International Adoption: Preparing your Application

Every year, thousands of U.S. citizens adopt children from other countries. Families who reside outside of the country also frequently adopt children from the United States. International adoption, also called intercountry adoption, is the process where you use permanent legal means to adopt a child from a country other than your own. The child you adopt is then brought to the United States bring to permanently live with you.

International adoptions are one of the Department of State’s highest priorities. However, adopting a child from another country can be a long and complicated process. Often, prospective parents seeking to adopt will spend weeks and months researching specific country programs, requirements, and agencies. The first step you need to take if you are interested in international adoption is to submit an adoption application. Your application is one of the most important aspects of the screening process. Below, we breakdown what you need to know about the international adoption application.

  • Birth Dates: Countries often have specific age requirements for adopting parents. The birthdate you provide will be what the adoption agency uses to screen your ages to see if you meet the requirements for the country you are adopting from.
  • Income: Prospective parents have to show that they have enough income to care for the child they are adopting. You will need to meet 125% of the US Poverty Guidelines. You can find the minimum requirements here.
  • Marital Information: Most countries have marriage criteria that parents need to meet. Make sure you provide accurate dates for your marriage so that the agency can easily determine if you fit the marriage criteria used by a particular country.
  • Religious Affiliation: Certain religions are given preference in some countries. Haiti, for example, prefers adopting parents to be Christian or Jewish. You should research the country you are interested in adopting from to see if they have a particular religious preference. 
  • Criminal History Background, Abuse Background, & Mental Health History: Families are required to pass extensive background checks in order to adopt internationally. If you have a minor offense, it likely won’t be an issue if a significant amount of time has passed since your charge. Convictions for abuse or neglect against a child will disqualify you from being able to adopt.

Whenever you have to deal with state law, federal law, foreign law, and international law, there is a lot of red tape that you will have get through before you complete your adoption. If you are trying to adopt internationally, you should immediately consult with our attorneys. We can walk you through the application process to ensure that all forms and processes are properly completed.

Call (717) 775-7195, or contact our team of Pennsylvania adoption attorneys to discuss your case today. We are available 24 hours, 7 days a week.

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