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International Adoption: Orphan Home Study
(Orphan Intercountry Adoption Immigration)

Intercountry Adoption Immigration

Orphan Home Study International Adoption Immigration Intercountry Adoption

International Money Transfer - International Money Order
THIS ARTICLE

Orphan Home Study Preparer Qualifications
An orphan home study preparer is any party licensed or otherwise authorized under the law of the State of the orphan’s proposed residence to conduct the research including the required personal interview(s) and preparation for a home study. Orphan home study preparers include:

  • A public agency with authority under that State’s law in adoption matters
  • Public or private adoption agencies licensed or otherwise authorized by the laws of that State to place children for adoption
  • Organizations or individuals licensed or otherwise authorized to conduct the research and preparation for a home study to include the required personal interview(s), under the laws of the State of the orphan’s proposed residence

In the case of an orphan whose adoption has been finalized abroad and whose adoptive parents reside abroad:

  • The orphan home study preparer includes any party licensed or otherwise authorized to conduct home studies under the law of any State of the United States
  • Any party licensed or otherwise authorized by the foreign country’s adoption authorities to conduct home studies under the laws of the foreign country


Orphan Home Study Validity

  • The orphan home study must be submitted within one year of the filing date of the I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition
  • The orphan home study, or most recent update to the home study, must not be more than 6 months old at the time it is submitted to USCIS
  • If an update is submitted, a full copy of the original home study must accompany the update
  • Once an orphan home study is submitted, it will not have to be updated unless there is a significant change (including but not limited to) residence, marital status, criminal history, financial resources, and/or the addition of one or more children or other dependents to the family prior to the orphan’s immigration into the United States


Orphan Home Study Requirements
During personal interviews and home study visits, the orphan home study preparer must:

  • Conduct at least one interview in person
  • Conduct at least one home visit with the prospective adoptive couple or the unmarried prospective adoptive parent
  • Conduct at least one interview in person with any adult member of the prospective adoptive parents’ household
  • State the number of interviews conducted
  • State the number of home visits
  • Summarize any other contact with the prospective adoptive parents and any adult member of the prospective adoptive parent’s household


Assessment to Parent an Orphan Properly
During an assessment of the prospective adoptive parent(s) to parent the orphan properly, the home study preparer must:

  • Make an initial assessment of the physical, mental, and emotional health of the prospective adoptive parents
  • Include the preparer’s assessment of potential problem areas, a copy of any outside evaluation(s), and the home study preparer’s recommended restrictions (if any) on the characteristics of the child placed in the home
  • Make a referral to an appropriate licensed professional for evaluation, if beyond the home study preparer’s expertise
  • Apply all requirements to each adult member of the prospective adoptive parent’s household


Financial Assessment
The financial assessment must include:

  • A description of the income, financial resources, debts, and expenses of the prospective adoptive parents
  • A statement concerning the evidence that was considered to verify the source and amount of income and financial resources
  • Proof that income designated for the support of children in the care and custody of prospective adoptive parent(s), or any income designated for the support of another member of the household will not be counted towards the financial resources available for the support of the prospective orphan

USCIS may also request detailed financial statements or supporting financial documents.


Criminal History, History of Abuse and/or Violence

These requirements apply to any adult member of the household.

In screening for abuse and/or violence, the orphan home study preparer must:

  • Check any available child abuse registry for each of the prospective adoptive parent(s) and for each adult member of the prospective adoptive parent’s household
  • Annotate in the home study if the State will not release the information to either the home study preparer or the prospective adoptive parent(s) or an adult household member

In addition, the orphan home study preparer must:

  • Ask each prospective adoptive parent whether he or she has a history of substance abuse, sexual or child abuse, or domestic violence, even if it did not result in an arrest or conviction; the response to each question must be included in the home study
  • Ask any additional adult member(s) of the household whether he or she has a history of substance abuse, sexual or child abuse, or domestic violence, even if it did not result in an arrest or conviction; the response to each question must be included in the home study
  • Receive full disclosure by each adult member of the household of any criminal arrest and/or previous conviction

The orphan home study evaluation must include:

  • Information concerning all arrests and/or convictions, history of any substance abuse, history of any sexual or child abuse, and/or history of any domestic violence along with the date of each occurrence
  • A certified copy of the documentation showing final disposition of any incident which resulted in arrest, indictment, conviction and/or any judicial judgment or administrative action
  • A signed statement from the prospective adoptive parent(s) giving details including mitigating circumstances (if any) about each incident

In making a favorable decision regarding evidence of rehabilitation, when the adoptive parent(s) has a criminal history or history of substance abuse, sexual or child abuse, and/or domestic violence, the orphan home study preparer must include:

  • A discussion of rehabilitation which demonstrates that the prospective adoptive parent(s) will be able to provide proper care for the orphan
  • An evaluation of the seriousness or the arrest(s), conviction(s), and/or history of abuse
  • The number of such incidents
  • The length of time since the last incident
  • Any counseling or rehabilitation programs which have been successfully completed
  • Evidence of rehabilitation by an appropriate licensed professional (if any)
  • All facts and circumstances which were considered
  • Home study preparer’s reasons for a favorable home study decision


Failure to Disclose
Failure to disclose information by the adoptive parent(s) or any adult member of the household concerning all arrests and/or convictions, history of any substance abuse, history of any sexual or child abuse, and/or history of any domestic violence along with the date of each occurrence to either the home preparer or to USCIS, may result in the denial of the advanced processing application and orphan petition.


Previous Rejection for Adoption and/or Prior Unfavorable Home Study
If the prospective adoptive parent(s) has previously been rejected or received an unfavorable home study, the home preparer must:

  • Obtain the reason for such findings
  • Attach a copy of each previous rejection and/or unfavorable home study to accompany the favorable home study
  • Apply requirements to any adult member of the household


Living Accommodations
The orphan home study must include:

  • A detailed description of the current living accommodations and if moving, the intended accommodations (if known)
  • If the prospective parent(s) reside abroad, a description of the living accommodations where the child will reside in the United States (if known)
  • An assessment of the suitability of accommodations
  • A determination of whether or not the space meets the applicable state requirements (if any)


Handicapped or Special Needs Orphan
The orphan home study must include a discussion of the preparation, willingness, and the ability of the prospective adoptive parent(s) to provide proper care for a child with a handicap or special needs.

  • Sample Wording for Known Special Needs Condition of a Child
    “Bradley and Susan are seeking to adopt one female child from Country X, age 0-4 years with mild to moderate special needs. Child X, who was born on June 1, 2007, has the minor special need of congenital heart defect and ASD, or atrial septal defect. The Smith's have reviewed the child's medical records and consulted with medical professionals, including those who work in the field of international adoption medicine. Having done the research on this medical condition, they feel well prepared to parent a child with this special need and would like pursue the adoption of this child.”

  • Sample Wording for Unknown Special Needs of an Unknown Child
    “Bradley and Susan are seeking to adopt one female child from Country X, age 0-4 years with mild to moderate special needs.  Both Bradley and Susan have experience and training working with children having various special needs. Bradley and Susan have the preparation, willingness, and ability to parent a child with special needs.”


Counseling Given and Planned

The counseling summary must include: 

  • A discussion of the processing of expenses and the difficulties and delays associated with international adoptions
  • Any plans for post placement counseling


Approval for Adoption

The orphan home study must include:

  • The home study preparer’s specific approval
  • A discussion of the reasons for approval
  • The number of orphans that may be adopted
  • If there are any specific restrictions such as, nationality, age or gender of the orphan
  • If the prospective adoptive parent(s) are approved for a handicapped or a special needs adoption
  • The original signature of the preparer/agency completing the recommendation


Orphan Home Study Preparer’s Authority

The orphan home study preparer must be licensed or otherwise authorized to conduct home studies in the State of the orphan’s proposed residence if the prospective adoptive parent(s) reside in the United States.

In the case of an orphan whose adoption was finalized abroad, and whose adoptive parent(s) reside abroad:

  • The home study preparer must certify he or she is licensed or otherwise authorized to conduct home studies under the law of ANY State of the United States, or authorized by the adoption authorities of the foreign country to conduct home studies under the laws of the foreign country
  • The statement must cite the State or country under whose authority the home study preparer is licensed or authorized, the specific law or regulation authorizing the preparer, and the authorization expiration date (if any)


Review of the Home Study

  • If the prospective adoptive parent(s) reside in a State which requires the State to review the home study, such review must occur and be documented before the home study is submitted to USCIS
  • If the prospective adoptive parent(s) reside abroad, an appropriate public or private adoption agency (licensed or otherwise authorized by any U.S. State that places children for adoptions) must review and favorably recommend the home study before it is submitted to USCIS


Orphan Home Study Update
If a home study is more than 6 months old at the time of submission USCIS, it must be accompanied by an update.


Orphan Home Study Amendments
If at any time there have been any significant changes prior to the child’s arrival, additional information will be requested that includes but is not limited to the following:

  • The prospective adoptive parent(s) current residence
  • The prospective adoptive parent(s) marital status
  • Any criminal history or abuse regarding the prospective adoptive parent(s)
  • The prospective adoptive parent(s) current financial resources
  • Any Information regarding the addition of one or more children or other dependents
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