How does adopting a child from abroad work?

How does adopting a child from abroad work?


  • Hi kdanderson22!

    Adopting a child from abroad will look a little different for each country, as they each have different rules and processes.  The timeline will look a little different for each country as well.  

    Generally speaking, the process begins with a homestudy.  A social worker will come visit your home and ask a bunch of questions about you and your family.  From this information, they will compose a report called a homestudy that will be the foundation for your adoption paperwork.

    In addition to your homestudy, you will gather paperwork requested by the country (birth certificates, marriage licenses, proof of employment, etc.) into what is called your dossier.  Once it is complete, you will send it to the country you are adopting from.  

    You will be matched with a child, and once the country approves you to travel, you will visit and/or take custody of your child.  Each country varies quite a bit at this point, but once you are declared your child’s parent by their birth country, you will be officially their parent! 
  • As the above poster donated, this will definitely vary from country to country. Many countries are under the Hague Convention which will govern a lot of the adoption process. 

    One of the first steps is to contact an adoption agency in your area that handles international adoption. They will be able to lead you through what the process for your specific country of interest or possibly point you in the right direction. 

    You will be subject to the laws and the policies of both the United States and the country from which you are adopting. You can view information about adoption policies and also the adoption process by country by visiting that country's International Adoption page on 

    You can expect possibly multiple visits to the country from which you are adopting as well as a lengthy stay to finalize much of the adoption and bring your child home. International adoption can often take quite a long time due to all the red tape that you may encounter. It is imperative that you find a good adoption agency that has a stellar reputation for ethical adoptions. Having a good support system and a team with great knowledge of international adoption will be imperative. 

    You will got through a home study, background checks, and many other processes that are required by federal law in order to adopt. Please check out the country page for more information on what adoption might look like from the specific country of interest. 
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