Exploring International Adoption

Image of a family with their adopted daughter.

Adoption can be a wonderful way to start, or grow, your family. When it comes to adoption, there are many paths to welcoming your child. In an international adoption, a citizen of one country adopts a child who is a citizen of another. Agencies that specialize in international adoptions can help you navigate this complex, yet popular, option.

Grasping the guidelines


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Each country has its own adoption guidelines. There are a few things you should know before you begin your journey:

When choosing an international adoption, military families will want to remember that you need to meet the specific requirements of the state where you live. If your permanent change of station orders move you to a different state during the adoption process, you will need to comply with your new state's requirements.

In the United States, there are two distinct paths for international adoption: the Hague Convention process and the non-Hague Convention process. Here is what you should know about these options.

Hague Convention process


the U.S. Department of State website for a list of countries that participate in the Hague Convention adoption process.

The convention process governs adoptions between participating countries. You'll want to know that:

  • Only accredited or approved agencies can be used for adoption services.
  • The adoption agency must provide a written and itemized list of all expenses and fees.
  • Both birth parents can be living. A determination will be made if the birth parents are unable to care for the child.
  • You will participate in a minimum of 10 hours of training before travelling overseas.
  • You will apply for the child's visa before the adoption is finalized, so you know in advance if the child is eligible to enter the U.S.

Non-Hague Convention process

Non-convention adoptions are not regulated by a common entity. Some key differences that set this process apart from a convention adoption include:

  • There is no requirement for agencies to be approved or accredited.
  • Agencies are not required to disclose fees and expenses.
  • The child must be an orphan as defined by the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act.
  • There is no requirement for parent training before adopting.
  • You apply for the child's visa after the adoption is complete.

There are other adoption paths available to you as well. Explore more, and find the right option for your family by reading Military OneSource's other articles about independent, agency, identified and open adoptions.


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