International Adoption Process

  1. Submit application to Cradle of Hope. Your Cradle of Hope support team will schedule an orientation meeting.
  2. Begin a homestudy, which is a series of meetings with a social worker in your state to learn about issues related to international adoption, to determine your suitability to parent an adopted child, and to help you prepare for the experience. Cradle of Hope provides homestudy services to Maryland and Virginia families.
  3. Submit I-600A or I-800A application to your local JCIS office. Processing of your application can take several months, so you should begin this step even if you have not decided on a country from which to adopt, or if your homestudy is not complete. Cradle of Hope will provide a sample completed form for you.
  4. Collect the documents (dossier) required by the country from which you are adopting, such as your birth certificates, marriage certificate, employment letters, references, and medical clearances. Many of these documents will also be required for completion of your homestudy, and must be notarized, authenticated, translated, and approved by the embassy of the country from which you plan to adopt. Cradle of Hope will provide you with step-by-step guidance about dossier preparation.
  5. Consider a child referral. Consult medical experts. Accept referral.
  6. Prepare for travel and your stay abroad with assistance from your Cradle support team. While waiting to travel, collect donations to take to the orphanage for the children who will remain behind.
  7. Travel to your child’s country to meet him/her and finalize the adoption. Most families’ trips will be a few days to several weeks, depending on the country. In some programs, two or three trips are required, but only one parent must travel on some trips. Bilingual coordinators guide you through the process overseas. Your Cradle of Hope support team will be in regular phone contact with you throughout your trip, and with your family back home.
  8. Obtain an immigrant visa for your child from U.S. Embassy.
  9. Return home with your child!!
  10. Participate in post-placement supervision with your homestudy agency, which includes several visits over a time frame specified by your child’s birth country (usually 1 to 3 years) to make sure that the placement is going well, and to offer support and assistance in the event that outside services are needed. Reports of these post-placement visits and photos of your child are forwarded to adoption officials in your child’s birth country so that they can know the child is loved and doing well.
  11. Readopt your child in your state court, in order to obtain a U.S. birth certificate and adoption decree.