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How do I start the adoption process?
Step 1: Submit a preliminary application
The typical first step in beginning an adoption process is to fill out a preliminary application. Due to differing country criteria, AGCI staff will review the application to determine whether a family is eligible for the program or programs they are interested in adopting from. Each country has its own set of eligibility requirements, so with a preliminary application our Inquiry staff can provide direction on the programs that would be the best fit for your family.
Step 2: Receive and complete a formal application
Prospective adoptive parents complete the formal application along with any supporting documents required and submit a $300 non-refundable application fee. Upon application approval, AGCI will send parents their program orientation packet.
Step 3: Complete orientation process
Enclosed in your adoption program orientation packet will be an adoption service agreement, a program orientation packet, and a specific service plan for your family. Your Inquiry Coordinator will schedule an orientation call to discuss the adoption services you will be receiving throughout your adoption journey. This call will cover the documents contained in the orientation packet as well as address any questions you may have before officially starting as an adoptive parent through our agency. Once you’ve completed and notarized all documents, you will mail the documents to AGCI with the required fees.
Step 4: Select a home study agency
AGCI is licensed to perform home studies in five states – Oregon, Washington, Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky. Adoptive parents who live outside these states will choose a home study agency from AGCI’s cooperating agency list. AGCI will provide the home study guidelines to the cooperating agency for both the sending country and AGCI.
Step 5: Receive the adoption planner
Upon receipt of the Adoption Service Agreement and the initial fees, AGCI will process all the signed and notarized documents and send you the adoption planner. This planner will include pre-adoption information along with instructions on how to begin your dossier (if applicable). Your Case Manager – your partner, support, and guide through your adoption journey – will be assigned to you at this time.
When considering adopting an older child (age 2 and up), which countries are best?
Bulgaria, China, Ethiopia, and the Oregon Waiting Child Program (Oregon residents only) are the best options for older child adoptions.
In adoption what does the term “special needs” mean?
“Special needs” almost always refers to two categories of children. First, there are older children, ranging anywhere from 2 to 13 years of age. Governments view these children as harder to place; therefore, although they are often healthy, these older children are categorized as special needs. Second, there are children with a range of physical differences. These include minor conditions such as birth marks and cleft lip (often corrected) and other conditions that are more serious. The timeline for special needs adoption is often faster than infant adoption. There are also many financial assistance programs available for families adopting children with special needs.
What types of financial assistance are available to adoptive families?
There are a wide variety of resources available to help fund your adoption, from grants and loans to tax credits and fundraising events. You can learn more on our Funding Your Adoption page.
What is the federal adoption tax credit?
The federal adoption tax credit is a benefit to families who are adopting. A family can file for this credit when their adoption is complete. Once granted, the credit can be applied to the tax amount owed by the family to the government. Specific questions on how families can benefit from this credit should be directed to a tax preparer or your certified public accountant.
Can we contact current or past AGCI families?
Yes! One of the best ways to learn about working with AGCI is to contact our families. The perspective that these families offer with regard to adoption and travel is very helpful to prospective families. Please contact an Inquiry Coordinator, who will provide the appropriate contact information.
What sets AGCI apart from other agencies?
AGCI has a strong dedication to communication with families and will partner with you throughout the entire process of the adoption. Although exciting, this process can also be difficult, and AGCI promises not to abandon you or leave you feeling that you are going through this alone. During the period of putting the dossier together, we will be in contact with you bi-weekly. We will also support you through the period of waiting for a referral and travel.
AGCI also realizes that, in this technology-driven world, it means so much to talk to a person. For this reason our first choice is to verbally communicate with families, with email as a second option. We also prefer verbal communication because it is the best way for our staff to get to know the families we work with.
As you inquire with our staff and the families who have worked with AGCI, it will be very apparent that our mission is firmly planted in our calling to help children find their forever families. We work hard toward this end and recognize that, although there will always be children to help, we can make a difference one life at a time. We love talking to families about our mission and work, so please contact us with questions.
What is the Hague Convention?
The Hague Convention is an international treaty that standardizes the way international adoptions are conducted throughout the world. The purpose of the Hague is to ensure that adoptions are conducted to the highest possible standards. AGCI was in the first group of agencies to be accredited and received our accreditation April 1, 2008.
What is a dossier?
The term “dossier” refers to the packet of documents prepared by the family and sent to the country from which the family is adopting. The gathering of these documents is an in-depth process and takes families an average of three to four months to complete. Although there is potential for this process to be overwhelming, AGCI is dedicated to making it as smooth as possible. Our staff make frequent contacts to ensure that our families feel well supported throughout the entire process.
Although the specific documents for the dossier vary from country to country, a few documents are included in every dossier. These include: a home study, medical information, financial information, criminal background checks, employment verification, pictures, and the I-600A/I-800A form issued by the National Benefits Center. The I-600A/I-800A, which is the last document put in the dossier, states that the family is approved by the U.S. to adopt and bring a child home.
Once completed, these documents will be notarized, certified, and mailed to AGCI for authentication, translation, and submission to the country.
What is CIS/NBC?
The Citizen and Immigration Services/National Benefits Center is an office under Homeland Security responsible for approving U.S. families to adopt. CIS/NBC approval must be obtained in order for a family’s adoption to be completed. The I-600A/I-800A form is the letter stating how long approval is good for, as well as what age, gender, and number of children the family is approved for.
To obtain approval, the family must send a completed home study, CIS/NBC fees, copies of birth and marriage certificates (divorce decree if applicable), and the I-600A/I-800A application. The CIS will then appoint an FBI fingerprint date. Once the family is fingerprinted, the entire file will be reviewed and the approval form sent. The entire process can take between two to three months, but our staff will be with you every step of the way to make sure it is as fast as possible.
What if my family lives outside of the states where AGCI has offices (Oregon, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Washington)?
Even if you do not live in one of these states, you can still adopt through AGCI. In fact, this is the situation with most AGCI families. You will work with a local home study agency, complete a home study, and send it to AGCI for review. The same social worker can also do the post-placement reports for your family. If you have any questions, please call our office. We are happy to send you a list of referrals for current and past families who live in your state.
Can non-U.S. or dual citizens adopt through AGCI?
Unfortunately, due to immigration laws, families need to have at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen to receive approval from CIS/NBC. U.S. citizens living in other countries are welcome to adopt through AGCI when they move back to the U.S.
What is the typical length of time to complete an adoption?
The timeline for adopting varies depending on the country of adoption. A typical time frame for an adoption is approximately a year and a half.
What is a home study?
A home study is a short biography written about your family by a licensed social worker in your home state. You will complete an assortment of documents for this process (i.e., health exams, criminal checks, income and employment verification, reference, and other documents). Your social worker will then conduct a series of visits with you. This process is designed to engage you in a thorough discussion of the joys and challenges of adoption. Once all the necessary information has been gathered, your social worker will write a 10 to 20 page report describing your family. Your home study will be included in your adoption dossier.
What is re-adoption?
This is the process needed for your state of residence to obtain a U.S. birth certificate and adoption decree for your child once they are home. AGCI requires that families who completed an adoption with our agency go through the re-adoption process for their child. It is important for your child to have these documents as they may become necessary in the future when they obtain a driver’s license, marriage certificate, participate in military service, travel overseas or go to school.