Postplacement Requirements and Services
After your child has arrived, make an appointment with your physician for a general evaluation. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that the physical include hemoglobin/hematocritin and red blood cell indices, urinalysis, blood lead level, vision and hearing testing, dental examination, and screening for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, syphilis, tuberculosis, and intestinal parasites. The International Adoption Clinic at the University of Minnesota (612/624-1164) has a complete list of recommended screenings for children placed for adoption from abroad.
Once your child is brought to the United States, you must consider readoption issues. If your child was issued an IR-3 immigrant visa, you are not required under Federal law to readopt the child, although your State adoption law may require you to do so, or you may feel more comfortable doing so. If your child entered the United States in the IR-4 visa category, Federal regulations require you to adopt the child in the State of your residence, regardless of whether any type of adoption might have occurred overseas.
After a successful postplacement period during which agency staff will monitor the child's adjustment in your home, the agency will write a recommendation for adoption to be filed with the court. This recommendation, along with the child's documents, proof of at least one parent's U.S. citizenship, proof that the child was under 16 when adopted, and a petition to finalize adoption must be filed in your local juvenile or family court. (Note: An amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act provides that a foreign child age 16 or 17 qualifies as a child for purposes of adoption if adopted by U.S. parents with or after a sibling who younger than 16.) The adoption process may take several months, and it is recommended that parents hire a knowledgeable attorney to coordinate the adoption process.
Many adoption agencies mandate postplacement services for client families for a set amount of time "ranging from six months to three or more years" after the child has been placed. These services provide counseling for the new family, observe the child's adjustment to the new home, and supply parents with information and referrals. Many foreign countries also require postplacement supervision for six months to two years to ensure that the child has been well-placed and is receiving adequate care and love. For this reason, your agency may ask you to furnish photographs, written reports, and medical reports to send to your child's country of origin. As part of postplacement, many agencies have organized support groups for new adoptive parents. If your agency does not have such a group, it may be able to refer you to one in your community.
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