Home Studies for Expats

704 527 7673 

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Jennifer is the Social Worker Supervisor at St. Mary Adoptions.

Home Studies For US Citizens Living Abroad

Are you an American citizen living abroad and wanting to adopt internationally? 

If you an American citizen, currently residing abroad, and would like to adopt a child from BulgariaPoland, or Serbia, we can help you with your home study, and your entire adoption process from start to finish.

See our Table of Contents Below for More Info. 

Estimated Time Until Our Social Worker Goes Overseas To Do a Study








Frequently Asked Questions Home Studies for Expats

What Are The First Steps for Expats to Take?

The Hague Convention requires that the adoptive parents determine if they are “habitually resident”.  Determining this may require asking the foreign country’s Central Authority if they consider the adoptive parents to be “habitually resident” in that country for the purposes of adoption under the Hague process. 

Each country may have a different way to determine the habitual residence of the adoptive parents.  It is very possible that the US Central Authority may play a role in that determination as well.   This may get a little complicated, but we’ve been helping our clients figure it out since 2013, so if you would like to learn more, contact us!  Give us a call or text us at 704 527 7673. 

Who Decideds if a US Citizen is “Habitually Resident” in that Country?

This determination can be made with the help of that country’s Central Authority and possibly in cooperation with the US Central Authority.  Please note that USCIS Regulations permit US citizens residing overseas to be “deemed to be habitually resident in the United States” for the purposes of seeking an immigration benefit for an adopted child.  Again, that is something that our experts can help you determine and advise you for your next steps.  If you would like to learn more, contact us!  Give us a call or text us at 704 527 7673.  You could also read more about this at the Department of State’s site here.

Will My Adopted Child Become a US Citizen Upon Finalization of the Adoption?

Yes.  We would only accept your case if we are able to help you adopt your child, per the definition described above where our services to you are completed with your adopted child as a US citizen.  Since 2013, we have helped many people compete their adoptions this way.  

What is CIS’ Role In an Expat Home Study?

USCIS has jursidiction over the home study, the same way it would if the home study was done within the United States.  USCIS ensures that the home study meets all the requirements under federal law.  USCIS has general Home Study Info here

What Kind of Home Study Agency Do I Need?

There are some home study agencies and/or social workers who say they specialize in “home studies for expats”. 

However, in many cases, these home study agencies who may be licensed to provide home study services, aren’t necessarily also accredited to provide adoption services as required by the Hague definition of being a Primary Provider of Adoption Services. 

The technical way of saying this is to say that an agency or person conducting a home study abroad has to be either the Primary Provider or be supervised by a Primary Provider, in accordance with 22CFR 96.2 and 96.14(c). 

Will My Process Be Slower Because I am an Expat?

No.  Although the legal part is more complicated, that portion is handled by us.  Since we know how to do it, we don’t anticipate any delays for you. So you can expect that a home study for expats will take as long as a typical home study.  

Will My Process Be More Expensive Because I live Abroad?

Although we charge the same whether you live in the US or abroad, the additional cost for you will be in the expense you will have to fly our social worker to you and pay for her lodging while she is there.  Most often Jennifer stays for 3 or 4 days, but that could vary.  

Home Studies for Military Families?

We are a military family.  Does this apply to us?

Yes, we serve our military families with this process for US expats described above.  When you are in the military, it is more clear that you are stationed temporarily.  Though it may still require the authorization of the local Central Authority, we have plenty of experience with that.  Our social worker Jennifer has done multiple home studies for US Military Families in Germany and England before. 

Jennifer was in England, in September 2019, doing a home study for 3 separate military families stationed in England.  They were able to share the cost of Jennifer’s flight and lodging. 

Our agency has just accepted to help a military family in Japan adopt from Bulgaria.  Jennifer will be traveling to Japan soon.  If you are stationed (or living) in Japan and thinking about adopting, this may be a good time to share cost on flight and lodging – as Jennifer will be traveling to Japan in 2021.

Our Experience With Military Families

As we’ve mentioned above, we have plenty of good experience serving military families.  We’ve truly enjoyed serving military families with their adoptions since 2001 and we’re glad that they have some good things to say about our agency. 

Our Experience With US Citizens Living Abroad

Since 2013, we’ve served families all over the globe.  In many cases they weren’t military, but just living overseas for different reasons.  Below are a few pics from Jennifer in different countries doing home studies for our clients residing abroad.  

How Much Is a Home Study For US Citizens Living Abroad?

Please see the fee schedule for a home study completed by our agency as an accredited provider of adoption services.  Even though the home study process for expats is more complicated, our agency fees do NOT increase. 

The additional cost (below) comes from our social worker traveling to your location and being accommodated there.  We’ve included some estimates to help you think about what these additional costs may be in your particular case.  We also use the Department of State’s “Per Diem Rate Query” to help determine these costs. 

See how we help our parents to off-set the cost of their adoption through crowdfunding.  

Home Study Fees
Application$500.00Due w Application
Payment 1$1,750.00Due w Contract
Payment 2$1,750.00Due when HS is complete


Additional Expenses for the Home Studies for Expats

These additional costs are directly payable to our social worker for her direct expenses described above and are due before her travel. 

Additional Fees for Home Studies of Expats
Low EstimateHigh Estimate
Hotel (3 – 4 Nights)$450$1,200
Food (3 – 4 Nights)$225$600
Travel in Country$75$300
Parking in NC$50$100
Cell Phone Travel Pass$30$50
Agency uses Department of State “Per Diem Rates”


Video Highlighting the Process

Succes Stories

Learning about the process by seeing how different families went through each step can be a good learning experience for future adoptive parents.  We've shared several stories, each with real timelines, and steps, as they happened in real life to real families.

Christian and Sandra's Story

Finished adoption in 27 months.

Monica and Manny's Story

Finished adoption in 25 months

Jeremy and Jessica's Story

Finished adoption in 20 months

Stacy and Sam's Story

Finished adoption in 18.5 months

Lori's Story

Finished adoption in 18 Months

Ana' Story

Finished adoption in 20 months.

Paul and April's Story

Finished adoption in 28 months

Mike and Megan's Story

Finished adoption in 30 months

Daniel and Alexandra's Story

Finished adoption in 36 months

Gabe and Jessica's

Adopted 2 Year Old

Continue Your Research

We are humbled to have over 23 years of experience with BulgarianPolish and Serbian international adoption. We also help parents adopt children with special needs such as Down Syndrome.  Continue to learn about the process and your options by checking the links below.  If you have any questions, we offer a FREE, No-Obligation Consult.  The consult is a great place to start your research.

Text us or call us with any questions.  704 527 7673.

NC licensed adoption agency with 24 years of international adoption experience.

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