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Frequently Asked Questions - Waiting Children

The following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) specifically apply to the Waiting Children program. The children on our Waiting Children list have some special needs, with most cases involving medical special needs.

For general information on non-Waiting Children (non-special needs) adoptions from our country programs, please see the FAQ lists for each particular country (i.e. for Guatemala FAQs, see Frequently Asked Questions – Guatemala).

Who is eligible to adopt?
How much does it cost?
How long does the process take?
How does the Waiting Children process compare to a non-Waiting Child adoption?
How soon after completing a previous adoption can I identify and commit to a Waiting Child?
What ages are the Waiting Children and what are their needs?
If I apply with the Waiting Children program, will I be "assigned" a child?
What is needed to review a Waiting Child's information?
Are the new China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) guidelines any different for the Waiting Children Program than for the traditional China Program?
What paperwork is needed to commit to a Waiting Child?
Can families who have submitted a dossier to adopt, but have not yet received a referral of a non-Waiting Child switch to adopt a Waiting Child?
What medical information will I receive?
Does the medical information need to be reviewed by a physician?
How often does FTIA receive Waiting Children lists?
Where do the children live?
Do I have to travel?
How long is the trip to adopt a Waiting Child?
Where will I stay in the country?
Will I be traveling with other Waiting children families?
Who will assist me while I am in the country?
Who will make the travel arrangements?
Who can I talk to if I have questions throughout the process?


Who is eligible to adopt?

For Waiting Children from China:
Married couples are eligible; the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) has determined that singles will no longer be approved for adoption from China. Adopting parents must be at least 30 at the time of submission of their dossier. Both adopting parents must be under 55. There is no limit as to the number of children in the home. Please see Legal Requirements to Adopt from China for additional adoption requirements.

For Waiting Children from Guatemala, India, or Vietnam:
Adopting parent’s eligibility for a Waiting Child is the same as for a non-Waiting Child. Please see the FAQs for the country for more information.

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How much does it cost?

For Waiting Children from China, the fee is broken down as follows:

All other costs (travel, etc.) are the same as the non-special needs China Program.

For Waiting Children from Guatemala, India, or Vietnam:
The total agency fee is $4000. Other fees may be reduced as well.

For all other Adoption costs, please refer to the costs page on our website for the individual country program you are interested in.

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How long does the process take?

For Waiting Children from China, the process is expedited when compared to the non-Waiting Children China program.

Once you identify and then commit to a child by completing a Letter of Intent, it is then anywhere from 2-10 weeks until pre-approval.

After submission of your dossier and receipt of pre-approval, it is anywhere from 2-4 months until receipt of your Letter of Acceptance (Letter Seeking Confirmation of Adopter). Once the Acceptance Letter has been signed by you and received back in China, your Final Travel Approval can be expected in 4-5 weeks.

Travel is usually 3-5 weeks after Final Travel Approval.

For Waiting Children from Guatemala, India, or Vietnam, the timeframes for adopting a Waiting Child are typically the same as adoptions of non-Waiting Children. For India, paperwork may be passed through CARA a bit quicker for Waiting Children, however due to the unique nature of India adoptions, delays in the process could occur despite passing through CARA more quickly. Please see the FAQs for the country for current timeframes.

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How does the Waiting Children process compare to a non-Waiting Child adoption?

For Waiting Children from China:
We have traditionally received information from the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) assigned only to FTIA 3-4 times each year; the number of children and their needs varies from list to list.

We also receive lists of shared children (meaning other agencies receive the same list) a few times each month. The shared list is more time sensitive since a particular child’s file may be claimed by another agency and become unavailable very quickly.

The frequency and number of shared files received could alter the frequency of files received that are assigned only to FTIA.

With the Waiting Children from China Program, you will identify a child up front from the current Waiting Children List, commit to that child and then prepare and submit your dossier. With the non-special needs China Program, you will prepare and submit your dossier, then can identify and commit to a child. These families would then be officially switched to the Waiting Children Program when they commit to a child.

If you have previously adopted from China, the CCAA requires that one year pass before submitting a subsequent dossier for the traditional China program, however if you are adopting a child from the Waiting Children Program, once you have received a pre-approval from the CCAA, you can submit another dossier.

When adopting a Waiting Child from Guatemala, India, or Vietnam, the adoption process will follow the same sequence of steps as adopting a non-Waiting Child. Please see the FAQs for the country for the adoption process.

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How soon after completing a previous adoption can I identify and commit to a Waiting Child?

Per FTIA policy if a family has previously adopted, they can begin the adoption process again after the previously adopted child has been in the home 6 months.

