Adoption Process

  • Adoptions Process

This section provides an overview of the U.S. intercountry adoption process, which must comply with U.S. Federal law as well as the laws of a prospective adoptive parent’s state of residence and the prospective adoptive child’s country of origin. Adoption and immigration procedures will vary depending on whether or not the child’s country of origin is a signatory to the Hague Adoption Convention.

Over 100 nations, including the United States are party to the Hague Adoption Convention. The Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA) implemented the Convention in the United States.  An important requirement under the IAA is that any agency or person who wishes to provide services for an intercountry adoption in a Convention country must be accredited or approved to do so. In July 2014, the Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 extended many of the Convention’s safeguards to intercountry adoption cases from non-Convention countries as well.

Contacting an accredited or approved adoption service provider (ASP) to ask specific questions related to a prospective adoptive parent’s circumstances is generally a good place to start. Prospective adoptive parents may wish to review the information on our website and then follow up with an ASP with any additional questions you have.

Additional Resources

  • The Department of Health and Human Services’ Child Welfare Information Gateway website includes many resources for U.S. citizens and residents who wish to adopt. The publication Intercountry Adoption: What Do I Need To Know? is available for prospective adoptive parents just beginning the adoption process.

  • Accrediting entities are responsible for the accreditation, approval, monitoring, and oversight of ASPs. Accrediting entity Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity, Inc. (IAAME) maintains information on its website about Accredited/Approved Agencies/Persons and the countries in which they work. Please note: While the agency that conducts your home study must be licensed in your state of residence, the ASP you select to be your Primary Provider (often referred to as a “placing agency”) for an intercountry adoption does not.  If you do not locate an accredited ASP with a program that meets your needs or works in the country from which you wish to adopt, please see the information about Finding a Primary Provider on IAAME’s website.

  •  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) has jurisdiction over certain aspects of the intercountry adoption process, including determining that prospective adoptive parents are suitable and eligible to adopt, home studies, and the child’s immigration to the United States. ASPs generally guide prospective adoptive parents through the process of filing required forms and information with USCIS. 

Last Updated: December 10, 2020