Lifeline’s Distinctives on the Roadmap to Adoption


The July 24, 2019 episode of The Defender Podcast featured Josh Caldwell, Lifeline’s VP of International Programs, and Karla Thrasher, Lifeline’s International Adoption Director, as they shared their knowledge and heart for international adoption.

Josh noted that one deterrent to families pursuing adoption is being fearful of the process because their questions have gone unanswered. Lifeline’s informational meetings and webinars are a beginning source to answering questions, but our staff desires to talk with you about any questions you may have.

The following “Roadmap to Adoption” highlights the major steps for an international adoption process. Although each country will vary from one another in the specifics, these general steps are the same:

  • Pre-Application: Completing the pre-application online allows families to give brief information so that Lifeline can connect with them to discuss the family’s interest and desires. The pre-application is free.
    • Lifeline Distinction: Lifeline is committed to walking with families and holding their hands throughout the entire process—before the application to after the adoption is complete. The staff prays for families, celebrates with them, cries with them, and seeks to develop a loving relationship through the process.
  • Application: The full application gathers in-depth information from families who wish to enter an international adoption program. At this stage the application fee of $300 is the first payment of the process.
    • Lifeline Distinctive: Lifeline has programs in 18 countries, and they all work together to help families find the best fit for them—even if it means a family applies for a program and transfers to a different one down the road.
  • Home Study: During this part of the process, social workers and families will talk extensively about various aspects of a family’s life such as finances, health, home life, capacity for care, and overall well-being. In addition, families will be part of specific training for how to parent children from trauma backgrounds.
    • Lifeline Distinctive: Lifeline is strongly adamant about making sure families are as prepared as possible for parenting a child from adoption. In addition to expert staff who provide educational resources, Lifeline’s Rooted in Love training conference is an invaluable resource for showing families tools and techniques for addressing behavior, promoting attachment, and connecting with children from trauma backgrounds.
  • Immigration: Throughout this stage, families will complete required paperwork such as fingerprinting and more from the United States side of the process.
    • Lifeline Distinction: Lifeline staff maintains relationships with all of the approving entities. If obstacles or issues arise, these relationships allow staff to call and talk to officials quickly.
  • Dossier Completion: When all of the information from the home study and immigration has been completed for the dossier, it will be sent to the program country for their official files and review.
  • Official Matching: After the dossier has been accepted, a family is eligible to be officially matched with a child for adoption.
    • Lifeline Distinction: Lifeline has matched over 100 children with families this year. Experience and relationships provide staff with the knowledge and ability to work well within country guidelines.
  • Final Immigration Processing for Both Countries: Once a specific child has been matched with a family, immigration paperwork for both countries will be completed and finalized.
  • Travel: When both countries have granted final approval for immigration and travel, families can travel to bring home their child(ren)!
    • Lifeline Distinctive: Lifeline partners with travel specialists and teams on the ground in country to provide families with all they need for their in-country process. 
  • Post Adoption: The day a family comes home is the true beginning of the journey. Lifeline will continue to hold the hands of their families, offering expertise, encouragement, and hope throughout the years to come.
    • Lifeline Distinctive: Lifeline continues to provide post-adoption resources and support to families long-term. In addition to a family’s social worker, Lifeline’s Counseling Team and educational services are tremendous resources for families as they adjust to post-adoption life, near and far.

If your family is interested in adoption, please find an informational meeting to attend, call us at 205-967-0811, or email us here.