July 27, 2007, Newsletter Issue #108: Accepting a Referral

Tip of the Week

When adopting parents receive a referral, they should carefully examine the information given to them. It is especially important to consider the child's medical history and orphan status. Adopting parents should find out as much as possible about the child who was referred to them. If they have any questions, they should consult their adoption professional.

The adoption professional may be able to gather more information from the child's country if it is needed. In many cases the adoption agency will have the child's information translated for the family. If the information is not translated, a professional translator or a local college student who is fluent in the language can be contacted for help. Many international adoption agencies also work with physicians who specialize in reviewing the medical status of international adoption candidates.

Parents should consult a physician to help them understand the child's medical records and what implications there may be. Parents must also consider the age of the child and how long he or she has been in an orphanage. Children who have lived in orphanages are at risk for developmental delays. A great deal of the time children catch up developmentally when they are placed in secure and loving homes, but sometimes children will need personal assistance for a long time.

Overall, the family must feel comfortable caring for and parenting this child before they should accept the referral. It is also important to consider that turning down multiple returns for insignificant reasons will not fare well with the country of adoption. When adopting parents accept a referral, they will fill out a placement agreement. This document states that the parents have agreed to have the particular child placed in their home. The adoption agency will then give the parents their child's legal documents including a birth certificate and proof that the child is eligible for adoption.

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