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COMPLETING PRE-ADOPTION PAPERWORK


1. Submitting Applications to Orphanages

2. Starting your Home Study

3. Selecting a Home Study Agency

4. Filing Form I-600A with USICS

5. Other Forms used in Orphan Cases

 


1. Submitting Applications to Orphanages

You can contact Pakistani orphanages and submit your application in parallel with the home study process. Though adoption is easier if your I-600A is already on file with BCIS or approved BEFORE you get custody of your child in Pakistan, you do not need to wait till I-600A approval.

For a list of Pakistan orphanages, click here

Typically you would need to call the orphanages to request their form be sent to you by mail. We have provided some of the most common application forms below.

To apply, fill out the application form for the orphanage you would like to apply. Attach copies of the following documents with the application form:

  • Birth certificates

  • CNIC/NICOP Card

  • Passports

  • Marriage certificate (Nikah Nama)

  • several photos of the adoptive parents

  • Home Study (optional)

It is a good idea to write a letter explaining your case and give some background information on yourselves. You may include a copy of the home study for this purpose), in addition to the application. If possible, hand deliver the application to the orphanage by your local representative. Do include the name and contact phone numbers of a local contact in your application.

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2. Starting your Home Study

In order for you to begin the adoption process, the laws of all states require all prospective adoptive parents to complete a Home Study whether they choose to adopt domestically or internationally.

The Home Study is a written report, developed by an approved social worker, about the adoptive parents including their childhood and family background, family relationships and support systems, health, education, employment, and financial status. You are also required to provide several references which may or may not include family members.

The Home Study must meet state guidelines in addition to guidelines as established by the foreign country. Pakistan does not have any specific requirements for the home study, it is required for the USCIS approval process primarily.

The Home Study process will vary from state to state and agency to agency, but most are completed in approximately 3 months.

The home study visit by the social worker will typically last a couple of hours and consist of individual interviews with you and your spouse, and then a joint interview with you as a couple. The job of the social worker doing the home study is to make sure the child will be coming home to a loving and positive environment. Their purpose is to facilitate the adoption process, not judge you; most will be very pleasant and helpful in preparing you for the adoption!

Some home study agencies require you to write an autobiography and describe your early childhood, your family, personal and professional achievements and hopes and aspirations. It is a good idea to do it even if it's not required because it helps you get to know yourself and each other better and enhances your understanding of your own and each other's feelings about the whole adoption process.

The social worker will tour your home to see if your home is safe for a child. Make sure all smoke detectors in your home are functional and you have a fire extinguisher and know how to use it. They want to know which room will be the baby's room, what are your motivations for adopting, whether you have reconciled your feelings about infertility, etc. If you have children living in the home, the social worker may wish to meet with your children as well. If there are other people living in the home, they also will be interviewed by the social worker.

There is no set format for adoption agencies to conduct home studies and the home study process, the contents of the written home study report, and the time it will take to complete vary from state to state and from agency to agency. In general, the following information is included in the home study:

  • Personal and family background-including upbringing, siblings, religion, and values

  • Reason to adopt

  • Parenting and integration of the child into the family

  • Physical and health history of the applicant(s)

  • Education, employment and finances-including insurance coverage and child care plans if needed

  • References and criminal background clearances on all persons residing in home

  • Summary and social worker's recommendation.

The cost of a Home Study varies from $1000-$2000 in most states in the US.

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3. Selecting a Home Study Agency

Pakistan is not a recognized country for international adoption, most adoption agencies, especially in US and Canada, do not know that you can adopt from Pakistan. When choosing a home study program with a given agency, do shop around. Make sure they are familiar with private international adoptions.

When selecting a home study agency, make sure you ask them the following questions:

1. What is their fee and what it includes? Whether post-placement visits are included or not and how many are required?

2. how much time it takes for them to prepare the report. The home study process typically requires 4-12 weeks time to collect background criminal checks, financial status, medical checkup forms, references and interviews with the adoptive parents and home visits by the social worker.