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What ages are the Waiting Children and what are their needs?

The Waiting Children can range in age from 7 months to 14 years. Their medical needs range from minor, correctible needs such as congenital heart defect, minor nerve damage, a hemangioma and other needs such as cleft lip and palate, albinism and missing digits. Some children have more challenging needs such as spina bifida and hearing and/or vision loss. Occasionally, children may be on a Waiting Children list due to their age. Older children are often times more difficult to place and they will be added to the Waiting Children list to help them find families.

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If I apply with the Waiting Children Program, will I be "assigned" a child?

With the Waiting Children Program, you will have an opportunity to fill out a special needs checklist, stating what needs you will consider. You may be contacted about children that match the ages, gender and needs you list; however, you will have the opportunity to review that child’s information or request to review any available child’s information, consult with a physician, and make a decision as to whether that child will fit with your family or not.

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What is needed to review a Waiting Child's information?

In order to review a Waiting Child assigned only to FTIA, a family must present:

  1. an FTIA Application for Adoption & Adoption Services Agreement + the $200 fee
  2. a home study draft or a home study completed within the last three years
  3. a statement from their social worker that he/she expects to approve them for adoption again
  4. a completed special needs checklist (available from Maury; if you are an FTIA family, it can also be located through MyFTIA at Country Specific Critical Documents).
  5. For children on the shared list, you must have a completed, current home study and alsohave a complete or nearly complete dossier for China.

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Are the new China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) guidelines any different for the China Waiting Children Program than for the traditional China Program?

Again, please go to the Legal Requirements to Adopt from China page to read the complete guidelines. The maximum age to adopt from China is higher for the Waiting Children Program than for the traditional China Program. Adopting Parents must be under 55 years old to adopt through the Waiting Children Program. Also, there is no limit on the number of children in the home.

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What is the paperwork needed to commit to a Waiting Child? ** This question refers to paperwork needed when applying to FTIA to adopt a Waiting Child prior to submitting a dossier to the specific country for adoption.

For Waiting Children from China:
If you have already submitted your dossier to adopt a non-Waiting Child, please see the following question Can families who have submitted a dossier to adopt, but have not yet received a referral of a non-Waiting Child, switch to adopt a Waiting Child below.

After a family reviews a child’s information, consults with physicians and decides to commit to that child, a family needs to present:

For Waiting Children from India:
For India, if a doctor reviews the child’s information and makes a recommendation for the child, the doctor will need to prepare a letter stating the recommendation and that letter will need to be included in the dossier sent to India. Each orphanage will determine if extra paperwork is needed and this will be handled on a case by case basis. The dossier will need to be made more specific for the adoption of a Waiting Child. All documents will need to be prepared with the child’s name and date of birth on them. For a list of paperwork typically included in an India dossier, please see the FAQs for India.

For Waiting Children from Guatemala or Vietnam:
Paperwork will be the same for an adoption of a Waiting Child as for an adoption of a non-Waiting Child. Please see the FAQs for the country for the specific paperwork.

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Can families who have submitted a dossier to adopt, but have not yet received a referral of a non-Waiting child switch to adopt a Waiting Child?

Yes! If a family has completed a dossier and then identifies a Waiting Child, they will be able to review the child’s information, consult with physicians and, if wanting to commit to the child, would need to submit the following:

For Waiting Children from China:

Before they travel, families would need to submit:

For Waiting Children from Guatemala:
No additional paperwork is needed to adopt a Waiting Child. Please refer to Guatemala’s FAQ section to review the paperwork for an adoption from Guatemala.

For Waiting Children from India:
For India, if a doctor reviews the child’s information and makes a recommendation for the child, the doctor will need to prepare a letter stating the recommendation and that letter will need to be included in the dossier sent to India. Each orphanage will determine if extra paperwork is needed and this will be handled on a case by case basis. The dossier will need to be made more specific for the adoption of a Waiting Child. All documents will need to be prepared with the child’s name and date of birth on them. A coordinator in the India program will help you work through any changes to your dossier or additional paperwork needed. For a list of paperwork typically included in an India dossier, please refer to India’s FAQ section.

For Waiting Children from Vietnam:
If the original home study submitted with your dossier does not approve you for the special needs of the Waiting Child you are adopting, a home study addendum will need to be prepared. Please refer to Vietnam’s FAQ section to review the paperwork for an adoption from Vietnam.

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What medical information will I receive?

For Waiting Children from China:
The China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) supplies FTIA with the original medical information from the orphanage and photos and developmental information. FTIA translates those records and supplies the family with copies of all medical information when they review a child. After a family receives their Final Travel Approval, they will receive the original medical and developmental records and photos.

