8 Steps to an International Adoption in Arkansas
How to Complete an International Adoption in Arkansas
If you are interested in growing your family by adopting a child from another country, international adoption could be the right choice for you.
While American Adoptions does not facilitate international adoptions in Arkansas, our interest in family-building extends beyond our specialization in domestic adoption. We support all forms of adoption and will come alongside you during your decision-making process to give you a clear view of types of adoption available to you.
If you’re ready to speak with an adoption professional about all of your options, especially domestic infant adoption in Arkansas, you can contact us today to be connected with an adoption professional at American Adoptions.
How International Adoption Works [8 Steps to the Process]
Step 1: Choose the country you would like to adopt from
There is much to consider when you are deciding where you would like to adopt from. Depending upon the frequently shifting adoption laws, political realities, and possible travel bans, the countries available to you may be limited. You might also want to consider:
Age, gender, and cultural heritage of waiting children
Step 2: Choose a professional who specializes in international adoption in Arkansas
International adoption agencies in Arkansas are set up to assist you on your journey to adopt. Considerations you might keep in mind as you decide who to work with include the following:
Whether or not they are Hague-compliant
What countries they work with
What a typical wait time might be
Step 3: Complete an international home study in Arkansas
Home studies are a requirement for international adoption in Arkansas. They are assessments that are often completed by a social worker and are designed to ensure that a child is being placed in a safe and loving home that is equipped to support their well-being. International home studies take about three months to complete and are conducted by professionals licensed according to Hague Convention home study requirements.
An international home study in Arkansas will include:
Three confidential personal references
Safety assessment of the home
Step 4: Gain approval from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
Verification by the USCIS is a prerequisite to becoming eligible for international adoption in Arkansas. Depending on whether you are adopting from a Hague Convention country or not, you will file Form 1-800A, 1-600A, or 1600.
Step 5: Wait for your match
After you have been approved by the USCIS to adopt overseas, you will wait for an adoption opportunity. Professionals in the country where you are adopting will contact the international adoption agency in Arkansas that is facilitating your adoption with a referral. You will receive some information about the child along with the reason they have been matched with you. Travel to the country will either precede or follow this referral, depending on the requirements or preferences of the parties involved.
Step 6: File a petition with USCIS
Your next step in the Arkansas international adoption process will be to apply to the USCIS for the child you’ve been matched with to become eligible for adoption into the US. Again, you will file Form 1-800A if they are coming from a Hague Convention country or Form 1-600/1-600A if they reside in a non-Hague Convention country. After these forms are processed and verified, you will be free to file for the child’s U.S. Visa. You will file Form DS-260 to the child’s country of origin for approval.
Step 7: Travel to the child’s country of origin and return to Arkansas
Whether or not you have already traveled to the country, it is a legal requirement that you meet your child in their country of origin at this point in the adoption process. Depending on the particular adoption laws in the country from which you are adopting, you will stay in the country anywhere between 1 and 4 weeks. After obtaining a Visa for your child, you can return home to Arkansas to complete your adoption.
Step 8: Complete your international adoption in Arkansas
The last step in an Arkansas international adoption is either a finalization or a re-adoption. Finalization is required by law, and a re-adoption is less common, but sometimes necessary. Your adoption professional will advise you on the processes you need to follow, depending upon your situation.
The Decline in International Adoption in Arkansas
The peak of international adoption in Arkansas (and throughout the country) was in 2004, and its popularity has been declining ever since. Much of this has to do with foreign nations limiting the number of children who can be adopted from outside their country. Other contributing factors are increased costs, agencies being closed, new regulations being put into place, and political tensions in certain parts of the world. Still, it is a viable option and the preferred method for some hopeful adoptive parents in Arkansas.
Comparing Domestic and International Adoption in Arkansas
Whether domestic or international, adoption agencies share a similar vision – to build families through adoption. As you consider the benefits of different kinds of adoption and determine which one might be right for you, a comparison between domestic adoption and international agencies might be helpful.
Domestic adoption agencies are in the business of open adoptions or semi-open adoptions that involve connecting a birth mother with a hopeful adoptive couple. They work within the United States and facilitate adoptions of infants. Domestic adoptions are regulated by state laws and a typical wait time is a year.
International adoption agencies mainly facilitate closed adoptions, although there are some exceptions to this. They connect hopeful adoptive families in the US to children in other countries in need of a safe and loving home. The majority of children adopted from outside the US are 5-12 years old, and very few are under the age of one. Wait times vary greatly but are typically longer than domestic adoption wait times.
Find International Adoption Agencies in Arkansas
Once you have determined that international adoption is the ideal choice for your family, you will want to do some research as you select a professional who works in the country you are interested in and offers the support you need.
There are several international adoption agencies in Arkansas:
Learn More About Domestic Adoption in Arkansas
If, after learning more about the international adoption process, you still wonder if domestic adoption might be the right choice for you and your family, we have adoption professionals available to help you weigh your options and to answer any questions you might have.
Contact us today at 1-800-ADOPTION or contact us online.
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