I am adopting in Jamaica
Hello, I am in the beginning stages of adopting a child from Jamaica. I personally know this child and she is classified as orphan by US and Jamaica. Can any one help me and advise me through this process? I am researching a lot and trying to learn all I can so that this process goes as smoothly as possible. Is there anyone that has adopted from Jamaica before and can help me with this? I would really appreciate it.
Here is the best source of information on adoption from Jamaica:

[url=http://adoption.state.gov/country_information/country_specific_info.php?country-select=jamaica]JAMAICA | Intercountry Adoption[/url].

I will also send you a private message regarding a U.S. agency with strong contacts in Jamaica.

What can I expect?
OK. I have my home study scheduled for next week as well as filing my I600A and the I600 form at my local USCIS office next week. I did file the pre-adoption form to the Jamaican adoption agency. What I'm asking is what do I expect from here? What do I have to have before I can go to Jamaica to pick up the child? I have a child already and she is surely classified as an orphan there......no parents. What do I have to have before I can go? Can you tell that I'm anxious? Does anyone know app. what time frame I am looking at? I live in Florida. Thanks.
Most adoptions take a minimum of a year. Some take much longer.

Do be aware that you cannot use an adoption agency in Jamaica, other than the CDA
I am going to say some things that may strike you as very harsh. Please understand that I’m not trying to offend, and not trying to stop you from adopting. I am an adoptive parent and the former head of a well-known adoption advocacy organization. But I strongly believe that the only successful adoptions are those where the prospective parents are very well prepared, both for the adoption process and for raising an internationally adopted child.

Frankly, I am very worried that you are being nave about adoption in general, and adoption from Jamaica, in particular. You do not seem to understand either Jamaica’s laws or the U.S. laws governing adoption and immigration, and even after I sent you both the link to the U.S. State Department’s authoritative information about Jamaican adoption and the name of a U.S. based agency that can give you practical advice about adopting from Jamaica because the director has outstanding contacts there, you have asked questions that would have been answered in these sources. You seem to think that you can have a homestudy and get USCIS approval in a few days or weeks, and be on a plane to get a child soon thereafter.

Adoption is not something that takes days or weeks. Most adoptions take at least a year, and many adoptions take much longer. Some identified adoptions can be done more quickly, but some actually take longer because they are challenged either on the foreign county side or on the U.S. side. It’s not just a matter of the orphan definition. Some countries don’t like situations where the child is not in an orphanage, but is living with a relative or friend of the birth family, for example. So while, in theory, you might be able to bring home a child in about eight months, things often go wrong. And if you use the adoption license process in Jamaica, you have to wait at least that long and then actually do a domestic adoption in the U.S., adding another six months or so to the process.
First off, the homestudy. You said it was “scheduled for next week”. A homestudy cannot be “scheduled for next week”. It may BEGIN next week, but it is likely to take one to three months or more to complete, depending on things like your state laws, your ability to secure all the documents that the social worker will need, the ability of the social worker to schedule appointments with you, the need for preadoption classes, and so on.

With a homestudy, you start by doing an intake, where the agency determines whether it would be a waste of its time and your money even to start one, because you could not possibly be approved. As an example, you can’t adopt if you are on public assistance, if you are homeless, if you don’t have a stable source of income, if you have a life-threatening illness or a serious psychiatric condition, if you have been convicted of child abuse or domestic violence or other felonies, etc., so there would be no point in beginning the homestudy process. And most homestudy agencies won’t let you have a homestudy for at least a year after marriage or divorce or starting a first job or other huge lifestyle changes.

The homestudy, itself, usually requires at least three visits with a social worker, including at least one in your home. Before the first visit, the social worker will want you to have ready a large number of documents, which you may have to struggle to get – like birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, bank and investment account statements, police clearances, child abuse clearances, letters from your employer verifying income and tenure of employment, and so on. You may also be asked for the names of three non-relatives, to whom the agency will send letters, requesting that they write a letter of reference, commenting on your fitness to parent. The social worker will need to inspect the documents and cannot approve you without them. The social worker may also ask you, prior to your first visit, to write an autobiography, which will guide his/her first session with you.

During your remaining visits, you will be talking about things like the challenges of parenting transracially (if that will be the case), helping a child to deal with issues involving birthparents, celebrating your child’s birth culture, dealing with unexpected medical issues and the medical risks of international adoption, how you plan to educate your child, how you plan to discipline him/her, etc.
One visit will involve a home inspection to make sure that it is safe and welcoming. It’s usually no big deal; if you would feel comfortable inviting your boss or in-laws over to dinner, it’s probably just fine. Still, there may be some requirements regarding bedroom size, fire exits, a fence around a pool, a handrail on a staircase, etc. In some cases, you will have to make some improvements before you can be approved – as an example, putting in a railing. In a few states, there may be a requirement for something like a fire department inspection.

