“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
~Proverbs 13:12, NIV~
How Do I Start The Process?
CONTACT OUR OFFICE
CALL US: Our phone number is (806) 351-1100. We can explain the programs to you in detail and you can decide whether the program suits your family and if you qualify for the program. There are no fees associated with contacting us for information and we are here to answer all of your preadoptive questions. If it is decided that your family qualifies for one of our programs you may submit your application to us immediately!
SUBMITTING YOUR APPLICATION AND PROGRAM REGISTRATION
To apply with our program you will need to submit your application along with a photo of your family. The application fees are $250 to get your adoption process started. Please remit any program registration or foreign program starting fees at this time as well. Once we receive your application and fees due with the application, we shall begin the adoption documentation process.
START IMMIGRATION PROCESSING
File your I-600A with the USCIS, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (former Immigration and Naturalization Service) In order to bring a child from another country into the United States for the purpose of adoption, you must comply with the laws, requirements, and regulations of the USCIS and those of the child's country. You will be required to meet financial requirements. Your household income must equal or exceed 125% (100% for active military) of the Federal poverty line for your household size. The family size includes the child you are to adopt. The information on this is located on the Affidavit of support form that is included on your I600A package.
The forms you need to fill out and file will be an I600A. The I600 and I864 is processed overseas but will be included in the I600A packet. You may get I600A packets by calling 1-800-870-3676 and ask for the I-600A form package by mail from the USCIS or by downloading and printing the forms. Call LMI to get specific instructions on how to fill out forms. Call our office, sometimes we have forms available! The I600A form, or "Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition" must be filed at your local INS office. This petition must be approved before any child can enter the US for immigration purposes.
You can speed up this process by submitting the I600A without your home study. You need to include a cover sheet with name, address, phone number, dates of birth and social security numbers of the couple/single applying. This cover sheet should also state that the home study will follow. Also another tip that has helped expedite the process in the past, on the cover sheet put a fax number where you can be informed of your fingerprinting appointment, and state what the purpose of the fax number is for. Not all offices will fax the appointment but if they will, it will save days! If you submit your I600A without the home study you need to be sure to include all the other additional supporting documentation. USCIS will allow a photocopy of this additional documentation as long as you provide them with a signed statement that "these are true photocopies of the original documents."
In addition to these papers you will be required to be fingerprinted, to be processed by the FBI and also any adult living in your home over the age of 18 will have to submit fingerprints as well. Only INS fingerprinting locations can be used. You will be notified of your fingerprint appointment shortly after you submit your I600A.
To submit the I600A you will need to send to the USCIS, copies of both parents' birth certificates, marriage license, and divorce decrees when applicable. Include a money order or bank cashiers check for $525 for the application, and $70 for each person to be fingerprinted that is over 18 that lives with you.
Where to file? This will tell you which local office you should file your petition in.
The wait for approval from the USCIS often tests your patience. Generally approvals take about 6 weeks, but many INS offices are backlogged and can take several months for approval. When you get your I171H approval in the mail, please read it to make sure the American Embassy visa section in the correct country has been cabled to notify them of your approval. If your approval has been over 2 months in coming, please contact our office for instruction.
OBTAIN A HOME STUDY
Families who are adopting internationally must have an approved Adoption Study (homestudy) completed by a licensed agency/agent in their state of residence. When you choose an agency, we suggest that you ask how much education you will receive on adopting internationally, the fees for the study and the fees for post placement reports.
If you live in the Texas panhandle we can conduct this study for you.
We have specific guidelines outlined for the home study agent, please consult our Home Study Guide for more information, if you do not have this guide please request it from us. The homestudy must reflect an approval for the country of your choice or state for "international" adoption. In order to speed your process, do not be very restrictive on age, sex or number of children you hope to adopt. Sometimes people change their minds in the middle of the process, if this happens you will need an updated homestudy done.
If you have a previous domestic home study, or a previous international home study, it will need to be updated. Every home study from the State of Texas, over 6 months old, will have to have an update if placement has not occurred by the end of the 6 months. This is a Texas State law our agency adheres to.
All home studies submitted from outside our agency will be reviewed by the LMI social worker for approval.
APPLY FOR A US PASSPORT
If you do not already have a passport, apply now! Instructions for application can be found at any US Post Office. Passports generally take 6-8 weeks to return back to you. You will need an original certified birth certificate to apply.
GATHER DOSSIER DOCUMENTS
See your program information for specifics on dossier documents you need to gather for your adoption. Once your dossier documents are complete your next payment will be due.
ACCEPT A REFERRAL
Once you accept a referral or about to travel, your next installment payment will be due.
OBTAIN ENTRY VISA
For some countries you will be required to obtain a letter of invitation and an entry visa. Please contact our office for specific instructions.
PREPARE TO TRAVEL
Contact LMI to help you make your travel arrangements, or you may also book your own travel. Make sure you contact us for specific instructions. We will give you a packing list to help you as well. Remember you must bring the remainder of your fees in cash with you on your adoption journey. Be sure to take all contact numbers with you.