1. Pick Your Agency and Country
When you begin the international adoption process, we recommend that start by selecting your country and agency first. It has been interesting to us to listen to our adoptive parents stories in how they decided on those things.
In a recent survey we did with our existing adoptive parents, the data showed that about 64% of our parents decided on Poland adoption first and then on an agency.
Choosing the country first can be important because different countries have different requirements, such as age requirements, length of marriage requirements, length of visits, etc. Therefore, selecting a country that is feasible for your family makes sense.
The remaining 36% who chose an agency first also makes sense because finding the adoption professionals to guide you through this process is very important as well. My advice to all adoptive parents is, no matter what agency you select, let them help you from the very beginning until the very end. Therefore, to some degree the decision between adoption agency and country are blended.
2. Complete Your Home Study
The second step of the international adoption process is to begin the paperwork. The home study is done by a licensed agency who has the social workers with the necessary qualifications and experience to conduct this service. The home study has several roles. Perhaps one of the most important ones of them all is to determine your eligibility as adoptive parents. Upon favorable findings, the social worker will recommend you as adoptive parents, as will the adoption agency and you will submit this document (with our help) to the offices of USCIS. Upon favorable findings there, they will issue their approval of you as eligible candidates for adoptive parents.
3. Put Together Your Adoption Dossier
Amongst adoption professionals, the term “dossier” has become what is commonly used to refer to the documents which will be submitted on your behalf before the officials from the foreign country. Poland is a Hague Country and so is the US. In order for a document to be recognized in such a country (Hague), the document needs to have the necessary authentication, called an apostille.
Our agency has been helping its adoptive parents put these “dossiers” together for over 15 years and we know it is a lot of paperwork, so we do what we can to help our parents get through it.
4. Submit Your Adoption Dossier
When you’re done with the home study and the you’ve put together your adoption dossier, it is time to let all the paperwork do its job. You’ll give it to your agency, and they'll submit it with the appropriate authorities so the wait for a match can begin.
Wait times are difficult to predict. Time is variable on the children who are available for adoption at any particular time frame, the commission's perception, and your own openess and willingness.
5. Accept your referral
By far, one of our most favorite things to do is call our adoptive families and tell them that Poland has a child in mind for them.
We will call you and let you know what we know. When you say that you want to consider the child's full info, we'll forward you pictures and social and medical information as it is provided to us. Then you'll have 14 days to decide whether you'd like to go forward with the adoption of that particular child. We hope that our parents will pray as a part of the decision and we also encourage them to consult with a medical professional.
6. Travel to Meet Your Child
Once, you’ve decided it’s a “yes” and that you’re going to proceed with the adoption of your child, we will set up the needed arrangements for you to travel. Traveling, after accepting your child, usually happens within a month.
When you go to Poland, you’ll be in good hands. Everything will be arranged for you. Someone will pick you up from the airport and take you to where you’ll be staying. They’ll take you to the official meetings you’ll go to and then to meet your child(ren). You’ll visit your child(ren) for a few days in a roll, spending a little more time each day.
7. In Between Trips
We understand that the time in between is a very difficult and emotional time for our parents. At this point in the adoption process, the parents are in love with their child and want nothing else but to tgo back. We'll do everything that is within our ability to expedite this waiting time because we know that each week may seem like a decade to our parents.
We encourage our adoptive parents to stay busy during that time. Perhaps paint and/or decorate your child's room. Buy clothes and accessories that you'll need. Read some good adoption books and/or parenthood books.
8. Post Adoption
After you come back home, you’ll do three Post Adoption Reports. They will be at:
- 2 weeks after arrival home;
- 3 months after arrival home;
- 1 year after arrival home.
After the third report, at around 1 year since coming home, you would be done with the legal requirements that we have to fulfill. However, our agency will remain a resource to you for life. You’ll be able to chat to our social workers to get advice on whichever topics may be important to you. They can also recommend and point you to many additional adoption related sources of information.
Different countries will have different post adoption requirements, some may be longer than one year.