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International Adoption in Arkansas

Every adoption is a journey— and sometimes those journeys bring families together across the globe. International adoption is a wonderful way to build a family for hopeful parents in Arkansas. Keep reading below to learn more about how to complete an international adoption in Arkansas.

What is International Adoption?

While domestic adoption refers to the adoption of a child within the country’s borders, an international adoption (also known as an intercounty adoption) is the adoption of a child from outside the country’s borders. These children are usually in some sort of institutional care, and their reasons for needing a family through adoption can vary. International adoption peaked in the United States around 2004, and for a variety of reasons, has been on the decline ever since. But still, there are hopeful adoptive families that dream of growing their family through international adoption each year.

Arkansas International Adoption Can Be a Great Option for:

  • People who want to raise a child of a different culture
  • Families looking to adopt regardless of age
  • People who don’t want to be in contact with the child’s birth parents
  • Families prepared for an uncertain medical history
  • People who would like more predictable wait times and adoption costs
  • People who are compelled by the present needs of waiting children

The Arkansas International Adoption Process

As a hopeful family pursuing an Arkansas international adoption, it’s important to understand the process of how international adoption works before you decide whether or not international adoption is right for you and your family. Like any adoption process, adopting internationally comes with its own rewards and challenges. It’s up to you to determine if it meets your adoption goals.

Keep reading below to get a better of how the Arkansas international adoption process works. Every journey is different, but many will follow these seven steps:

Step 1: Choose a Country to Adopt From

First, you’ll want to consider each country’s specific adoption laws. Your child’s country of origin will determine how the process goes from here, so it’s important that you choose a country first before you do anything else. With that, you’ll want to consider your preferences in terms of gender or the age of the child you wish to adopt, the country’s eligibility criteria, the culture of the country, and the costs to adopt from that specific location.

When it comes to international adoption costs, it can vary from country to country. This is usually because of the travel involved in the adoption. It’s important to extensively discuss international adoption costs with adoption agencies before choosing one for your international adoption journey.

Step 2: Choose an Adoption Professional

Different adoption agencies specialize in completing different international adoptions, so it’s crucial to first decide which country you want to adopt from. The adoption professional you choose to work with should be Hague-accredited, which means they comply with Hague Convention requirements to assure that international adoptions are completed safely and ethically.

Other than being Hague-accredited, your adoption specialist should manage all communications with the country you wish to adopt from. They should also oversee your international adoption home study, find a match with a child, and several other services. It’s important to take your time to research and consider all your options before choosing an international adoption agency in Arkansas.

Some options for Arkansas residents are:

Step 3: Complete Your International Adoption Home Study

This process should look similar to a domestic adoption home study. Keep in mind that the country you wish to adopt from may have additional requirements along with your home study— your adoption professional will prepare you for that as well. Otherwise, your home study should include interviews, in-person visits and reviewing important documents.

Your home study will be completed by your adoption agency, but other times you might have to find a different Hague-accredited home study provider depending on your adoption requirements.

Step 4: Apply for International Adoption Eligibility

Before you complete your Arkansas international adoption, you will need to be declared as eligible to adopt by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The form you’ll be required to fill out will depend on whether the country you’re adopting from is a Hague-accredited country.

Step 5: Wait for a Match

Once you’ve been declared eligible to adopt overseas, you will then wait for a match. Adoption professionals in the country you’re adopting from will contact your Arkansas international adoption agency with a referral. Here, you’ll typically receive the child’s name, picture, age, birthday, medical/social information and why they’ve been matched with you.

Keep in mind, in some cases, you’ll travel to the country before receiving a referral. In other cases, you’ll travel to the country after accepting the referral.

Step 6: Apply for Your Child’s Eligibility to Immigrate to the United States

Depending on which form you filled out for your own eligibility to adopt (in step four), you’ll fill out Form I-800 or Form I-600 to make sure your child is declared adoptable by the USCIS.

Step 7: Travel Overseas to Adopt Your Child

In this incredible step, your stay in your child’s home country could last anywhere from one to four weeks. During that time, you’ll complete your visa application. You’ll also complete an interview with the foreign country’s adoption authorities to ensure that you meet all requirements for international adoption.

The international adoption process still has one more step: re-adoption. International re-adoption refers to the act of finalizing your child’s adoption in the United States after gaining custody in the child’s country of birth. Regardless of which visa your child received, re-adoption is highly recommended. This makes sure your Arkansas international adoption is legally recognized by the state. With re-adoption, you’re ensuring your child has all the rights and privileges of a United States citizen.

Failing to complete a re-adoption (or finalizing your child’s international adoption) can result in legal issues. Speak with an Arkansas law firm for more about this topic.

Learn More about International Adoption in Arkansas

If you’re still deciding between domestic and international adoption in Arkansas, Arkansas adoption specialists are more than happy to help. International adoption is an experience that many people dream of to grow their family. If you decide to adopt internationally, make sure to do plenty of research before deciding on a country or adoption agency—ensuring that you find the best adoption opportunity for you and your family.

If you’d like to learn more about domestic infant adoption as a way to start of grow your family, please contact us today.