Poland Adoption Overview
Poland offers an opportunity to adopt special needs Caucasian children and sibling groups through a well organized adoption process. The type of special needs vary from moderate to more serious. Available children can be ages 2-15 and there are sibling groups of various ages. The Polish Central Authority publishes a list of special needs children available for international adoption a few times a year. This list is given to our agency and shared with our waiting families. Families select a child that they would like to be matched with or that they want more information on from this list. Our representative in country can visit the child and get pictures and updated medical and social information. If the family wants to apply to be officially matched with this child, we send an application on behalf of the family to Poland and if they matched, they can start working on home study. Only children residing at the orphanages in Poland are available for international adoption. We are committed to assisting our families through each stage of the process.
- Both married and single persons may adopt.
- The minimum age to adopt from Poland is 25 years. While there is no official upper age limit, in practice adoptive parents must be no more than 40 years older than the child they adopt.
- Poland has set no specific income requirements however they will assess adoptive families to ensure they have a stable financial situation, as well as overall good health and appropriate moral qualities
- While Poland is a Catholic country they allow both Catholics and non-Catholics to adopt.
Almost all orphanage children experience some emotional issues and developmental delays from the loss of family and simply from institutionalization. Special needs children from Poland are able to be adopted internationally. The family will be presented with all available information on the child’s medical condition and social history. A special report will be prepared by the agency’s in-county representative based on all available information. The adoptive family has the right to make the final decision on the selection of their child. Based first on medicals, and then on time spent with the child, each family decides whether the referred child is right for their family.
Training in international adoption is offered by our agency, the home study agency and/or on-line resources. The training prepares the adoptive family for the adoption process, for identifying and avoiding any significant emotional problems, and ultimately for helping an orphan child reach their full potential.
We have consistently found that families which have earnestly sought their child in prayer have ultimately been blessed with the right child for them.
- Apply to our agency with an application (can be emailed or found at opendooradoption.org/contact). Apply for a passport if you do not already have one which will be valid for another 18 months.
- We will review your application and mail you our service agreement.
- Complete the service agreement and mail it to TOD.
- We will give you access to a comprehensive guidebook, with step by step instructions throughout the adoption process. Many families have commented that this is an invaluable resource and that it was very helpful throughout the adoption process.
- Begin home study as soon as possible (we can provide this service for Georgia families and provide information on other agencies for families living outside of Georgia). You are welcome to start on the home study in conjunction with completing our service agreement.
- Apply to USCIS with form I-800A when home study is completed. The I-800a application generally takes about 8 weeks before you will receive an approval.
- Complete dossier documents (when home study documents are completed you may start your dossier documents). We will send you a dossier packet via email in which most of the information for your dossier will be completed for you, inserted through a mail merge program. Meanwhile you will receive your I-800a approval from USCIS which will be a part of your dossier. Overall, depending on how quickly you can complete your paperwork you can expect to have your dossier prepared and on its way to Poland in about 6 -9 months.
- Once your dossier is prepared and you have your I-800a approval you will have all documents legalized (apostilled) here in the United States.
- Your dossier is mailed to Poland and translated. This process takes several weeks.
- Meanwhile, our representative in Poland will submit your dossier first to the Adoption Center for approval and matching with a specific child. From there it will go to the Polish Central Authority for an additional review. This process takes approximately one month.
- Family’s opting to adopt a waiting child will submit an application and documents to the court to request the specific child they wish to adopt. This process can take a few weeks. Families who do not see a child they feel might be a good fit for their family available on our website may request a child from Poland within the approval parameters they desire. Families requesting to be matched by the adoption center in Poland will generally wait a little longer than families requesting a specific waiting child. Once approved the family will submit an I-800 application with USCIS. They will then travel for their first trip to Poland for a period called the bonding period. Time from I-800 application to travel is about 3-5 months.
- During the bonding period the family will meet their child, get to know the child and better assess if the child is a good fit for their family. If all goes well the period will last 2-3 weeks and be followed by a court hearing. This trip will typically last 2-3 weeks. Both parents must be present.
- After the court hearing parents will typically return to the United States while they wait for the adoption to be finalized. This wait time typically takes about 3 weeks (parents can remain in Poland during this time if they wish). One or both parents can then return to Poland for the final part of the process.
- You will complete the adoption process by obtaining your child’s new child’s new birth certificate, passport, and medicals. The final step will involve obtaining a visa for your child in Warsaw.
Poland is a very beautiful country and a pleasant place to travel. Warsaw, the capital city, combines the modern with the past. You will see grand architecture and beautiful parks. Our facilitator in Poland will guide you through the entire in-country process and escort you to all adoption related appointments. Hotel accommodations range up to four star ratings and include quaint hotels in the Old Town or in Centre. There are also many comfortable apartments. Our facilitator can help to guide and advise you about travel arrangements and planning, whether in Warsaw or other cities.
Stories From Poland
“I would advise prospective adoptive parents to follow their hearts. When I saw a photograph of the child whom I recently adopted, I knew instantly that she was for me. I sent an inquiry on a Saturday, literally not five minutes after seeing her photo and reading her somewhat difficult story. Olga responded on Monday. After a smooth twenty-one month process (I say “smooth” even though there were delays due to Polish government): we are home together in our west coast city. My beautiful child is adjusting to her American school and beginning to learn English and even Spanish. She is eating well, sleeping well, laughing, playing Candy Land, riding the bus and playing in parks every day. People tell me she gets taller every week.I would also advise prospective parents specifically in Poland to have some familiarity with Polish history; to be willing to embrace Polish culture while you are traveling in Poland; and to practice humility by learning some Polish language, rather than expecting everyone to know English.I cannot imagine if I had not listened to my instinct and pursued this adoption. I truly believe our adoption process was meant to be, that God led me to Open Door.I feel like this was a win-win situation for everyone involved: for me, for the child, for her former foster family (who took good care of her but who wanted a better situation for her). Our beloved social worker in Warsaw was happy with the outcome. I retain fond memories of our judge in Poland, who finalized the adoption (he told my child that life has given her a gift), and even of the doctor who worked with the U.S. Embassy at the very end of the adoption process. Uniformly, everyone at Open Door and in Poland was supportive toward and me and my child, because everyone understood that my child’s coming to America did not mean she has lost Poland or her Polish heritage, or her Polish language. Everyone understood that she is retaining her Polishness while gaining a much wider understanding of the world.” -Poland Program Adoptive Mother