The Adoption Process
Waiting is one of the hardest parts of the international adoption process. The time it takes to adopt a child and bring him or her home depends on how quickly the paperwork in completed and the USCIS clearance is received. Also, the child referral period depends on which country you choose to adopt from as well as the age of the child. Eighteen to twenty-four months to one year is an appropriate time to plan on for most adoptions.
Once you have a child referral, you will travel as soon as your dossier is approved and you have an invitation to travel from the foreign government. After you arrive, you will sign the paperwork and meet with adoption officials to complete the adoption process. Some countries require that you travel twice. USCIS insists you meet the child before the adoption is finalized. Some countries require both parents to travel, others only require one parent to travel. Some countries will allow the child to be escorted home, while other countries require parents to travel to bring their children home. USCIS requires that one parent see the child personally before the adoption is finalized and considered legal in the United States.
If both parents do not see the child in the foreign country the child must be re-adopted in your state of residence upon return to the U.S. In any event, WIA strongly encourages all parents to re-adopt the child in their state of residence once they return home.