3. What are the pre-adoption and post-adoption requirements in your state?

4. How quickly after the initial interview can they finalize the home study report?

5. Do they send you a draft to review?

6. What kind of turnaround can you expect once you submit your comments on the draft?

7. How many originals do they provide you? Typically you need at least 3 originals. One is submitted to BCIS with your I-600A application, one is sent to Edhi and one for your records. Edhi may accept a photocopy but it is best to send an original.

8. Do they assist you in filling out and filing your I-600A or just give you the home study report to submit on your own.

9. Can they give you an idea of how long it takes in your state for the I-600A applications to be approved?

10. Ask for references, names and phone numbers of other families they have worked with in circumstances similar to yours, and check these references.

For US Home Study agencies, check out www.1800homestudy.com for list of agencies in your area. Some of the agencies recommended by our members are listed below.

State Agency/Contact
California Adoptions Unlimited
Connecticut Family and Children's Agency - CT
Connecticut Adoption Resources Center of CT, Inc.
Florida Hope For Families
Illinois Family Counseling Clinic
Kansas Adoption-Beyond
Minnesota

Summit Adoption Home Studies, Inc.

4600 W. 77th street, Suite 200,
Minneapolis, MN 55435
USA
Ph: 1-952-831-5707
Fax: 1-952-831-5129

Missouri Adoption-Beyond
Nevada The Adoption Alliance
New York Karing Angels
New York

Dina Rosenfeld (licensed Social Worker)

pH: 1-212-998-5944
djr@nyu.edu

Tennessee Heaven Sent Children
Texas Home Study specialist
Wisconsin

Crossroads Adoption Services

4911- 4th street, suite 214
Hudson, WI 54016 USA
pH: 1-715-386-5550
Fax: 1-715-386-5670
kids@crossroadsadoption.com

NOTE: When you talk to an agency, let them know that the ONLY service you need is an international home study for the BCIS approval process. You DO NOT need them to facilitate your adoption from Pakistan.

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4. Filing Form I-600A with USCIS - Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition

If a child has not been identified, the process starts by filing a Form I-600A - (to expedite the I600A application, it is recommended to file on the salmon-orange color paper which receives higher priority.)

download Form I-600A (146 KB PDF)

On this form, the prospective adoptive parents declare the country they intend to adopt from, and the US Embassy where they will apply for the child’s I-600 form. You need your completed home study and finger prints to get I-600A approved.

USCIS determines whether or not a prospective adoptive parent will be able to properly care for an orphan. This decision is based, primarily, on FBI fingerprint clearances and home study.

When the USCIS approves your I-600A, they will send you form I-171H, "Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition." You should also request that notice of this approval be sent to the US embassy or consulate in Pakistan.

In a nutshell, the I-171H states that you are approved to adopt a child from the foreign country you specified in your I-600A. Your I-600A petition approval remains valid for 18 months from the date of approval. You must re-file your I-600A petition if it expires (there is an "expedited" re-filing procedure available). It is important to note that your fingerprints will only be valid for 15 months - you will have to have your fingerprints retaken if they expire.

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5. Other Forms Used in Orphan Cases

Form I-171H -- Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Applications for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition (sent to petitioning parent after I-600A approval)

Form I-171 -- Notice of Approval of Relative Immigrant Visa Petition (sent to petitioning parent when the I-600 orphan petition is approved).

Form I-604 -- Request for and Report on Overseas Orphan Investigation (internal form used by INS and consular officers).

Form I-797 -- Notice of Action. In some INS offices, this form is used instead of the I-171 and I-171H.

Form FD-258 -- Applicant Fingerprint Card. Used to obtain fingerprints of the adoptive or prospective adoptive parent(s) and each adult member of the adoptive or prospective adoptive parents' household.

Form I-864 -- Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act.

Form N-643 -- Application for Certificate of Citizenship on Behalf of an Adopted Child (once your return home with your child).

INS forms may be obtained by calling the INS Forms Line at 1-800-870-FORM (3676).

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