International Adoption Process Overview

Initial Inquiry

After receiving and reviewing our initial information packet via email, we will schedule a call with the international adoption consultant to decide if applying for a particular program is right for your family.


Upon receipt of your application our director will review it and ensure that the country program you have requested is a good fit for your family. You will receive a response about your approval within one week of your application’s receipt at our office. Upon approval, we will send you additional paperwork which provides more information about international adoption.

Parent Training

The Hague Convention requires at least 10 hours of parental training. An Open Door assists families with obtaining training. The training helps prepare you to parent an older child with a potential history of trauma and/or neglect who is learning a new language, culture and family.

Most children adopted internationally have mild to moderate orphanage delays. Children may have physical handicaps, correctable handicaps, or have undiagnosed medical conditions. Children may have a history of being premature. They may have social histories that include family neglect, mental illness, physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse, and/or alcohol abuse in one or both parents. Families who will be adopting older children must be aware that these children have suffered some institutional and or emotional deprivation during their early years of life. While many of the children may be well cared for by caring and concerned caretakes, they may still have impact from trauma or loss. Risk factors for institutionalized children may include early loss or lack of attachment, a loss of personal history and genetic connection, neglect, possible abuse, geographical moves and the developmental delays that often result from such losses and institutional care. Families considering international adoption must be prepared for the risks and the unknowns.

Home Study

All adoptions require a home study. If you live in the state of Georgia, an Open Door caseworker may be able to provide the home study for your family. If you live outside of Georgia you will need an agency located in your state for the home study. We can help suggest possible agencies in your state of residence if needed.

USCIS Approval

Once your home study is complete you will submit the appropriate immigration forms for your country program in order to be approved by United States Immigration Services as a prospective adoptive parent.


Once finished with your home study packet and while you are waiting for your USCIS approval, you will be preparing dossier paperwork according to your country program’s requirements. Your adoption consultant will help you through this process, creating the dossier packet with your information inserted into the documents, offering guidance and tips on completing the information, and reviewing the information to make sure it is correctly completed.

Applying with the Foreign Country

Once your dossier is ready, it is sent to the foreign country and is translated and then submitted for approval by that government. Once you are approved, you can take the next steps to adopt your child. In some countries this means moving forward to travel for your first trip, in other countries this means requesting a child from a waiting child list, and in other situations you may begin a wait period to be matched with a child by the foreign government. Speak with your adoption consultant to understand which situation applies to you.

Child's Medical Records

Once you are matched with a child by the foreign country, you will receive your child’s medical records and social history to review. Adoptive parents will review the referral information, seek a medical opinion if desired, and accept or deny the referral.


The travel process varies greatly from one country to the next. Speak with your adoption consultant about how this works in your country, including the overall time frame, time in country, and number of trips to the country required. During the travel process you will be meeting with the foreign adoption authority, meeting your child, and initializing the court process.


The adoption is finalized in the foreign court. After the court hearing you will process through other in country paperwork, including getting a new birth certificate for your child, a new passport, and then applying with the US Embassy for a visa.


Your final step before coming home with your child is to apply for and receive a visa for your child to enter into the US. You will complete certain paperwork in advance in order to apply for the visa, as well as visiting a medical doctor for an evaluation of your child by a doctor appointed by the Embassy.

Home at Last

When you come home with your child the entire family will encounter a tremendous number of changes. These can include learning English, adjusting to a new culture and making new friends. And even more importantly this means getting to know each other as parent and child, and attaching and bonding to each other. There are many resources available both pre and post adoption which can better help you to know what to expect.

Each country program has post adoption reporting requirements that entail a visit from your social worker. Country requirements will be reviewed with you by your adoption consultant.

An Open Door works with a limited number of countries. The overall time frame can vary tremendously from one country to the next. Once your dossier is approved by the foreign country, adoptions can generally be completed in one – two years.

Begin Your Adoption Journey Today

Experience the magic of creating a family through adoption. Our dedicated team is here to support you every step of the way, as we match waiting families with precious children, bringing miracles into their lives.