Frequently Asked Questions About Intercountry Adoption

This information was taken directly from Child Welfare Information Gateway

Frequently Asked Questions About Intercountry Adoption

What are the different types of service providers for Convention adoptions?

There are three different types:

Primary providers must be accredited according to the standards set forth in the Convention, including the implementing law and regulations. They ensure the delivery of all six adoption services by providing the services themselves or by arrangements with other providers, including domestic and foreign supervised providers, public authorities, and others.

Supervised providers may be agencies, organizations, or individuals (including facilitators or attorneys) in the United States or foreign countries. The supervised provider must meet certain requirements and enter into a written agreement with the primary provider to conduct their services in an ethical manner consistent with the Convention and applicable U.S. law and regulations. Supervised providers may provide some of the six services under the supervision of the primary provider. They may not supervise other providers.

Exempt providers are not accredited or approved. They include social work professionals or organizations that conduct a home study of parents or a background study on a child. The study must be reviewed and approved by a Convention-accredited primary provider.

For more information, visit the U.S. Department of State website at

How should I select an adoption service provider?

Prospective parents need to have a full understanding of the adoption service provider’s services as well as the costs of those services before, during, and after the adoption. The services include the six adoption services outlined in the law plus other services, such as translation, document review, travel, third-party fees, and postplacement and postadoption reports. They should know whether the primary provider or a supervised provider will be responsible for each service. This information should be in writing. Service providers vary widely in the services they offer.

For help selecting a provider, read Information Gateway’s How to Assess the Reputation of Licensed, Private Adoption Agencies at

How can my family receive services after we adopt?

Adoptive families, including those who adopt from other countries, may at some point need to access postadoption services. Prospective adoptive families should begin working with their adoption services providers to determine potential service needs before the adoption is finalized. The Federal government encourages States to provide postadoption services to any family that needs them, including those that adopted from other countries (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, 2014). Examples of postadoption services include support groups; therapy or counseling; respite care; camps, social events, and heritage activities; and educational resources (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2012).

With the increasing ease of finding personal information online worldwide, more and more adopted children, including those adopted from other countries, and their birth families are finding each other through the Internet (Pinderhughes, Matthews, Deoudes, & Pertman, 2013).

Adoptive families may want to request assistance from their adoption services provider about how they can support their children in safely navigating the Internet if they search for birth relatives and how the family can navigate any newly established relationships with the child’s birth family. (For more information about open adoption and contact with birth families, visit Child Welfare Information Gateway at The availability of services may vary depending on your State or locality. To view more information on potential postadoption services by State, visit Child Welfare Information Gateway’s Adoption Assistance by State at

The following are additional resources for postadoption services:

  • Post Adoption (U.S. Department of State)

  • Finding and Using Postadoption Services (Child Welfare Information Gateway)

How can I adopt a relative from overseas?

The prospective parents and child must meet all the same requirements of U.S. immigration law, regardless of whether the child is a relative. This is true for Convention and non-Convention adoptions. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of State website (2) at adopt a relative from Immigration

Under the Convention, can children from the United States still be adopted by citizens of other countries?

The primary focus of the Convention is on serving the best interests of children who either have no parents or whose parents are unable to care for them. There is general agreement that such children are best served through placement with family members or, if that is not possible, placement with another family in their home country. Therefore, it is only after these possibilities have been given due consideration that a child might be eligible for placement in another country. In addition, the prospective adoptive parents must petition a U.S. State adoption court with jurisdiction over the case to adopt the child and must present all supporting evidence required by State law. The State court must find that the adoption is consistent with the Convention safeguards and in the child’s best interests. The court is responsible for issuing the final adoption decree or grant of custody for purposes of emigration and adoption in another country.

The U.S. State Department has information about these adoptions from the United States (outgoing cases) at

Return to International Adoption (Glossary)


Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2014). Intercountry adoption from hague convention and non-hague convention countries. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2012). Finding and using postadoption services. Retrieved from

Pinderhuges, E., Matthews, J., Deoudes, G., & Pertman, A. (2013). A changing world: Shaping best practices through understanding of the new realities of intercountry adoption. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. (2014). Re-homing of adopted children: responsibilities for states and opportunities in the provision of postadoption services. (ACYF-CB-IM-14-02). Retrieved from

U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs. (2013). Convention countries. Retrieved from


1 For information on adoption disruption, refer to Information Gateway’s Adoption Disruption and Dissolution at

2 A third way to legally bring an adopted child to reside permanently in the United States is the immediate relative process. For more information, visit