The Barker Adoption Foundation’s international adoption experience spans four decades and includes placing children from Latin America, Asia, and Eastern Europe.
In 1998, Barker's existing international program was augmented by the addition of the American Adoption Agency, another Washington, D.C.-based agency. It managed established international programs, including one in India, for many years.
Prospective adoptive parents considering an international adoption are encouraged to attend one of Barker’s general adoption information meetings to get to know our staff and the services we provide. Click to view Barker's Event Calendar to register for an upcoming session. If you do not live near or are unable to travel to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area for the information meeting, you are always welcome to call Barker to discuss international adoption services.
The Children in need of adoptive families may range from:
- Children who generally are in good health. The quality of health care and the availability of information vary widely depending on the particular country and/or institution. Families receive a medical report on their child that explains the child’s known health condition.
- Children with known medical conditions ranging from mild and/or correctible to more severe needs. Their reports may include information about additional testing done to provide more information about their medical needs.
- Children up to 16 years old, depending on their birth country; sibling groups in some countries*
- Children living in orphanages or foster-family settings
- Children for whom there is less than full knowledge about their birth parents and social and medical histories (the amount of knowledge available largely depends on the birth country)
Barker Services, Process, and Timeline
If after attending a Barker information meeting or speaking with a Barker international program staff member, you decide that Barker is a good fit for your adoption plans, the next step is to submit an application. Our clinical team meets weekly to review applications received. The clinical specialist contacts you within a few days to explore additional questions or to arrange for an initial meeting.
All adoptive parents participate in an application interview, which is both clinical and administrative in nature. During that meeting, Barker staff will also explore the prospective adoptive parents’ motivation and initial preparedness to adopt.
Barker’s staff will also share information about our comprehensive process, the needs of the children, and the paperwork requirements for the home study and/or placement services. Here is a look at the general process and timeline for Barker’s international adoption programs.
Here are the general steps and timing for International Adoption at Barker:
Though there are many children who are waiting for families, the wait time to adopt a child can be lengthy and varies by country. Please see the detailed information about individual country programs to get a sense of how long the average wait might be when you begin the adoption process.
Because the wait can be an anxious time, Barker staff members are available to offer you support and information. Waiting Parents Meetings also are helpful and provide support, resources, and the opportunity to meet other prospective adoptive families during the waiting period. These meetings are held approximately every six weeks and focus on topics of interest to adoptive families. Often there are guest speakers, including legal and medical professionals, early intervention specialists, and adoptive families who share their experience and information about their journey in adopting their children.
With guidance, advice, and assistance from Barker staff, parents adopting internationally travel abroad to meet and welcome home their child. While in country, families are assisted by Barker staff, staff from our partner agency, or Barker-arranged guides or translators.
Traveling to their child’s birth country to complete the adoption gives parents a valuable opportunity to see and experience the place that has been their child's home and to begin to further develop an appreciation for their child's heritage. The number and length of trips required varies by country program.
Barker continues to support each adoptive family after they arrive home with their child. Immediately on return and for at least the following 12 months, a Barker social worker spends time with each family, providing support, assistance, and information during this critical transition and bonding period. Also, during this post-placement period, each family provides Barker with medical updates and progress reports. Additional visits may occur because of specific country requirements and the needs of the child and family. Barker’s highly attended and respected new-parent support groups and workshops also are available as a form of additional support to new adoptive families.
After the formal post-placement period ends, Barker invites families to continue to engage with the wider Barker community. Local families are invited to take advantage of educational and social activities with other adoptive parents and their children. It is particularly valuable for children to have contact with other children adopted from the same country. For families who live outside the immediate area, Barker can help find similar support that is local to them. Barker also provides support groups for all adoptive families and their children and offers opportunities for social interaction, including an annual family picnic. Click to learn more about the support groups.
For a summary of adoptive parent eligibility, the adoption process, considerations, and more, please review this chart. For information about international adoption fees, please review this chart.
* Barker is currently only placing children under seven years of age through our international programs. Exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis.