As the COVID19 pandemic continues to disrupt life worldwide, I’ve seen people questioning how it is effecting adoption and whether this is a good time to begin an international adoption. Certainly, being stuck at home for weeks on end sounds like a great time to embark on an epic paperwork journey. Let’s look at the different parts of an adoption from China and how they are being effected.
Home study– A home study involves gathering paperwork to meet your state’s requirements, a physical from your physician, fingerprinting, background checks, and your social worker must visit your home at least one time.
- Some home study agencies are completely closed to new clients at the moment but others are trying to do everything but the home visit remotely. The home visit will have to be completed once restrictions are lifted.
- Many doctor’s offices are only taking urgent appointments or tele-visits. Check with your physician to see if a physical is possible at the moment.
- Many fingerprinting services such as FastFingerprints are temporarily closed.
- Dossier- USCIS is still processing I800a and I800s, however their processing times are very slow.
- Getting your documents authenticated at the state Secretary of State office may be difficult at the moment. In my state, they are only authenticating documents which are mailed in and documents may be held for later processing.
- Chinese consulates are closed right now so you will not be able to get your documents authenticated.
Taking these factors into consideration, my advice to someone considering starting the process right now would be to continue to read and educate yourself about adoption but to wait on starting the actual process. Remember that Chinese consulates will not accept documents more than 6 months old, so you don’t want to have your home study process drag out so long that you need to start redoing paperwork. Figuring out which placing agency you would use and contacting your local home study agency to see what your process will look like are other good ways to spend this time.
- Dossiers are still being sent to the CCCWA and log in dates are being issued.
- Only a handful of LOAs have been received.
- TAs are only being issued for aging out kids. Remember that TAs are only valid for 90 days. It doesn’t make sense for China to issue them if people are unable to travel.
- There was one shared list release in early January, before things got really crazy in China.
- There was also one non-special focus list released in early February.
- Other than that, there have basically been no new files made available. Presumably the pandemic closures in China will have an impact on the creation of new files for several months.
- For families who were close to travel when things shut down in China, there is no end in sight for the completion of their adoptions.
- Intercountry adoption depends on families being able to enter China as well as return to the United States. Your child must be able to obtain a visa while you are in China to be able to travel home with you.
- Earlier this week, President Trump said that he was placing a 60 day suspension of immigration to the United States. An exception is included in Section 2 for minors immigrating through adoption. So, if anyone were to be able to travel within the next two months, this would not cause a problem for your child.
What to expect in the future? That is anyone’s guess. I think that there will be very few international adoptions in 2020. Even when businesses and agencies begin to open, they may not be working at typical speed and there will be a backlog. It is uncertain how many new files will become available in China over the next few months. Finally, as my last post discussed how financially precarious most adoption agencies are, I think we can only expect more agencies to close. Most of these agencies have zero resources available to weather a year with very few adoptions. If you do decide to begin an adoption at this time, choose your placing agency carefully. Having your placing agency close in the middle of an adoption is both expensive and disruptive to your process.