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Thread: Mongolia?
Hi Sharon,
While your post is not far from majority age, I was hoping you wouldn't mind providing some further information on adopting from Mongolia. I'm looking into Mongolian adoption for my master's thesis and my questions are limited to the nuts and bolts of the process only. Thanks very much in advance for any assistance you can provide.
Kind regards,
Be very cautious when choosing an agency for Mongolian adoption.
Ask agencies to tell you how many Mongolian adoptions they have done. More is always better, because experience in the country makes an agency better at negotiating the process.
Ask agencies to give you contact information for families who have done Mongolian adoptions through them recently. Talk to these families about their process. Find out the time frame, the total costs, how smoothly the process went, whether the children were as represented by the agency, etc.
Then go beyond the people mentioned by the agencies and seek out other families on-line and in your local adoption support groups. Remember that the people mentioned by the agencies are likely to be their most satisfied clients, and you want to hear both the good and the bad.
Contact the U.S. Embassy in Mongolia to see whether families using the agencies you are considering have had trouble getting visas for their children because the children do not qualify for international adoption.
Unfortunately, many children in Mongolian orphanages do not qualify for adoption visas under U.S. law. If you are referred and complete an adoption of a non-qualifying child, because an agency isn't experienced or honest, you will not be able to bring him/her to the U.S. unless you live abroad with him/her for two years and then apply for a regular visa for the child. You will be legally and financially responsible for the child, unless you overturn the adoption or live overseas with him/her.
Also ask the U.S. Embassy there whether there is anything else you should know about the agencies and their in-country personnel. Unfortunately, some agencies use in-country people who are not reputable, and those in-country people solicit bribes or engage in other questionable behavior.
Learn as much as you can about the agencies. Call the licensing authorities in the states where the agencies are licensed and see if they maintain a complaint registry. Find out what types of complaints have been leveled against them and how they have been resolved. Even the best agencies may have a complaint or two, because they may not have been a good fit for particular families; look for a PATTERN of complaints, suggesting that the agency habitually has certain problems.
Do the same thing with the Better Business Bureaus in the states where the agencies are licensed. You can actually do this on-line.
Check to see if the agencies are members of the Joint Council on International Children's Services, the leading advocacy organization for international adoption. JCICS works hard to promote the highest standards of ethical international adoption practice and to provide ongoing education for international adoption professionals. JCICS requires member agencies to sign a copy of its Standards of Practice, indicating their intent to comply with the standards.
Check to see if JCICS member agencies have been active in the organization -- for example, serving on the Board of Directors of JCICS or speaking at one of its conferences. This is a sign that the agencies are respected by their peers.
While JCICS is the primary adoption advocacy organization for international adoption, it is also desirable if an agency is a member of the National Council for Adoption, the Child Welfare League of America, the North American Council on Adoptable Children, etc., and takes a leadership role in these organizations.
Check to see if an agency is accredited by the Council on Accreditation in New York. While accreditation is voluntary, and while some good agencies have not yet pursued it because they are planning to seek accreditation specifically for use when the U.S. ratifies the Hague Convention on intercountry adoption next year, it is a real plus if an agency is accredited.
Become an "expert" on Mongolian adoption by doing a lot of reading and investigation on your own. That way, you can read an agency's literature or talk to its staff and determine whether it is presenting accurate information or feeding you a line of baloney.
I hope this helps.