Use the homestudy as a way to learn more about the challenges of parenting an adopted child. Ask about childproofing, if the child you want to adopt is young. Talk about what immunizations and medical tests the child should have, and some of the common health issues (such as parasites) seen in newly adopted kids. Talk about how you decide what grade to put a child in, if he/she is of school age, but has had little or no schooling. Talk about attachment and bonding. And so on.
But even if you do these things, remember that some states, some countries, and some agencies require pre-adoption classes, either in person or on-line. Jamaica is not a Hague country, but many agencies now require all clients, not just those adopting from Hague countries, to take such classes – often at least ten hours’ worth.

As to the I-600A, some USCIS agencies will NOT allow the form to be submitted without an approved homestudy report, and will send your I-600A back to you if it is missing. Others will keep the I-600A on file, but will not process it until your homestudy report is received. The reason is that there’s no point starting to review the I-600A, if you wind up not getting an approved homestudy.
Once the USCIS receives your I-600A and your homestudy report, it will send you an appointment, possibly several weeks away, for you to have your fingerprints done at a site it specifies. You will then have to wait for the fingerprints to clear before the USCIS can actually approve your I-600A and issue you a letter of approval. I’ve seen families anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for that letter. In my case, I waited about 12 weeks, but that was quite a while ago.

At that point, you will begin putting together a dossier for your placement agency. And I want to make something very clear, here. If you look at the State Department website, it says that ONLY the CDA is authorized to serve as a placement agency in Jamaica. If you use any other Jamaican agency, the Jamaican government could well refuse to allow your adoption. And since the Jamaican government has made that a matter of law and policy, the U.S. government will not issue an adoption visa for a child who is not adopted through the approved process, even if you manage somehow to get an adoption decree or decree of guardianship for the child.

The placement agency will tell you what documents, besides your homestudy report and USCIS approval, to send to Jamaica. While many of the documents will be the same ones given to your homestudy agency, there could well be some additional ones, and you may have to put them through a notarization, certification, and authentication process before they can be accepted by the Jamaican authorities.

Jamaica recognizes two forms of adoption, and you will have to decide which one to use. The adoption order process actually results in a finalized adoption within Jamaica. However, you have to stay in Jamaica for at least four months, living with the child you hope to adopt, before you can go to court and finalize. This process is often difficult for American families to use, since you must be away from work and home responsibilities for at least four months, if not more.

The adoption license process does not result in a final adoption. All you get is a decree of guardianship that lets you take the child to the U.S. and finalize the adoption here. You need to make two trips to Jamaica – one to meet with the CDA and one to pick up your child, get certain documents needed by the U.S. Embassy before a visa can be issued, and obtain a visa in the child’s foreign passport. Remember that, with this process, you are not finished with paying fees when you get home. You first must do a domestic adoption of the child, which means an updated homestudy, post-placement visits, legal fees, and so on. The in-Jamaica process can be completed in about four months, but the U.S. process could take another six months or more.

If you use the adoption order process, and both you and your spouse (if you are married) travel, your child can come home on an IR-3 visa, which will mean that he/she becomes a U.S. citizen automatically and a Certificate of Citizenship will be sent to you in the next few months. If you use the adoption order process and only one parent travels (if that is allowed by Jamaica), your child will come home on an IR-4 visa. You will need to readopt the child or do a recognition in your home state, and your child will become a citizen only after the readoption or recognition. You will have to file the N-600, and pay fees, to get a Certificate of Citizenship for the child.

If you use the adoption license process, and your child will be coming to the U.S. under a decree of guardianship, your child will be issued an IR-4 visa. You will have to do a domestic adoption in your state. Once you do so, your child will become an automatic citizen, but you will have to file the N-600 and pay fees to get a Certificate of Citizenship for your child.
I wish you well with your adoption, but urge you to become thoroughly informed about the adoption process before you even begin your homestudy.

Short response
Hello and thanks for your opinion. First of all, I didn't read your complete response..........it was very long.
Yes, I am very familiar with Jamaica and how the adoption works there......my husband is Jamaican and our family works with the adoption agency there. Next, I have all the paperwork completed for the homestudy and yes, where I live, the homestudy is completed in three weeks.........I spend day and night getting the paperwork together and I've already worked with my social worker so Yes, the homestudy will be done next week. AND I did contact USCIS and they said that yes, I can submit my I600A and the I600 form to them at my local office next week without the completed homestudy but, it would not be approved until the homestudy is given to them. This whole process isn't easy but, it is and has been far easier than you have told me but, I appreciate your insight. Oh, by the way........I did research those web sites that you suggested...........I did that months ago......they aren't new web sites to me. Reread my question because your response didn't apply to my question at all. Thanks so much for all your hlep.
Logistics on Jamaica
Hi there - I've sent these questions to a couple of members via private messages but received no response, but perhaps you can help? I have been self-educating myself on Jamaican adoption for some time now. I have been in contact with the CDA and received helpful information from them. I worked for USCIS from 2007-2011 and am well aware of their requirements also. I'm hoping to learn more about the 'numbers' of Jamaican adoption license process - one being overall cost, and one being length of time required in the country. I wish cost wasn't a factor, but with the tax credit expiring in 2013, it is.

