Do you have an interest in international adoption and are not sure where to start? MLJ Adoptions can assist you! Each adoption will be different, but we can give you a general timeline of the process and procedures you will experience. International adoption can be a lengthy process, but we are here to assist you before, during and after!
If you are interested in learning more about international adoption and the country programs we offer, you can select to fill out an interest form on our website. This will ask for some general information including name, address, birth date, marriage, etc. You also have the option to select the country program(s) you are interested in and would like to hear more about.
Once your interest form has been submitted, you will be in contact with me, the Client Intake Specialist, and you will have the opportunity to schedule a phone consultation to explore your interest. You will receive initial documentation about the country program you are interested in. This will include an information sheet, a fee schedule of where your payments are going and when they are do, a road map service plan of what your adoption process will look like, and our Adoption Services Agreement. After the consultation, if you wish to move forward, you can submit your adoption application. The adoption application is a pre-screening for international adoption that we review before you start your adoption process.
If your adoption application was approved, you are onto your next step which is filling out initial documentation needed for you to become an official client family here at MLJ Adoptions. This is very quick since it is only a few documents, but you have as much time needed to fully review all the information. When this initial documentation is received and your agency payment as been processed, you move onto the next step which is the home study & education stage.
During your home study stage, you will complete education courses based on the country program you chose to adopt from. You will have scheduled home visits to determine if your home is safe and ready for your adopted child. During the home study process you also provide information about yourself and your family. Once your home visits have been completed then it is the process of writing your home study report. The home study stage typically takes 1-2 months. If everything checks out, then you are onto the dossier stage!
The dossier stage typically takes about 3-6 months depending on how quickly you can gather the documents needed for your dossier. Your dossier is a big packet of documents sent to the country you are adopting from. Some of the documents will include birth certificates, physician letters, bank statements, etc. The documents required are determined by the country you are adopting from. Your dossier will be shipped off to the country by MLJ and this is when you will begin the waiting process to be matched with a child.
Once your dossier is submitted to the country you will wait to be matched with a child (a referral). Depending on the country program you choose from, this can range in timeframes. For example, waiting to be matched in our Bulgaria program can be from 18-36 months. Your wait time can also fluctuate by how open you are to particular characteristics, meaning if you are open to more special needs or older children.
When you are matched with a referral of a child and accept the match, you begin your process of filing the I800 (or I600) which is the Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative. Once provisionally approved, you will complete your court and legal process within in the country. You will have travel dates set up to finalize the adoption within the country and to meet and bring home your child(ren).
This is the best part! Your child(ren) is/are coming home! During this time, you are trying to settle in at home and make sure everyone is adjusting and comfortable. Once your child is home you will begin the post-adoption stage. This includes post-adoption reports that are sent to the country to inform them of the child’s current situation and how they are thriving. Again, depending on the country, your post-adoption reports will vary. For example, our Burkina Faso program requires you to complete a report at six months after the child’s arrival with his/her adoptive family, then adoptive parents must submit post-adoption reports for the child once a year during the first two years following adoption and once every three years until the child turns 18.
This is just a general timeframe of how the adoption process works. Some country programs will differ, but we can assist you with providing you more information on the country-specific road map. If you are interested in international adoption, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org