We are in the US and we adopted a child from Korea. Our process had many, many steps in it it took 16 months from initial paperwork until the child was placed with us, and then another 9 months for the adoption to be finalized. Most of the steps are designed to protect the child by making sure the adoptive parents have truly thought through their decision, are healthy, financially stable, have no history of criminal activity, drugs or child abuse, live in a place suitable for raising a child, etc. To prove my point, here is my exhaustive list of to-do items from our adoption in 2005-2008. Each of these items took time and many steps required extra fees.Fill in & file agency's preliminary application, including photos of us and the houseWrite medical statement, elaborating on treatment for any medical conditionsLine up four non-relative references One copy of tax returns from past three yearsPay $200 fee to adoption agencyNotarize agency's adoption services agreement Fill in the "Home Study Part 1 Paperwork" . Each spouse does the following: Fill in "Personal Data" form with 67 essay questions1 photocopy birth certificateComplete Authorization of Release of Information - Employer VerificationCriminal Record StatementLiveScan fingerprint form (for State of California: criminal and child abuse index)Schedule & attend LiveScan fingerprinting appointmentsMedical Exam, including HIV and TB tests, with Medical Report filled out by doctorComplete detailed Financial Statement1 photocopy marriage licensePhoto of baby's future roomPrint Map & directions to homeCopy all, keep for recordsEach of 4 non-relative references return 3-page, 10-essay questionnaires directly to agency Home Study Part 2: Receive & pay invoice for home study Schedule social worker visits Social worker visit #1 (both husband and wife) Acceptable Medical Conditions Form filedSocial worker visit #2 (wife only) Social worker visit #3 (husband only)Sign up & take module 1 & 2 of agency's parenting classReceive 2 completed, certified, notarized copies of Home Study from social workerAgency sends Home Study to Korea (HSTK) Sign up & take modules 3 & 4 of agency parenting classI-600A filed with US-CIS (Advanced Processing of Orphan Petition for Visa) (4/6/2006), including the I600A form, Copy of certified home study, copies of each spouse's birth certificate, photocopy of marriage license, copy of most recent federal tax return, proof of medical insurance, $800 fee, cover letter.FBI Fingerprinting Receive I-171H (Approval of I-600A) from US-CISReceive Referral to a Child, which is a packet of information with the child's history, photos, medical records, etc.Medical evaluation of Referral by Oakland Children's HospitalFile Referral Acceptance Paperwork to agency, along with huge fee to adoption agency.File 3 Placement Agreements with agency - all notarizedhusband: 4 Statements of Adoption (for child's Korean passport) - all notarized3 Travel Option forms1 Foreign Travel Release - notarizedhusband: 2 Affidavit re INS Vaccination Requirementshusband: two I-864 Affidavit of Support for Immigration filed with US-CISwife: two I-864A Contract between Sponsor and Household Member filed with US-CISSend US-CIS: copy of entire last year tax return, last year's W2 & 1099s, photocopies of both our birth certificates (again), copies of both our paystubs, Photocopy of marriage license (again)Receive child's "legals" from Korea (in English & Korean)I-600 visa petition form filed w/ US-CIS. Includes copies of legals, I-600, I-171F, child report & photos, copy of most recent 1040 tax form, copy of I-864, copy of I-864A, letter to American Embassy in Seould with visa cable instructionsMeanwhile, the Korean adoption agency worked away:Our application was translated into KoreanKorean agency applied for Emigration Permit ("EP") with Korean Ministry of Health and WelfareMinistry approves Emigration Permit Agency gets I-171 (I-600 approval) cable from US Embassy in SeoulVisa physical for baby, including Hepatitis B & HIV testsSubmit application for baby's IR-4 VisaResubmit our I-600 visa petition after US-CIS screws up and loses the first oneThen, we went go the "Travel" call and flew to Korea.Plan trip & travel to KoreaIn-Korea pre-flight medical exam Go to US Embassy in Seoul to process Class-B Waiver (acceptance of medical condition) Get the final Visa paperwork Take custody of child! Once home, there was more paperwork:Receive Placement Confirmation Notice from Agency Receive baby's Green Card in mail Get social security number under baby's Korean Name as permanent resident 4 post-placement visits from social worker, where I also had to create 5 page "progress reports" with answers to questions and photos.File US Physician's Examination Report with Agency Our adoption agency finishes the "post placement phase" and gives us approval to officially adopt the child in American court. File Adoption Finalization Paperwork in our county in California: Forms ADOPT-200, ADOPT-210, ADOPT-215, and ADOPT-230Receive "Consent to Adoption" from agencyAdoption Finalization hearing in County CourtSend agency/Korea copy of child's adoption decree (child is no longer considered a Korean citizen)Secure proof of US citizenship for child: Complete & file N-600 with US-CIS, pay feeReceive Certificate of CitizenshipFile passport applicationReceive passportApply to SSA to get status changed from resident alien to citizen, SS# name changed (passport is proof)Start the process all over again for kid #2!