The international adoption process can vary greatly depending upon the country program your family pursues. Below you will find a general overview of steps that you can expect on your adoption journey, no matter which country program you ultimately decide upon.
Step 1: Gather Initial Information
- Receive initial information about international adoption by completing an Information Request. Once this form has been submitted, you will automatically be re-directed to a new page with additional information, including country information sheets, fee schedules, adoption application and more. This information will also be emailed to you within 24 hours, so please be sure to enter a valid email address.
Step 2: Become an MLJ Adoptions Family
- Complete and submit the MLJ Adoptions International Adoption Application and application fee for pre-screening and approval.
- Submit your signed Adoption Services Agreement, signed Fee Schedule, and initial payment for the country program you have chosen.
- Gain access to your online Client Care page, which will allow you to track your entire adoption process step-by-step. This page provides access to the instructions and documents needed for each step in your adoption process. Your Client Care page is designed to keep you organized and supplement your relationship with our team throughout your adoption journey.
Step 3: Home Study
- Receive a guide explaining the home study process.
- Collect the required documents, including, but not limited to, background checks, letters of recommendation, financial documents, etc.
- Submit the required documents to your in-state agency’s offices.
- Meet with your Home Study Assistant for the number of times set forth by the program country. At least one visit will occur in your home.
Step 4: Adoption Preparation Education
- Begin the required 10-20 hours of pre-adoption educational training. Your education is personalized based on your family situation and the country from which you are adopting.
- Complete in-person or webinar lectures, online assignments, quizzes and electives.
Step 5: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
- Start on the immigration approval and international process for adoption. Your program director works with you to complete this paperwork and a country specific guidebook available on your Client Care page explains the process.
- Receive information on obtaining fingerprints after acceptance by USCIS. (Each individual living in the home, over the age of 18, will need to complete the biometrics fingerprinting.)
Step 6: Dossier Compilation
- Start the dossier after completion of your home study. Instructions and forms for the dossier will be provided to you on your Client Care page. Documents must be certified/authenticated/apostilled as required by the country from which you are adopting.
- Work with your program director throughout the dossier process to ensure that all documents are accurate and in order before submission to the country.
Step 7: Dossier Submission
- Submit your completed dossier to MLJ Adoptions.
- MLJ Adoptions arranges to have your dossier translated and sent to the appropriate international officials.
Step 8: Referral
- Receive a referral. Your program director will provide you with all of the information that is received. The referral information may include pictures, medical reports, social history, date of birth, etc., as permitted by the country.
- Schedule a recommended consultation with an international Adoption Medical Specialist to best prepare for the child’s arrival.
Step 9: Travel
- Arrange a phone consult with your program director to prepare for travel and receive a Travel Guidebook containing information needed prior to travel.
- Receive travel dates for visit and/or to pick your child up from MLJ Adoptions.
- Work with in country staff while traveling to coordinate attendance at various required appointments.
Step 10: Post Adoption
- Complete Post Adoption Reports (PARs). PARs are required by MLJ Adoptions and the child’s country of origin. The number and frequency of reports are mandated by the sending country and are subject to change. A home visit will typically be required. These reports are submitted to the child’s country of origin. Completion of PARs is very important to allow your child’s country of origin to know that your child is thriving and that intercountry adoption is in the best interests of the children in need of families.
- Complete the legal process of re-adoption in your respective state of residence. The state accepts the child’s foreign adoption decree as if the child had been adopted in your state so that he or she may receive the same rights and benefits as a child who had been adopted in your state and will also allow your child to obtain an in-state birth certificate. The re-adoption process varies greatly from state to state.
Step 11: Support Services
- Seek support as needed once your child is home. Counseling, support calls, and support groups are available to assist your family with the transition.