I tried to explain Adoption to a friend of mine. After 2 hours of back and forth conversation, she seems to be still in the cloud. Looks like a writing is not avoidable to make this inherently complicated subject clear.
There are three similar but distinct paths to bringing your adopted child to the United States. Which path your adopted child follows will depend on his or her individual circumstances.
Adopt Overseas and Then Immigrate
You first must hire an individual or entity defined as a home study preparer for Hague Convention cases to complete a home study for a Hague adoption. You then file application with USCIS prior to adopting your child from a country that has implemented the Hague Adoption Convention (Hague). After that, you finalize your Child in that country or bring the Child to US to finalize the adoption. Your child will enter the United States either with an IH-3 immigrant visa if you adopted your child in a Hague country or IH-4 immigrant visa if you finalize the adoption in the United States.
A certificate of citizenship or a green card will be mailed to your residence after your new Child’s admission, which is case specific.
If you follow the same procedure other than home study to adopt your child is from a country that has not implemented the Hague Adoption Convention, your child will enter the United States either with an IR-3 immigrant visa in case that adoption finalized in a non-Hague country and you [and your spouse, if married] saw your child prior to or during the adoption process) or an IR 4 immigrant visa in the case you finalize the adoption in the United States).
Immediate Relative Process
If you adopt your child in US without petitioning to USCIS, you may file petition for relative. However, in this case, you will have to wait until you have lived with your child for two full years to file this petition. The two years must be accrued BEFORE you file Form I-130. Also, the adoption must be finalized before your child’s 16th birthday (or 18th birthday if they are a biological sibling of a child you have already adopted or will adopt). Your child will receive an IR-2 immigrant visa if he or she is found eligible.