Adopting from Samoa – A 2016 Program Update!


adopting from samoaAdopting from Samoa has many benefits, as families in our program saw this past year! Even though the country has a small population, and the sheer number of children in need of families is smaller compared to other countries, families who choose to adopt from Samoa are meeting a critical need.

We had four families bring home their children this year, including one family who adopted twins! We do ask all families entering the Samoa program to be open to a child up to the age of five at time of referral, but all five of these children were under the age of four at time of placement. These sweet children will be able to celebrate the holiday season with their forever families this year!

In addition to five children joining their families this year, we had five families adopting from Samoa receive referrals this year. They waited an average of 30 months from I-171H approval to referral.

  • Female child, 11 months old — 20 month wait
  • Male child, 2 months old — 42 month wait
  • Male child, 8 months old — 31 month wait
  • Female child, 6 months old — 12 month wait
  • Male child, 1 year old — 45 month wait

We currently have six families with referrals who are waiting to bring their children home. We hope that these families will be able to travel in 2017. All families waiting to be matched with children have been waiting 29 months or less. This is consistent with the timeframe of 18-36 months from I-171H approval to referral that we share with families entering the Samoa program.

This fall, our Program Director, Sonja Brown, and our Assistant Program Director, Jen Gavin, both traveled to Samoa and New Zealand. While they were there, they met with our in-country staff, attended meetings with government officials who are involved with the adoption process, and visited the Samoa Victims Shelter Group, where orphaned children in Samoa live. The trip allowed us to maintain and develop relationships, including those with staff members at the U.S. Embassies in Apia and Auckland. We are hopeful that continuing to invest in these relationships will be beneficial for our families adopting from Samoa. As with each trip that our staff takes to the countries where we work, we are both learning from our in-country staff and also giving feedback about what our families have experienced.

If you’re interested in adopting from Samoa, please contact us.

Caitlin Snyder works as the Director of Marketing and Outreach for MLJ Adoptions. Working in international adoption has given Caitlin the unique opportunity to pursue both a passion to advocate on behalf of vulnerable people and a profession at the same time.