Tuesday, March 6, 2007
China Adoption: The Basic Process & Paperwork
There are many steps to the adoption process that I am going through. Some steps weren't required a few years ago and others were. I will outline the process I am currently subject to, which has already begun changing for those coming after me.
The simplest outline is as follows:
· Finding an Agency
· The Paperwork (Dossier)
· Dossier Logged-in in China
· Matched to a Child (Referral)
· Travel to Adopt Child
Finding an Agency:
I was fortunate that events lead me to my first choice agency. I could have chosen any agency licensed in California whether or not the agency actually was in California. As mentioned in my previous post, singles can only comprise 8% of any agency's China adoptions. There are frequently waiting lists and/or lotteries for spaces. Once the agency is chosen, once must apply to it and there is a fee for that.
The paperwork is tremendous and consists of two main parts, the homestudy and everything else.
Here is the list given to me by my agency just to start:
· Heartsent Adoptions, Inc. application
· Application Requirements
· Adoption Questionaire
· Tax Returns (past 3 yrs)
· I-600 (application for a US citizen to adopt a foreign child)
· LiveScan Finger Prints for child abuse check
· LiveScan Finger Prints for criminal check (uses same prints
· Birth Certificate (3 CERTIFIED copies)
· Photo copy of birth certificate
· Photo copy of Passport
· Medical Letter (exam, CBC & TB test, 3 copies signed
and notarized by the examining doctor)
· Employment Letter (requires 4 copies, 3 notarized & signed by
· Financial Statement (4 pg. form, notarized)
· Financial Statement (1 pg. form, notarized)
· Reference Letters (from 2 different non-related people, both
· Guardianship Information Form (short form)
· Guardianship Information Form (long form)
· Bank Deposit Varification
· Insurance Verication for Child and Self
· I-134 Affidavit of support
· Certification of Identitiy
Add for China:
· CIS fingerprints
· Application for Adoption Letter (2 notarized copies)
· State of Single Status (2 notarized copies)
· Statement that I'm heterosexual
· Passport Photo Page Copy
· Passport Photos
· Police Clearance Letter (2 notarized copies)
· CIS I-171-H (Approval notice)(2 notarized copies)
The Homestudy is done by a licensed social worker who meets with the adoptive parent(s) a specified number of times and at least one meeting takes place in home. In my case, I had three visits. The first visit was to get acquainted and discuss my reasons for wanting to adopt. The second visit focused on my family history from birth, who my parents were and my relationship to them, siblings, friends, etc... A manadatory question is asked at this time, something to the affect of, "Have you ever been physically or sexually abused or involved in domestic violence?" If the answer is yes then one must provide a written statement describing the abuse, how it was handled and how it affected or affects one's life. The final visit involves discussion of one's parenting ideas and practices. The home visit involved checking for a knowledge of child safety, indoor plumbing and electricity, not how much dust is on the shelves or how many material things are in the home or anything like that.
Also, as part of the homestudy, live-scan fingerprinting, a criminal background check and child abuse background check are required.
I believe that most of the domestic documents are to become part of the homestudy, including the three years worth of tax returns. In the case of international adoption, the homestudy is sent to CIS (Office of Homeland Security, Citizenship and Immigration) as part of the supporting documents to the application to bring a foreign orphan into the United States.
All the paperwork put together is called the dossier. Most of the documents in it must be sent to the Secretary of State of the state they came from so they can be certified. Then they are sent to the Chinese embassy for that state or area and are authenticated. After this, the entire dossier is sent to the China Center of Adoptions Affairs in Beijing, China, where it is logged-in on their computer.
Matched to a Child:
After the dossier is logged-in, it goes through the review of the Chinese officials and eventually ends up in the matching room where the child is chosen. This is called the Referral.
Travel to Adopt Child:
After the referral is accepted by the family, and the family gets the embassy appointment in China at the U.S. embassy, and a couple other things occur, Travel Approval is issued and the parent(s) go to China for about two weeks and pick up their child.