Yes, for an adoption you must deal with Homeland Security! Its actually the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) section but they will be a thorn on your side believe you me. To adopt internationally you must complete an application through this government agency so they can deem you suitable to adopt a child from a foreign country. So after doing hours of web based classes, getting a homestudy completed through a social worker, acquiring clearances from EVERY place you have lived in since…you exited the WOMB. Homeland security feels that their 2 page form and your 3rd round of fingerprints will somehow be the one that catches you as an unsuitable family. End of rant!
The form you must fill out is called the I-800a form; Application for determination of suitability to adopt a child from a convention country. This form must be sent in with a hefty payment of a little under $1000, it should also include your completed homestudy approved by your placement agency (the agency working with said country). The minute you receive all the documents needed, fill out the I-800a form, it takes between 2 to 6 months between the time you get your fingerprint appointment until they approve you. That time span is depending on how busy they are and how many forms they have gotten.
We submitted the form early august and we received our fingerprint appointment 2 weeks after. We just received our response and they did not approve it due to insufficient information required about the convention country. We were NOT denied but they need us to amend the homestudy to show what the country requires and what we, as a family, are doing to meet said requirements towards an adoption. I contacted my homestudy agency and they are making the changes. According to USCIS we have 45 days to submit the amendments. Its bumps on the road like these that delay our timeframe and make us anxious.
In conclusion, my advice to everyone adopting internationally is know your timeline and know the expiration of all your submitted information, this way you don’t have to redo any testing, physicals or notarized documents. Fingers crossed it will be smooth sailing from here on.
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet” ~Jean-Jacques Rousseau