What are AWAA's requirements for adoption?

Agency Adoption Requirements

These intake eligibility requirements are a combination of agency, foreign country and immigration requirements and are used to help us determine potential eligibility for an adoption in a foreign country. 

   1.  Prospective adoptive families and orphans must meet eligibility requirements of the country from which they are adopting, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and their respective state laws.

   2.  One parent must be at least 25 yrs. old to be accepted into an international program. Please check specific age requirements for China, Haiti & the Domestic Program, as their age requirements vary from this. 

   3.  Prospective parents can not have more than two (2) divorces per person. Two (2) will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

   4.  Prospective parents must be married for one (1) year before applying to AWAA. Single applicants who become engaged while in process will be required to suspend their adoption and reapply as a married couple one year after the marriage. Please check       specific program requirements as they may vary.

   5.  Single males are not permitted to adopt through AWAA.

   6.  Chronic illnesses, history of cancer, and other health concerns are reviewed on a case by case basis and in conjunction with country specific requirements. 

   7.  Families being treated for mental health conditions including depression and anxiety will be evaluated on a case by case basis. We encourage families to check the specific requirements of the particular program(s) of their interest for further details.

   8.  When applying, if you are pregnant, or have a child less than 6 months of age, you will be required to complete a concurrent family building application in addition to your adoption application. 

   9.  Families who are in the process of adopting who become pregnant or desire to start a concurrent adoption will be considered on a case by case basis. Approval is based on the country requirements of both the family’s adoption program and the adoption program of interest, a social worker's recommendation and agency approval. 

 10.  One or both prospective parents must agree and initial America World's Statement of Faith.

 11.  A prospective adoptive family, who has previously adopted, may apply for a subsequent adoption. The requirements of the application are dependent upon the family’s post adoptive stage. Families who have finalized an adoption in under six months will be required to submit a Concurrent Family Building Application along with their full application. Acceptance into the program is dependent upon the social worker’s recommendation and America World’s approval. Families who have been home for six months or more may apply without submitting the Concurrent Family Building Application once a favorable six month Post Adoption report has been received, reviewed and approved. 

 12.  If prospective parents are applying for a subsequent adoption with AWAA, timeliness of post adoption/post placement reports and AWAA's working relationship with the family during the previous adoption(s) will be taken into consideration in determination of eligibility. 

 13.  Police involvement and/or criminal record will be considered on a case by case basis and in conjunction with the country's requirements.

 14.  Any illegal drug usage will be considered on a case by case basis and in conjunction with the country's requirements.

 15.  A family’s financial history is assessed to include assets, liabilities, net worth, income, and expenses. Additional financial information may be needed to determine a family’s eligibility. Please check the specific country requirements as they may vary.

 16.  America World provides home studies and other social services ONLY for the following purposes: international adoption, hosting, domestic adoption (where permitted by local licensing standards), foster care (where permitted by local licensing standards), and post adoption/post placement reports. America World is not equipped to conduct home studies for purposes of child custody disputes or other legal matters not related to aforementioned purposes. Individuals seeking these services should contact their local Domestic Relations Court for more information.

 17.  As part of the intake process, additional information may be required to determine eligibility. Failure to disclose important information may affect client’s eligibility. Please see note below.

Note:   Applicants are expected to disclose any issues regarding health, criminal background, history of physical and sexual abuse, bankruptcy, financial stability, disabilities and special needs. Non-disclosure will impair America World’s ability to assess your eligibility and serve you. Please call the office or email (info@awaa.org) if you have questions or concerns about these items affecting your eligibility. 

Note:   Families who are eligible for multiple discounts (i.e. second time adopters, who are associates or a pastor adopting a special needs child) will receive the highest discount for which they are eligible but the discounts are not cumulative.

Can I meet with America World in person?

We have online webinars dozens of times a year & occasional events across the nation. Check the Upcoming Events page for information about any currently scheduled opportunities to meet with our staff.

We also meet with people on a one on one basis and provide them the same information that we would give out at a webinar. If you would be interested in this, you can contact us to set up a time. We are very open and non-competitive in nature. 

Choosing an adoption agency is an extremely personal choice and a good match depends as much on the program offered as the personality compatibility between the agency/organization and the parent(s). You should be asking as many questions as you can. In fact, we believe that the more information you have the better decision you will make in regard to the agency you choose.

Does America World work with people outside their local area?

The fees for local and out-of-state families are the same, and we work with families all over the country. Although that means people in other states do not get to meet us face-to-face, we still guide and assist you via phone & email through all the adoption stages. We often have people fax or email us a document to make sure it has been authenticated correctly, or email/call to check on various aspects of the process.

We are here for all our families. See our State Office pages for more information on the states in which America World is licensed to complete home studies. If we are not licensed by your state, we can still act as the placing agency for the adoption, but will recommend other partner home study organizations for you to complete that portion of the process.

Do I need to be an American citizen to adopt a child through America World?

It is required that at least one of the parents be an American citizen for the adoption to be legitimately processed through us. The adoption is based on the qualification of the parent who is a U.S. citizen.

Do I need to be a Christian?

We are a Christian-based organization and work with people from a myriad of backgrounds, cultures, denominations and perspectives. We do not consider a parent's background, culture, denomination or perspective an exclusionary factor to adopt a child, but we do request that at least one parent agree to the Statement of Faith found on the AWAA application.

Are there requirements for the health of the parents?

America World & adoptive countries have some requirements regarding health. There is a physician's form in our dossier guidelines, which lists everything we require your doctor to evaluate. Generally, each country will not refer children to individuals with infectious diseases. If this is a concern to you speak with our Intake Department or the individual conducting your home study. They will have the specific criteria upon which your health status will be evaluated. Every country has different levels of acceptable medical conditions, so please visit the requirements section of each program to see specifics.

