Here in our headquarters in Evansville, Indiana, we have a staff of approximately 10. We also have satellite offices in Kentucky and Ohio.
Our agency has placed more than 4,000 children. Although we do not like to focus on numbers and statistics, we realize this is an important question that prospective families may have. We are privileged to complete over 300 adoptions each year.
Although some families experience delays in their process, additional paperwork, and other hurdles usually out of their control, all the families who have decided to continue through to completion have done so.
Our federal government requires that U.S. citizens, if single, must be at least 24 years of age at the time of filing their I-600A Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition or I-800A Application to Determine Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, and be at least 25 at the time the adoption is finalized. Our federal government does not place a minimum required age on married couples.
Individual adoptive countries generally also have their own requirements and restrictions regarding the age range of parents that are eligible to adopt. For age requirements related to the adoptive countries, please see our country-specific FAQ lists.
The U.S. federal government requires families to meet certain financial criteria. The adopting family must meet 125% of the federal poverty guidelines with limited exceptions. See the Current Poverty Guidelines to determine the minimum income requirement for your household size. If a family cannot meet the 125% criteria, there is an exception if the family has substantial assets.
Another federal government requirement is FBI biometrics, which includes fingerprinting and a photo.
Our agency has no specific criteria other than those imposed by the foreign country, our federal government, and your home study agency.
Because your home study report which will be completed by your home study agency is part of your dossier, we will be reviewing it. However, this review process is part of our service to our families, and no additional fees are directly associated with this service.
Typically a domestic home study cannot be used for international adoptions. Please contact FTIA and let us know what agency prepared your home study. The Hague Convention (Hague) requires that FTIA has a signed agreement with the agency that completes your home study. FTIA can verify: 1) the agency you selected has an agreement with FTIA; 2) if the agency does not have an agreement with FTIA, we will contact the agency to see if they are willing to sign the required agreement; 3) if the agency is not willing to sign the required agreement, FTIA can help identify another agency for your home study.
We would suggest that you consider the confidentiality / objectivity issues. Your home study report will contain details of your medical, financial, and criminal backgrounds. In addition, if the social worker is not affiliated with a state-licensed not-for-profit agency experienced in international adoption home studies, it is very unlikely that this would be an option, as most countries require this affiliation. FTIA prefers that adopting parent(s) do not work with independent social workers who are not affiliated with an agency.
Yes, you might be able to use frequent flyer miles for your travel from the U.S. to your child's birth country. However, there are several things to consider:
Thousands of children are adopted by U.S. citizens each year from many countries around the world. Families adopt for different reasons, some because of infertility, some because of the inability to adopt domestically, and others because they want to add a family member and they have the room, love, and finances to do so. There are parenting issues when you raise any child, but additional issues are presented with cross-cultural adoption. The home study agency that completes your home study will address these parenting issues, including cross-cultural issues, and so will FTIA. Additionally, there are hundreds of support groups of adoptive families around the country that provide wonderful guidance, encouragement, and education in these parent-preparation areas. There is no special calling for a parent to adopt internationally. If you have the desire to parent, room in your heart and home, and the time to spend raising a child, we want to encourage you to consider international adoption.
In every country in which we are working there are more children in need of homes than there are parents who are able to adopt them. However, in each country, the adoption procedure works differently, and because of this, one of the countries may be a better fit for you. For example, the adoption procedure may be much more predictable in one country than another; however, the referral of a child may come much later in the process. In some countries a referral comes very early in the process, but adoptive parents cannot travel until many months after the referral. Some countries allow children to be in foster care, while other countries require the children to remain in orphanages. Some trips are as short as three to four days, while other countries require the adoptive parents to be gone as long as two to three weeks. Any or all of the factors may play a part in your decision to choose a country, but again, in every country there are many, many children who are desperately in need of a loving family. You really can´t make a wrong decision!
A referral is the information that FTIA receives from your child's country of birth on a specific child who has been identified for your adoption. While the exact referral process and quantity of information is different for every country there are many similarities.
FTIA will receive information on a specific child from the sending country. All of the information we receive at FTIA is translated and the complete information, pictures, and other documents are sent to you. FTIA recommends that all adopting parents, upon receipt of their referral packet, review the information with a medical doctor experienced in the field of international adoptions. If you or your doctor request additional information, FTIA will try to obtain all of the requested information. The ability to obtain additional information depends largely on the child’s country of origin. You will always be given a reasonable time (2 weeks for Hague convention countries) to decide if you want to accept the referral. You may also receive additional time to make a decision if you are waiting for additional requested information from FTIA.
If you decide to accept the referral, you will sign the acceptance paperwork you received with the referral packet and return it to FTIA. In the event that you decide to decline the referral, all information sent to you regarding the child must be returned to FTIA. The ability to receive another referral and the timing involved varies greatly from country to country but FTIA will work with officials of the sending country on your behalf.
If you are single, you must travel abroad to adopt from most countries. Some foreign governments will permit only one parent of a married couple to travel abroad for the adoption, if requested by the couple. We strongly recommend that both husband and wife travel, because we encourage couples to share this wonderful adoption experience together. Also, if only one parent of a married couple travels abroad, there may be additional state pre-adoption requirements (e.g., Pennsylvania) that must be met prior to traveling abroad, or there may be additional steps required to be completed while the one traveling parent is in the foreign country. Please consult with your home study agency.
Yes and no. Adopting siblings or twins is a way to adopt more than one child at a time. As you can imagine, twins are quite rare. FTIA policy does not generally allow the placement of two or more unrelated children into a home at the same time, with some exceptions. If you are interested in adopting two or more unrelated children at one time, please call or email us.
To be eligible to adopt siblings or twins, your home study must include a specific approval and the CIS must also approve you for more than one child. When adopting more than one child there will be additional agency fees, international fees, and Citizenship & Immigration Service fees involved.
None of our families are ever "alone." For China, our families typically travel in a group. From the time you arrive in China until you board an airplane to return home, you are escorted by one of our China Coordinators who is a Chinese national and fluent in English. Our coordinators travel with you in China and even stay in the same hotel. For our other countries, you travel one or two families at a time, but you will have the same comfort of always being accompanied by our representatives who live in each of these countries and are fluent in English. For India, most couples are of Indian heritage and choose to make thier own travel arrangements, but we do have representatives who can assist.
If you are single, or if married and both spouses travel abroad to adopt, your adoption is final when you complete the adoption in the foreign country, if you physically see your child prior to the adoption finalization. Even though the adoption is finalized overseas, we strongly recommend that you "register" your adoption through your local courts upon your return. In Indiana and many other states, there is a simple procedure to register your foreign adoption and this will legally change your child's name and it will cause a birth certificate to be placed in your state's Bureau of Vital Statistics. In some states there is no simplified procedure, and in these states you must adopt (or re-adopt) your child according to your state's domestic adoption law.
If you are married and only one spouse travels abroad for the adoption, or if you are married or single and do not see your child prior to the international adoption procedure, you are required to register, adopt, or re-adopt depending on your state's laws before your child is a U.S. citizen.
If your child is brought to the U.S. through a guardianship, you must adopt the child according to your state's domestic adoption laws.
Moving or changing jobs during the adoption process does not mean you have to start over. Depending on when you move during the process and whether the move includes a change of job, there will probably be a couple of additional documents that will have to be redone because of the change of address and/or change of job.
After you return, you will want to review our "Welcome Home Guide" (available to FTIA families on the MyFTIA website) which contains information to assist you in obtaining a Certificate of Citizenship for your child(ren), securing a social security number, recommended medical evaluations, support groups, and other helpful information.