Tuesday, March 19, 2019



After careful consideration, you've decided to adopt. The  next  decisions  are crucial to your process. Are  you  adopting domestically or internationally? How does the age, race, current health,  prenatal   exposures  or  early  life  experience  of  a  child  enter  into  your  thinking process?  How  much  background information on a child's medical and familial history must you have to feel  comfortable  moving  forward?  Who can I trust to give me the information I need and guide me through the entire process?

You will need to work with a licensed adoption agency or attorney for specific steps of the process. You will work with a social worker for your homestudy and post placement visits. You may enlarge your team to include a medical doctor, outreach consultant and other professionals, as well as join an adoptive parent support group. How to decide who you will need?

For INTERNATIONAL ADOPTIONS, the steps must be completed in a very specific order. You start by identifying a Hague accredited agency (Adoption Service Provider = ASP) with a program in the country from which you want to adopt. You will then complete your homestudy and start the dossier to go overseas. During the homestudy, you will develop a relationship with your social worker. They should be available to you throughout the process for emotional support and possible referral to local services and resources. The ASP will lead you through all the steps of the dossier, including what papers to collect, how to process them and ultimately submitting it oversees.  

You should add a medical doctor to your team, who is knowledgeable in international adoption, to review any medical information you are provided on a child. The ASP is the conduit to the adoption entity overseas who will identify a child for you, help arrange your travel itinerary and link you to in country services and appointments, including court and embassy appointments to obtain your child's visa to come home. Once back home you will meet with your social worker to complete post placement/post adoption visits which report back to the country how your child and you are adjusting. If you did not finalize overseas, the reports will also be used to recommend to your local court the finalization of the adoption. The relationships you developed with a local support group will continue to provide support and information. If you have not yet joined a group, this is a time to connect and create relationships, providing your child with a peer group of families like yours.

You need to confirm with the ASP – How long have they worked in a particular country? How many children come home in a year? How many children have come home recently? How many children were the type you were looking for? How long is the typical wait for a referral? Until you travel to meet your child? Until you can bring them back to the Untied States? Until the adoption is finalized and where will it finalize? If the country program closes, do they have other options and what is the process to switch countries?

Deciding who you will work with is a critical step in your adoption procecss. You must have trust in their abilities, understanding of your wishes and advocating for you when necessary. Research your options, select carefully and may you have a smooth adoption process.


Kathy Ann Brodsky, LCSW is a New York and New Jersey licensed social worker, adoptive mom and advocate for ethical adoption practice. Through her private practice and agency affiliations, she has prepared  thousands of adoption  homestudies, counseled  expectant, birth, pre/post adoptive parents and  adopted  persons, as  well  as trained  professionals  to  work  with  adoptive  families. She  was Director of the  Ametz  Adoption  Program of  JCCA and a member of the Advisory Board for POV’s Adoption  Series and the  Adoption  Advisory  Board  of  Path2Parenthood, She is currently a  Adoption   Professional   Advisory  Council  of  HelpUSAdopt , a member of the Advisory Board of the Family Equality Council and  active  in  the  Adoptive Parents Committee in  New  York.  Her  blogs  and  written contributions can be seen throughout the Internet, including  her  BLOG  and  as  Head  Writer  for  ADOPTION.NET   She  was  named  an  “Angel in Adoption” by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption in 2001. You can reach her directly EMAIL