International Christian Adopti...

International Christian Adoption

International Christian Adoptions has placed thousands of children since its founding in 1990. Located in Temecula, CA, the agency works in over 10 countries in addition to its domestic program placing infants and foster children across the U.S. ICA is fully licensed in California and North Carolina and is also Hague and B.I.A. accredited. The organization operates many support services in addition to its adoption program, including humanitarian aid, peace trips, counseling services, and networking with other organizations with similar goals. Specifically, it provides relief services to foreign and domestic orphanages and residential facilities and runs international foreign exchange programs.  

The Good

  • Domestic program
  • International adoption
  • Other programs
Domestic Program

For adoptive parents seeking an infant as healthy as possible, the New Beginnings infant program would be the way to go. All levels of openness are facilitated in this program and agency workers help all parties come to a shared understanding of expectations of contact. Birth parents select adoptive parents among those who are home study approved. Once matched, a social worker coordinates communication between all parties and adoptive parents can take custody of the infant after he or she is released from the hospital following relinquishment. The amount of time needed to complete the process varies from state to state, and parents must complete 32 hours of adoption training.

Fees paid to the agency are the same regardless of the state where the adoption takes place, and they are extremely reasonable. Additional fees may be needed to pay additional travel and legal fees. The fees are due in parts as follows:

  • Preliminary Application: $500 ($400 is refundable within 30 days)
  • Formal Information Packet/Contract: $3,500
  • Paperwork Submission: $3,200
  • Birthmother Services at Match: $3,250
  • Remaining Birthmother Services & Placement Fee: $9,250
  • Estimated total: $19,700 (the above includes home study costs)

By California state law, and in many other states, birthparents may contact an agency and regain custody of a child within 24 hours after relinquishment has been signed. In this event, fees paid to ICA can be rolled over as a credit to a new matching situation.

International Adoption

ICA is registered to place adoptions in Bulgaria, India, Latvia, Philippines, Poland, and Taiwan. They also do home studies and work with other organizations to help families adopt through Hungary, Ukraine, China, and Africa. Though international fees vary widely based on the country, standard fees include:

  • Preliminary Application: $500 ($400 is refundable within 30 days)
  • Application: $720
  • International Home Study: $4,500
  • Dossier: $1000-2000
  • Post-Placement Services: $2,500

Clients can expect to pay $10,000 for the fees listed above, and several thousand more for the various expenses specific to the country they are working with. Other agencies that ICA networks with may do the actual placing and have their own fee schedules and expectations. Finance workers at ICA are available for more specific estimates.

Other Programs

ICA has some programs to offer children post-adoption. For a fee (generally $230 per class), children can participate in group sessions in expressive and theatrical arts, connectedness, anxiety, trauma, and a host of other topical classes -even drumming! Other services include assessments, evaluations, in-home behavioral coaching, and tutoring.

America's Orphans is a program that places difficult-to-place children from the foster care system into permanent homes. These children may have physical, emotional, or social limitations. They are usually over 4 years of age and may be in siblings groups. Financial and medical incentives are available, making the adoption process very affordable and providing ongoing support for these adopted children. Journey of Hope is a foster care program for children who are homeless, abandoned, disenfranchised. Many come from war torn and civil unrest environments.

Respite care is available through ICA and ranges from a few hours to a month. This service is offered if a child is in transition between foster and adoptive placement or needs a break from current placement.

Welcome Home is a program for foster kids in the USA as well as waiting children in Latvia and the Philippines who have been orphaned or abandoned. They stay at host families for a weekend + a week (USA children) or 3-6 weeks (international children).

The Bad

  • Wait times
  • Christian families only

Wait times can be extensive, especially in the international program. For example, in Bulgaria, it usually takes more than 2 years after a dossier is submitted to receive a referral for a child age 6 or younger. In another country with different requirements, the wait could be a matter of months. After referral, the wait could be as little as 3-6 months before placement. Clients should understand this sometimes heart-wrenching range of wait times before proceeding. Multiple trips to the country are often required for legal purposes and to provide cultural understanding and context for the adoptive family. Basically, international adoptions, including those with ICA, involve a heavy investment of time, money, and patience.

As one can gather from the name, International Christian Adoptions facilitates adoptions within Christian families only. The agency gauges religiosity based on answers to questions and references about family religious practices and church involvement. This requirement precludes many individuals and couples who would otherwise be eager to adopt with ICA.

The Bottom Line

For the global-minded, there might not be a better agency to work with - there aren't many organizations that provide relief services to orphanages, residential facilities, and transition homes in addition to adoption. Individuals can participate in a host of ICA's outreach efforts to familiarize themselves with the many ways to assist children internationally. Prospective adoptive families can participate as hosts in an exchange program before committing to adoption. The price for ICA's domestic infant adoption is hard to beat. ICA is also a great option because of its extensive support groups and other services for children and families post-adoption.

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