You have decided to adopt internationally and are likely feeling very excited about what this means for you, your family, and the child you will bring home. Even though you’re excited, all of the steps in the adoption process may feel daunting. For many international adoptions, one of those steps is completing a pre-adoption psychological evaluation. In a previous blog, I outlined the process of getting a pre-adoption psychological evaluation to have a general idea of what to expect. In this article, I want to answer some specific questions that I have gotten from families going through this process. Additionally, I want to provide information specific to my practice to help alleviate some anxiety.
Can this evaluation be done virtually?
The evaluation process includes two components: an interview and personality testing. Both can be done virtually. However, check with your adoption agency first to see if they would have any concerns with a virtual evaluation.
All evaluations and adoption paperwork will need to be approved by a committee in the country from which you hope to adopt. Each country has different standards and some may not approve virtual evaluations at this time.
I am able to provide evaluations both virtually and in person, based on your preference and agency’s recommendation. Since evaluations are usually completed in two sessions, one can be virtual and the other in person, if needed.
How long does the evaluation take?
Evaluations require 5-6 hours of your time and can be completed across multiple sessions.
How much does an international adoption evaluation cost?
Costs vary based on the testing required by the country from which you plan to adopt, and additional testing may be recommended at times. Currently, international adoption assessments through my practice generally cost $900-$1200 per individual.
What questions are asked during the interview?
Most clinical interviews include detailed information about your mental health, medical, employment, educational, and social history. However, some questions are specific to adoption. These questions may vary depending on the country from which you are adopting.
It is common to be asked about your journey to parenting through adoption. Questions may include why you decided to adopt and what factors led to this decision. You may also be asked about what you are hoping will result from the adoption. What are your dreams for your family? How do you envision life with an adopted child?
Other questions will explore your parenting style, including how you learned to parent (from your parents, prior experience, parenting classes, etc.). You may also be asked about your willingness to help a child connect with their biological family in the future and your understanding of stressors that your adopted child may have experienced before adoption.
Preparing for Adoption
There are a lot of questions involved but no need to be anxious! There are no “right” answer. Just be open to reflecting on your experience (the good and the bad) that led you to today. This evaluation is not to find your weaknesses but to give an accurate and complete sense of who you are and who you will be as a parent to an adopted child.
Though the evaluation may feel like just another step, it can also be a valuable time to reflect on your experience, identify strengths individually and as a couple, and talk about areas where you may need support. Bringing home a child is both exciting and stressful, so this evaluation helps you prepare for what is ahead.