For Waiting Children from Guatemala:
Generally, we will try to obtain any information required for a family to make an informed decision. Typically, we will get HIV screenings, Syphilis and Hepatitis B test results, a medical certificate and measurements from a doctor in Guatemala. Additional tests and screenings may be requested on a case by case basis.

For Waiting Children from India:
A child study will be received from CARA which will include a picture of the child and some background information on the child. There will be a physical exam report attached to the child study. If additional tests were conducted, the results of these tests would also be included.

For Waiting Children from Vietnam:
At minimum, a medical certificate, lab reports and pictures will be received. FTIA will work with the officials in Vietnam to obtain all relevant medical information when the child has medical special needs.

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Does the medical information need to be reviewed by a physician?

When a family makes the decision to review a Waiting Child, they have permission to share the medical reports with physicians. As the vast majority of children in the Waiting Children Program have medical needs, it is required that the family consult with experts in the field of a particular child’s need, including an international adoption medical expert. It is recommended that the family consult with more than one physician, if at all possible. FTIA’s website includes information on physicians who specialize in international adoption; they are familiar with not only medical needs, but the needs of children residing in institutional settings. That information can be found on our website at http://www.ftia.org/resources/clinics.asp.

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How often does FTIA receive Waiting Children lists?

For Waiting Children from China:
We have traditionally received a new Waiting Children list assigned only to FTIA approximately every 3 months. We do not know ahead of time the number of children we will receive or the needs and ages of the children. Receipt of frequent shared lists could alter the time frame for receipt of children's files assigned only to FTIA.

Lists of shared children are received several times each month. Remember, with the shared list, other agencies may identify a family and make a child's file unavailable very quickly.

For Waiting Children from Guatemala, India, or Vietnam:
Occasionally we receive Waiting Children from these countries. There are no official Waiting Children programs in these countries. As the information on Waiting Children from these programs is received, the children will be added to our Waiting Children List on our website.

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Where do the children live?

For Waiting Children from China:
Most of the children live, or have lived, in orphanages during some part or all of their lives. Some may have moved to foster care after being placed in the orphanage.

For Waiting Children from Guatemala, India, or Vietnam:
Please see the FAQs for the country for information on where the children live.

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Do I have to travel?

Parents can travel alone or with a companion. It is suggested, if married, that both parents travel to the country, if at all possible, as the bonding process begins the moment they meet their child, and this will also give them an understanding of their child’s experiences, culture and their country of birth.

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How long is the trip to adopt a Waiting Child?

For all adoptions of Waiting Children, your estimated time in the country is the same as a trip to adopt a non-Waiting Child. Please see the country FAQs for more information.

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Where will I stay in the country?

For all adoptions of Waiting Children, your in-country stay will be the same as the stay for a non-special needs adoption. Please see the FAQs for the country for more information.

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Will I be traveling with other Waiting Children families?

For Waiting Children from China:
Whether or not you travel with other families depends on various factors:

  1. when a family receives their Final Approval,
  2. whether other special needs families’ approval dates are close to yours, and,
  3. when families with the non-special needs China Program receive referrals.
Some special needs families travel alone (but with a local guide throughout the trip), some travel groups are comprised of only special needs families and some special needs families travel with families in the non-special needs China Program. A Yahoo travel group will be set up for all families traveling together, so that you get to know each other before traveling.

For Waiting Children from Guatemala, India, or Vietnam:
Whether or not you will travel with other families is dependent on how travel is arranged for these countries. Please see the country program FAQs for more information.

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Who will assist me while I am in the country?

For all adoptions of Waiting Children, assistance in the country is the same as a trip to adopt a non-Waiting Child. Please see the country FAQs for more information.

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Who will make the travel arrangements?

For all adoptions of Waiting Children, your travel arrangements will be made the same way as for a trip to adopt a non-Waiting Child. Please see the country FAQs for more information.

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Who can I talk to if I have questions throughout the process?

For Waiting Children from China:
Our Intake Specialists are available to answer your questions. You can email them at info@ftia.org. If you have officially applied to adopt a Waiting Child from China, Maury will be assigned as your coordinator throughout the adoption process. If she is not available, a coordinator with the China program can assist you. When families are in China, an in-country coordinator from our Beijing office or a local guide from the travel agency we work with will be with you to assist you. Families are always welcome to call or e-mail FTIA.

For Waiting Children from Guatemala, India, or Vietnam:
When you officially apply to FTIA to adopt a Waiting Child from Guatemala, India, or Vietnam, you will be assigned a coordinator in that country program to assist you through the adoption process.

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email: adopt@ftia.org

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