Working with the Agency
Once you have arranged to work with an agency, the agency will assign a social worker. The social worker will discuss your preferences, provide information on source countries, and explain the agency's policies and procedures. At this point, you may be required to pay the first installment of the adoption agency fees. Some agencies will prorate their charges according to your income. You should avoid programs where you are required to pay all the fees in advance. Most programs have a fee payment system that allows payment as services are rendered. Find out what fees are refundable if you withdraw from the adoption process or the agency withdraws its services after a service agreement is signed.
Every adoption requires a home study, which involves a series of interviews with a social worker and/or group sessions with other applicants. The home study helps applicants think through their desire and ability to adopt a child from another culture. The social worker wants to ensure that you will provide a safe and nurturing environment for a new child. A home study is usually completed in a few months. The final, approved home study documents your suitability as adoptive parents and provides a description of the prospective home to the foreign source. Home study fees may or may not be included in the overall fee. When a home study is approved, your case is assigned to a particular foreign adoption agency, orphanage, institution, or private attorney.