Bring Your Child Home

Bring Your Child Home

What You Should Know

The legal adoption or guardianship process begins after you accept a referral for a specific child. In some countries, families are required to travel to the child’s country of origin to finalize the adoption in the foreign court. In others, guardianship of the child will be transferred to the prospective adoptive parents or to their agency, but they must finalize the adoption in U.S. courts to fulfill USCIS requirements. Talk to your agency or lawyer about what you must do.

Even if the trip is not required, experiencing your child’s country of origin firsthand can give you a deeper understanding of what his or her life was like before joining your family. Traveling with a group of other prospective adoptive parents can help you form supportive relationships with other adoptive families that can last for years. Families who have traveled to another country to complete an adoption have identified both advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages of Travel Disadvantages of Travel
Opportunity to experience the culture of your child’s birth country. Inconvenience of spending days or weeks away from home and work.
Opportunity to meet and begin developing an attachment with your child earlier. Additional costs, depending on the number of trips and length of stay.
Possibility to see and document with photos, videos, and mementos the place your child spent the first months or years of life and share this experience with your child later. If you take two trips, it may be possible to gather additional health and background information. Potential language barrier (although this presents the opportunity to learn some words in your child’s first language).
Possible feeling of greater involvement in the adoption process. Depending on the country, dangerous travel.
Feeling “different” in your child’s country. This could help you better understand your child’s experience of being different in the United States and in your family. Feeling “different” in your child’s country. Feeling out of place and uncertain of what is happening and how to behave could be seen as a disadvantage of travel for some.

Before you travel:

View current travel warnings from the U.S. Department of State.

View Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for vaccines and preparation for travel early in your adoption process to ensure you have time to complete any necessary series of immunizations.

Credits: Child Welfare Information Gateway