AGCI was approved and licensed to process adoptions with the Philippines in July 2012. We are privileged to launch this pilot program and honored to begin working to find permanent and loving homes for special needs and older children in the Philippines. This program will be very limited throughout the pilot period as we strive to better understand process and time frames.
Healthy children and children with special needs, ranging in age from 6-15 years old are available for adoption from the Philippines. Younger children (ages 2-6) with moderate to severe special needs are also available for adoption. Sibling groups are commonly available, but cannot be guaranteed. Families adopting from the Philippines are able to select the gender of child or children they wish to adopt.
Once you’ve contracted with AGCI, your first step is to complete your dossier and home study. AGCI staff will guide your family through the dossier process, while your home study provider will assist you in completing a home study.
Dossier Submission and Approval in ICAB: 2-4 Months
Once your dossier is complete it is sent to AGCI’s office in Portland, OR for review, translation, and authentication. As soon as all the important preparation steps have taken place, AGCI will submit your dossier to the Philippines’ Central Authority, Inter-Country Adoption Board (ICAB) for approval.
Waiting for Placement: 9 to 24 months
Once you have a completed and approved home study, your family will be eligible to review basic information on available waiting children who meet your parameters. The time-frame to be matched with a waiting child will vary, depending on the available children within your parameters. The average wait time to be referred a child through ICAB is 2 years. Alternatively, families need to submit both their home study and dossier if they prefer to receive their referral directly from ICAB.
The ICAB registry of available waiting children is shared with all licensed adoption agencies approved to work in the Philippines. Until a child is successfully placed on hold by ICAB for a specific agency and family, that child will remain available to any licensed agency for placement.
Matching Process: 2 weeks to 3 months
When families identify a child that meets their approved parameters, AGCI will request that ICAB place a hold on that particular waiting child. The hold will last for approximately 2 weeks. During that time AGCI can request further information on the child (including a full medical and social history), to assist your family in making an informed decision about accepting the referral. Should you choose to accept the referral of that child, ICAB will grant your family 3 months to complete the remaining dossier paperwork and USCIS Immigration approval.
If (after reviewing the child’s referral information) your family chooses not to accept the referral, AGCI will allow the 2 week hold to expire. The child’s information will go back on the ICAB registry of available children in the hope that they will be placed with another family.
Adoption Process: 3 to 4 months
Once ICAB receives your completed dossier for a specific child, the case will be reviewed by ICAB’s Board. Final approval for the placement of the child with your family is decided by the Board. Upon receiving approval, you will file legal documents along with your I-800 application to the U.S. National Benefits Center (NBC). Once NBC approves your I-800, they will forward the approval to the National Visa Center, who in turn forwards the approval to the U.S. Consulate in Manila, Philippines. After the consulate has received the approval, they will request that your child’s visa medical appointment and interview dates be scheduled. 4-5 days after the visa interview is complete, your child’s visa will be granted and your family will be invited to travel to the Philippines.
Travel Process: 5 to 7 days
The purpose of the trip is to spend some time getting to know your child and their birth country before bringing them home. It may also be possible for you to visit the orphanage or foster care home where your child was being cared for before the completion of the adoption. During the trip, you will also go to ICAB to receive your child’s passport and visa. You will not need to participate in any adoption specific proceedings while in country since the adoption process will essentially have been completed by the time you travel to the Philippines.
Post Adoption and Finalization of the Adoption in the U.S.
Once your child is home, AGCI and the Philippines require post-adoption visits and reports (at the 2, 4, 6 and 12 month anniversaries of your child’s homecoming). During this time ICAB has granted your family legal guardianship of the child, but the adoption will not be final until the 6 month post adoption report is received and approved by ICAB. At that time, ICAB will issue the “affidavit of Consent to Adoption” which will be the final document required to complete re-adoption in the U.S.
Parent’s Ages: Both adoptive parents need to be at least 27 years old at the time of application. Parents must also be at least 16 years older than the child they wish to adopt. There can be no more than 45 years age difference between the primary caregiver and the child.
Marriage Status: Couples married at least 3 years (with no more than one divorce per spouse) are welcome to adopt from the Philippines. Single women are eligible to adopt older children (ages 9-15) with moderate to severe special needs.
Children in Family: Families with no more than 4 children already in the home are welcome to adopt from the Philippines. Families must wait a full year after a child comes into their home to apply for adoption with the Philippines.
Income: Families must have a positive net worth and an income of a t least $10,000 per family member, including the adopted child.
Criminal History: Families with no criminal history are welcome to adopt from the Philippines.
Medical History: Families with no history of mental health issues, substance abuse, and counseling are welcome to adopt from the Philippines. Both parents must have a BMI of 35 or less.
Other Requirements: As a part of the adoption process, ICAB requires adoptive families to submit a letter of recommendation from a Christian church or organization. The letter must verify that the adoptive family has participated actively with the organization for at least the past 5 years.
Actual costs vary due to a variety of issues, including exchange rates and number of people traveling. The following breakdowns provide a typical range of expenses, with an overview of what is included in each category.
Application Fee: $300
Initial assessment of your family’s information to assure that all country requirements can be met to complete an adoption in your chosen program.
Home Study Services: $2,200
This is the education process where a licensed social worker will partner with your family to help prepare you for the challenges ahead as an adoptive parent. The social worker will also be learning about your family in order to prepare a document for inclusion in the dossier that explains to the courts how you will provide a stable environment and loving family for your child.
AGCI Adoption Services: $6,000
Provides staff and services from AGCI throughout the adoption process and for years to come through the post-adoption phase. Unlike many agencies, we always welcome your call.
USCIS and Related Fees: $805-$890
Filing fees and related costs to file your documents with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service.
International Fees: $4,000
Your dossier is a detailed collection of documents about your family. Many of these have to be notarized, certified, and authenticated. Upon completion of your dossier, we translate it and facilitate your adoption case in-country through our foreign service providers, the government agencies, and the courts.
Orphan Care Fees: $1,500
Supports ongoing orphan care.
Travel Costs: $8,000-$12,000
One trip is required to the Philippines. Typical costs include airfare, transportation, food, lodging, a travel coordinator, and an immigrant visa for your child.
Post-Adoption Services: $3,800-$4,500
These fees provide for the creation, administration, and translation of your post-adoption reports. Other post-adoption expenses include your re-adoption fee and ongoing medical insurance.
Families are eligible for the federal government Adoption Child Tax Credit in the year adoption is finalized. The 2011 credit is $13,170 for most adoptive families.