International Adoption in California

International adoption may be a viable option for you, especially if you wish to adopt an older infant or toddler. Ordinarily, cost ranges from $15,000 to $40,000 which includes: document preparation, placing agency fee, country coordination fee, immigration fee, air fare, hotels, etc. The time varies as well, but most adoptions take several months. Adopting special needs and older children can shorten the waiting period for some countries.

To complete an international adoption and bring a child to the United States, adoptive parents must fulfill the requirements set by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the foreign country in which the child resides, the Hague Convention Laws, and the State of California.

The goal of The Family Network’s international adoption program is to place orphans into loving families and permanent homes and to help families through the international adoption process. The Family Network assists families with homestudy services, parent education, immigration paperwork & post placement services; we also partner with agencies to help families adopt from the country of their choice.
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The Family Network is Hague Accredited by the Council on Accreditation. We are licensed by the State of California to provide international adoption services to California families. Most of our social workers are part of adoptive families themselves and have years of experience working in the field of adoption.

Applicants will need to provide a stable family life for a child, demonstrate a commitment to parenting a child from a different culture, and a willingness to help their child heal from the traumas of abandonment, etc. We are ready to help you through the process and we offer the following services:

  • Homestudy services
  • Referrals to licensed agencies that place children from the country of your choice
  • Guidance through the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) process
  • Post-adoption/post-placement supervision after your child has come home
  • Court documents for your USA re-adoption/finalization
  • Assistance in obtaining a Certificate of Citizenship if your child arrived home on an IR4 or IH4 Visa

Basic Requirements

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In order to give you an overview of what will be expected of you to qualify in any country, below is a list of the basic requirements for most international adoptions:
  • Age: With married couples both husband and wife must be at least 25 years old, and there cannot be a difference of more than 45 years between your age and that of your adopted child. However, some programs make exceptions. If you are single, you are required to be at least 25 years of age.
  • Marital Status: You can be single or married to adopt internationally.
  • U.S. Citizenship: At least one adoptive parent must be a U.S. citizen (Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services Requirement). U.S. citizens living and working abroad can adopt a child internationally.
  • Clearances: Adoptive parents must pass the state and federal fingerprint clearances, and the state child abuse index check. It can be difficult to adopt with a felony record.

Process Overview

1. Begin homestudy with TFN
2. Select country and placing agency with TFN’s assistance (if needed)
3. Complete your homestudy with TFN
4. Complete a dossier with your placing agency
5. Fill out Immigration paperwork & apply for Immigration (USCIS)
6. Receive Immigration approval
7. Wait for a referral of a child
8. Discuss referral with placing agency, homestudy social worker & appropriate medical professional
9. Accept or reject referral
10. Travel to foreign country to meet/pick up your child, or receive child if he/she is escorted (in some countries two trips are required)
11. Notify TFN of child’s placement when you return home
12. Begin the post placement process
13. Complete the re-adoption/finalization process in your local family court
14. Receive Certificate of Citizenship for children who arrived on an IR3 Visa or IH3 Visa. Apply for Certificate of Citizenship for children who arrived on an IR4 Visa or IH4 Visa.
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International Post Adoption Services

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The most important part of the post adoption period is to have adoption social workers, who are specialized in the area of attachment issues, available to help adoptive families during their adjustment period and as needed throughout the life of the child. The social workers at the Family Network attend regular trainings and workshops on the topic of attachment and are fully available to assist adoptive families with the difficulties and challenges that they may face during their child’s adjustment period.

Through the post adoption process, The Family Network helps adoptive families comply with the requirements of the placing agency and the country of their child’s birth.

Prior to their child’s placement, The Family Network prepares adoptive families in dealing with attachment related issues, by hosting an Attachment Workshop. The Attachment Workshop covers the following topics:
  • Current research on infant brain development;
  • Effects of trauma on the developing neurons & neuro-receptors before & after birth
  • Post-traumatic stress reactions: the cause and cure;
  • Dyadic resonance – mother/infant attunement;
  • Affect regulation resulting from periods of intense mutual gaze (mother/child); and
  • Parental influences that help develop “positive affect states” in infant/child, which are critical for the foundation of attachment.
Adoptive families are welcome to attend the attachment workshop for a second time after their child has been placed and TFN also welcomes the attendance of extended family members!

Schedule: For the benefit of the child and adoptive family, the country and the placing agency have specific post adoption schedules, which they expect The Family Network to fulfill.

Overview of the Post Adoption Process: The adoptive family fills out the preliminary family form prior to each post adoption visit & gathers photos of their adopted child and family. The adoptive family and child then meet with the social worker and the social worker prepares the post adoption report. The post adoption report is sent to the adoptive child’s placing agency for submission to the child’s birth country.