convention Adoption Process (commonly referred to as simply “Convention adoptions”) seeks to determine the suitability of the adoptive parents and the eligibility requirements for the child’s immigration to the United States. Convention countries have more extensive requirements, such as 10 hours of parent education and an adoption services contract outlining all fees and policies. A completed comparison chart can be found here.
- How long does it take to adopt a child from a foreign country?
The timespan of the international adoption process will ultimately depend on the child’s country of origin and a range of additional factors, including immigration policies and costs. According to Adoption STAR, “From the time you submit your formal application until you are united with your child usually ranges from 12-36 months.”
- How much does international adoption cost?
Again, exact costs will vary depending on the agency, the child’s origin country, and many other factors. However, Holt International claims prospective parent(s) can expect to pay between $20,000 and $35,000, including travel, document preparation, parent education and other costs.
- Are parents required to travel to the child’s home country?
Although the law varies in different countries, many require parents to appear in the courts of their country to complete the adoption process. Some U.S. embassies even require parental attendance before issuing the child’s exit visa. Most countries require a total of two trips: the first to meet the child and the second to bring him or her back home.
The DiPietro Family Law Group can provide additional answers to your questions, particularly with regard to recent legislative changes and how they directly affect the international adoption process. Contact our firm today at (888) 530-4374 to schedule a free consultation, and discover how we can help ensure a smooth and efficient adoption process.