Are there any age criteria to adopt?

Yes. Each country has its own age requirements. See the Programs page for more information and click the "Requirements" link on the left menu.

Are there any restrictions for people who are divorced?

To adopt you cannot have been divorced more than two times. Married couples are required to be married for more than one year before adopting. Please review our Agency Adoption Requirements for a complete listing of America World adoption requirements.

If I have any arrests, charges, convictions, or anything on my record (even expunged) will is preclude me from adopting?

Not necessarily.  If you have been arrested on a felony charge, it does preclude you from adopting in China.  If you have an arrest involving drugs, it must be at least 15 years old and will be taken on a case-by-case basis.  If you are applying for an adoption from China, any arrest involving alcohol must be at least 5 years old.  If you have any police involvement with drug charges, it can only be for marijuana and it must be at least 15 years old.  Any other misdemeanor charges will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Please contact our Intake Department with any questions.

Does America World help American families adopt while living abroad?

Yes, American citizens can adopt while living abroad and America World has assisted families living in various countries around the world. There is an extensive amount of research a family should complete prior to applying for a specific program. Prospective families should reference the National Council for Adoption’s (NCFA) Adoption Advocate Article No. 49 “Adoption Resources for Americans Living Abroad” and contact our Intake Department with any additional questions.

What are the ages of the children being adopted?

See the Programs page for more information and click the "Requirements" link on the left menu to see the ages of children available.

Are the children healthy?

All of our programs have healthy children available. However, it must be clarified that in international adoption, children are referred to as "healthy" if they are not known to have a significant medical/emotional condition. "Healthy" children often have effects of institutionalization which can include malnutrition, delayed development, and other minor medical conditions such as ricketts and scabies. Many of the effects of institutionalization diminish after a child is placed in a home and receives love, attention, medical care and proper nutrition. Older children & children with repaired medical conditions may also be considered healthy. Several of our programs have a Waiting Child Program. See the Waiting Children home page for more information on waiting children from China, Ethiopia, and other countries.

How long does it take to complete an adoption?

Each country/program has different timeframes. Typically, the Waiting Child Program has the shortest timeframes. See the Programs page under "Processing Time" to learn how long it takes to adopt from a specific country.

What are my first steps in the adoption process?

There is certainly a lot of information to consider when choosing which country is the best fit for your family. We hope you will take a moment to browse through our website and read about the process, requirements, cost, and travel information for each country. If you have questions not answered by this information, please contact our Intake Department to learn more. 

Once you have chosen a country to adopt from, fill out the America World Application, providing the requested information. Our Intake Department will be in touch with you within 2-4 business days to let you know how to proceed. Once you are accepted into a program, you will be a assigned a Family Coordinator who will assist you though the remainder of the process.

Does America World conduct the home study?

Click here see a list of the states in which we are licensed to complete home studies. In addition to these states, America World is in the process of becoming licensed in several other states. Our State Offices pages give a detailed look at the process in our licensed states. Individuals living in these states should contact their local America World office for information regarding a home study.

If one is not listed for your state please contact our Intake Department to find out who conducts America World home studies in your state. You can then call and ask for a cost estimate for only a home study from our partner agency. Be sure to ask what their estimate includes and what it does not include.

Also, countries require 2 or more post placement reports so when you are getting price quotes, make sure the agency includes the price for the post placement visits in their quote. Our intake department will need to approve any home study agency before moving forward. After you have been approved, we can then step in and process the international component of the adoption.

Why does adoption cost so much?

It is true, adopting a child should be free. Unfortunately an international adoption is quite a complicated legal process. During your adoption process, you (and the agency you are adopting through) will be working with a myriad of entities. These include foreign governments, the USCIS department, county and state authorities, as well as the federal level State Department (not to mention the numerous notaries you will need, police checks, medical reports and social services evaluations).

There are many people who spend a lot of time working to adequately prepare the legal procedures for the adoption process, and it ultimately ends up costing quite a bit of money. When you receive our information booklet, you are provided a complete breakdown of the costs involved. We include estimates for every cost you will encounter. Although most of the money you pay to other entities, not to us, we still include them in our estimate so that you can know realistically all the costs you will be responsible for during the adoption. Please note that the most up-to-date cost breakdowns are listed on our website for each program.

What financial assistance is available for prospective parents?

The cost of adoption may seem overwhelming, but there are many organizations that work with families to assist with the expenses. We have a list of these organizations on our Financing Adoption page. Please contact these organizations for information on what they offer.

Are there any discounts available?

Pastor’s Discount:
One of the two spouses or the single applicant must be a part-time or full time minister (20-40 hours per week) as defined by the IRS and the combined income of both spouses must be $70,000 or less. If they meet these requirements, they will receive 10% off of their program fees for the country from which they are adopting. 

Military Discount:

One of the two spouses or the single applicant must be in a branch of the military on active duty, and the combined income of both spouses must be $70,000 or less. If they meet these requirements, they will receive 10% off of their program fees for the country from which they are adopting. 

Second Adoption Discount:
If the family is adopting through America World for a second, third, fourth, etc. time, they are eligible for 10% off of their program fees, regardless of the country from which they are adopting.

If families are eligible for multiple discounts, they will receive the highest discount they are eligible for, but the discounts will not be cumulative.

Is the application fee refundable?

The application fee is non-refundable. The purpose of sending in the application and paying the application fee is for our Intake & Social Services Department to determine eligibility for the country in which you are applying for an adoption.  There are several steps and much time that goes into determining eligibility.  In addition, if you are denied for some reason, additional resources are investigated and offered as alternative options.

America World also offers a free pre-application to determine basic eligibility. The information provided is minimal but helps families who have concerns about country/program requirements know if they are eligible.