this is all invasive, but
it is to benefit you as well as the child. The social worker must cover all of
these areas in order to write out an acceptable home study for a foreign
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Depending on how the social worker performs her home study you
may have to conduct your autobiographical information in person or by writing it
out. It is a good idea for you to ask ahead of time. Your home study agency will give you an outline to follow.
will cover just about every aspect of your life, and how you FEEL about a lot of
things. Write in your own style, but remember
why you are writing it people want to know what kind of parent you are going to
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When you receive the home study packet within it will have
the applications for the references. You choose who your references will come
from. You pick who is going to
say you are wonderful, and would make the greatest parent on Earth. Family
members are not included. Friends, neighbors, your boss, priest/pastor, former
teacher, all of these are acceptable resources. I must say that when
I did my home study most people jumped at the chance because they wanted to see
me with a child. Most people are truly
honored. Your social worker will contact them by phone or mail, and ask them
questions about you, mostly concerning their personal feelings about what sort
of parent they think you will be. They will be asked how long they have know
you, or know both of you as a couple. If married what kind of marriage do you
have? Most agency's will have the reference letters sealed to them so that
you are not aware of what is being said. So when all is said and done try
and get copies of those reference letters they will make you glad you are going
ahead with the adoption.
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You will have to get a physical. If you have any medical
conditions, these will need to be documented, and if you have a serious health
problem that will affect your life expectancy, this may be a problem. Ask your
social worker. Sometimes your home study agency will have a specific form they
will want the doctor to fill out.
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Steps for this procedure will vary depending on what state you live in.
Due to the new laws FBI fingerprinting will be done. You can get this
accomplished through the INS after submitting the I600 or I600-A form. Regardless, a criminal
background check is run on you to see if you have any criminal record or any
charge involving a child. Please, think back. It will show up, and you need to discuss it
ahead of time. You don't want to look like you are hiding anything. If you have
been charged and/or convicted of a violent crime, or a crime against a child, or
illegal substances, you are not in a very good position.
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Statement of Finances
For years I thought that
you had to be rich to adopt. You
don't have to be rich to adopt, you just have to demonstrate that you manage
your finances, whatever they may be, responsibly. You will be asked to provide
your W-2 form, or a copy of your income tax form from last year. You will be asked about your
savings, your rent or mortgage payment, charge accounts, and monthly
expenditures. You just basically need to show that adding a child to your
household is not going to cause a serious financial strain. Don't sweat
this, this is a piece of cake.
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Their are a number of documents needed in order to complete
an international adoption. These documents are referred to as your dossier.
The following are the basic documents that
you will need to provide. Once all documents are together, they will need to go
through an authentication process. Your agency will be able to provide an exact
list of what documents are necessary for the country you choose. In general, the
following documents are what you will need.
- Home Study.
Your social worker will interview you (3 times) and write out a 10 page document,
stating who you are, what you do, why she thinks you will make good parents.
Your social worker will get this notarized for you. Get 3 or more copies.
Certificates. You and your spouse (if applicable) must request certified
birth certificates from the state capital of your birth. If birth
certificates are not available, you may check with the agency to see if
valid passports will suffice in the pace of a notarized copy of a birth
Certificate/Divorce Certificate. If applicable. Request 3 or make copies
of the originals that you get and have them notarized. For a complete listing of Vital
Records offices for each state, you can search the Internet. This official certified Marriage
Certificate or Divorce Certificate, is considered
Statement. This is usually a one page typed list of your financial
holdings. This document is completely put together by you. It can also be a
form that the agency provides you to fill in the vital information that is
needed. You include your
assets, what your bank balances are, etc. You and your spouse sign this in
front of a notary.
Letter. This should be on your employer's letter head. Or from your
Human Resources Department. Sometimes copies of 2 or more paycheck
stubs will suffice. He/She should
simply state what your position is, how much you make, how long you have
been employed. If you are self-employed your accountant will need to write
this up on his stationary. If you don't have an accountant, find one who
will do it based on your W-2 form, or income tax return. This must be
notarized. Not content, but just signature. Get 2 or 3 copies.
- Medical Letters.
Your social worker doing your home study will want this also, so get 2
copies. You will need to have a basic physical. Your doctor will need to sign a letter on his stationary stating that you are in good health.
Sometimes a specific form must be completed by the physician. This must be
notarized. Get 2 or 3 copies.
- Police Reports.
You are going to need some sort of statement from the police saying you are
not a criminal. Some states require fingerprints, some do not. Your social
worker, doing your home study, needs this for your home study, and you need
a copy also. These must be notarized. Your social worker will help you with
- Approval Notice
from INS. You must apply with INS to bring a child into this country
that you have adopted. Call 1-800-870-3676 and request form
I 600-A . You can easily download the form from the INS website: http://www.ins.usdoj.gov/graphics/formsfee/forms/index.htm#chart
- The INS will send you a
appointed time to have a FBI fingerprinting of all individuals living
in the home once the application has been processed.
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My African Journey
Road to Adoption
Adoption Flow Chart
After the Adoption