From what I was told by the CDA, Jamaica does not have an adoption fee. So, I am trying to come up with an estimate of the additional costs after the home study, travel, and paperwork processing. I would rather not work with a US agency due to the cost factor as well. Do you have an idea of what we could expect to pay for this process? Knowing in advance would be helpful so that we can save accordingly.

Due to our jobs and inelligibility for short-term disability while out on leave after the adoption, I am concerned about the time required incountry for the adoptive parents (not to mention we have four dogs, one of which is special needs and difficult to leave in someone elses care). The four+ months totally rules out the adoption order process for us. From what I have read, the adoption license process involves two trips to Jamaica - do you have an idea of how long each trip takes?
What's the name of the adoption agency?
sak9645 said...
Here is the best source of information on adoption from Jamaica:

[url=http://adoption.state.gov/country_information/country_specific_info.php?country-select=jamaica]JAMAICA | Intercountry Adoption[/url].

I will also send you a private message regarding a U.S. agency with strong contacts in Jamaica.


Hello Sharon, could you PM me the name of the adoption agency you mentioned here? I am currently gathering as much information as I can before beginning the adoption process.

Jamaica Adoption process!!
We are currently waiting to have our pre-app approved by the CDA! I have links through my state that work directly with Jamaica, but it hasn't made the process easier. I see people say that they have children matched prior to having been approved. I was wondering how I would do that ? Would I need to contact the CDA and ask them directly? OR possibly a Foster Parent- Need some direction as there is really not a lot of info or support given we cant work with an agency. Any help or advice would be great!
Thank you!!
approved to adopt from Jamaica
So I was so excited to see others who are in the process of adopting from Jamaica. My husband and I have recently been approved to adopt from Jamaica. We were given a case number! They are not the easiest to get a hold of! We were pre approved in August, had our homestudy completed in October, sent our adoption package to Jamaica via certified mail in November and it was received in Jamainca on Dec. We heard from them in mid January via email. We were missing one page from our medical forms. I faxed them over right away and heard back that day with a case number. I am assuming now we are on the list and we wait. I am hoping to meet, or talk to, someone who has been matched with a child through the CDA or other means... Thanks! Eagerly awaiting a response!
I am excited to find others who are hoping to adopt from Jamaica as well. It is a hard country to go through as there are not any adoption agencies to work with and the process and length have many unknowns! Can you tell me what adoption agency if any you worked with or if you know of one who has connections to Jamaica and the CDA? We are done with our pre approval as well and now need to complete our home study and paper work. Any advice on these things is welcomed. We are not going into it with an identified child either. We are hoping to be matched with a child through the CDA as well. I'm anxious to hear how long the process takes for some of you who are ahead of us.
Wishing you the best!!
Thanks for sharing! Smile
We were approved by the CDA in 2011 after waiting over a year to hear from them. They sent a letter stating that it would be many years before we received a referral and that it would only be for a child 8 years old or older. Apparently some Canadians are able to adopt infants from Jamaica, but it is EXTREMELY rare for Americans to adopt from Jamaica at all.

There are no adoption agencies that operate in Jamaica, it is all done through the CDA. There are no U.S. based agencies that will help you adopt from Jamaica. The last statistics from the State Dept show less than 10 adoptions between the U.S. and Jamaica in the last few years.

I am sorry to disappoint you. We really thought that Jamaica was going to be where we would adopt our child from, until we came into contact with 3 other individuals who tried and failed to adopt from Jamaica. As far as I can tell it is a long shot. The one and only person that I know that was successful waited nearly 7 years and that was a relative adoption.
Keeping hope
Thanks for the information. When we complete out preadoption form they said expect to hear from us in four weeks, we heard back in one... We then sent our adoption package over, using certified mail, this part took the longest! Took a month to get there. We then heard from the CDA to confirm their receiving the package... A week later got an email letting us know what we were missing and our case number... Faxed them required forms and now have a completed file... While I understand very few adoptions occur we are still holding onto the hope that we will be one of the few! We have been emailing the CDa just to check in and they get back pretty regularly... Hoping to find a private adoption, I have heard that this can make the process a little quicker... anyone have any ideas how to go about this?
Generally private adoption is not allowed in Jamaica. However some orphanages allow you to visit and if you identify a child you are interested in sometimes the orphanage director can help you make inquiries into the child's availability for adoption.

Kristi is a woman who works with a non profit who could be very helpful in navigating the adoption process. When I last spoke with Kristi in 2011 she said the average wait time for a child age 8 or older was about 2 years and the total costs were approx. $10,000. Here is her contact info :
[url=http://embracingorphans.org/adoption.html]Embracing Orphans[/url]

The largest number of adoptions from Jamaica involve children who are 13 and older.
Looking into Jamaican adoption
My daughter and I have traveled to Jamaica in the past. My family loves the county and people of Jamaica. Is there anyone out there who has completed an adoption from Jamaica that could possibly guide us?? We have adopted from China 3 years ago, but this process would be without agency help!

Jess D
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