There are many ways to start or grow your family. Adoption can be a beautiful and life-changing journey. But as soon as you settle on adoption, you’re faced with another big choice as a hopeful parent: Which type of adoption is right for me?
Many families may settle on domestic infant adoption or foster care adoption, but others sense that these are not quite right for them. You may have heard that there are millions of children around the world waiting for a family, and the dire needs of these waiting children pulls at your heart.
Does that sound about right? Well, international adoption in Missouri could be your family’s future.
Missouri international adoption is a complicated and lengthy process. There are Missouri international adoption laws, as well as laws at the federal level and regulations from the child’s country of origin. If you’re just starting to consider international adoption, we’re not going to sugarcoat things — there’s a lot to learn.
But, we have good news. This guide to international adoption in Missouri is exactly where you need to be. We’re going to cover all of the most important information you need to feel confident taking the next step in this journey.
Becoming a parent through adoption is an amazing thing to do. Ready to get started?
Is Missouri International Adoption Right for You?
Before finding an international adoption agency in Missouri, learning more about the process, choosing a country to adopt from or anything else, you’ve got to answer this big question. Once you choose a type of adoption, you’re set on a path that will shape the future of your family.
International adoption in Missouri can be a beautiful journey. It can also be challenging. How can you know if it’s right for you?
This is a personal decision, and your answer will be unique to your family. To help you find clarity on this choice, consider these questions:
- Have I fully embraced adoption as the path for my family?
- Am I ready for the unique challenges of raising a transcultural family?
- Am I comfortable with international travel?
- Have I prepared financially for this process?
- Will I be able to handle a potentially long wait for placement?
- What do I envision when I think of my future family?
- Do I have a strong support network to help me during and after the process?
Take your time making this decision. Feeling unsure? Read our in-depth guides to other types of adoption in Missouri. When you’re sure that international adoption in Missouri is right for you, then you’re ready to move on to learning about how it works.
How International Adoption in Missouri Works
You know that international adoption in Missouri is right for you. How do you get started?
The process is long and complicated. Oftentimes, there will be unexpected challenges. You should prepare for your journey to be unique, as everyone experiences something a little different from anyone else. However, there are some big steps that each process follows.
When you’re going through a Missouri international adoption, here’s what you should expect to do:
Step 1: Choose a Country to Adopt From
China, India and South Korea are some of the most common countries for U.S. parents to adopt from, but there are many other options. Consider a country’s laws and culture when making this choice, and look for countries that are party to the Hague Convention, which sets ethical guidelines and legal standards for international adoption.
Step 2: Search for International Adoption Agencies in Missouri
Once you know where you’d like to adopt from, you can begin searching for international adoption agencies in Missouri that work in that country. We’ll have more details on finding the right agency below.
Step 3: Complete Your International Adoption Home Study
Each type of adoption requires a home study, which is a review of your adoption readiness and home safety by a licensed social worker. For Missouri international adoption, your home study provider should be Hague-accredited. Some agencies are able to provide home study services, while others will require you to find a different professional for this step.
Step 4: Complete an Adoption Eligibility Application
Any family pursuing international adoption in Missouri will need to be approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Adoption Department. For adoption from Hague Convention countries, fill out Form 1-800A, along with other pertinent documents, which your agency should be able to help with. Once approved, you will be eligible for an adoption placement for 15 months. Your agency should be able to provide assistance with the application process.
Step 5: Wait for a Match
Now comes the really hard part — patience. Wait times for Missouri international adoptions can differ drastically depending on the country you adopt from, the agency you work with, uncontrollable geopolitical factors and more. When a match is found, your agency will send you the child’s profile, which you can look over. Then, it is up to you to decide to accept the adoption opportunity.
Step 6: Travel to Meet Your Child
Once an opportunity has been accepted, you can work with your agency to prepare for travel. This is the time to work out any necessary visas, including the required documents for your child to return with you to the U.S. Depending on your child’s country of origin, you may need to travel more than once before returning home as a family. Travel logistics are always tricky and handled on a case-by-case basis, so it’s best to speak with your Missouri international adoption agency about this step.
Step 7: Finalization and Re-Adoption
International adoption involves a finalization in the child’s country of origin and then a “re-adoption” in a U.S. court. After returning home, it’s always important to have the adoption finalized under U.S. law. Once this is done, your international adoption in Missouri is complete!
International Adoption Agencies in Missouri
Finding the right international adoption agency in Missouri goes a long way in determining the overall success of your placement. Agencies play such a vital role in navigating the complexities of the international process.
How can you find the best international adoption agencies in Missouri? Research several options, and contact the agencies directly to speak with a specialist. During your conversation ask these questions to get a sense of the agency’s experience and overall character:
- How many placements does your agency play a part in each year?
- How long has your staff been together?
- What days and hours are you available to provide support?
- Are your fees fixed?
- Are you Hague-accredited?
- Do you provide educational materials to hopeful parents on the challenges of raising a transcultural family?
- Do you provide post-placement support and resources for families?
Go over these questions and think about the answers you’d like to hear. Plus, you can think of your own questions, too. When you’re ready, here are several international adoption agencies in Missouri that you could reach out to:
- Holt International
- All Blessings International
- Children’s Hope International
- Zoe’s House Adoption Agency
Preparing for the Missouri International Adoption Process
If you’re still in the planning stage of your international adoption in Missouri, then there’s a chance to get out ahead of the process. By taking some of these simple proactive steps, you can put yourself in the best position to begin your journey:
- Start Saving and Fundraising, and Apply for Grants: The cost associated with international adoption is often too much for a family to handle on their own, and that cost has been increasing in recent years. Create a savings plan, consider fundraising options and look into adoption grants before beginning your process.
- Read, Watch and Listen: International adoption presents truly unique parenting challenges. Your child may have experienced abandonment, abuse or neglect that will have lasting impacts. Plus, raising a transcultural family can be challenging. Begin your education now on these important issues. By doing this, you put yourself in the best position to help your future child grow and thrive.
- Build a Support Network: International adoption in Missouri is rarely easy, as you likely already know. It helps to have a community around you that truly supports your family. Additionally, you can find groups of other adoptive parents to trade ideas, frustrations and success stories with.
The Next Step in Your Journey
Do you feel ready to take your next step toward international adoption in Missouri? You can begin by researching more about countries to adopt from, and then contacting some of the agencies listed above. If you’re still unsure about choosing international adoption and would like to speak with a professional about your other adoption options in Missouri, such as domestic infant adoption, please contact us today.