Parents will travel within one month after the Ministry issues a “Letter to get Personally Acquainted” or “Warrant” beginning the adoption process in Latvia. The letter is typically issued within one week of accepting a referral. Parents spend 19 to 26 days in-country for care and supervision time, or a bonding period with the child. During your in-country stay, you will live in an apartment. You will be visited at least one to three times during this care and supervision period by the court appointed social worker. At the end of this bonding trip, you will appear a second time in court. In this court visit, the court will decide the adoption is in the best interest of the child to move forward, as well as approve the child to return back to your home on a hosting visit. This visit is considered an extension of the care and supervision period. While it is not required, many families decide to bring their child back to the United States.
Once parents return to the US, CCAI will assist you in filing the I-800 with USCIS to receive provisional approval to adopt a specific child. This process usually takes up to 6 to 8 weeks. If your child came home with you, you will need to have a visit and report prepared by your social worker approximately four to six weeks after you are home.
This report is sent to your child’s Orphan Court to let them know about the well-being and progress of the child. Once you have an approved I-800, CCAI will assist you in filing the DS-260 (Immigrant Visa application), the US Embassy in Riga will issue the “Article 5” letter and the Latvian legal team can make the second court date to finalize the adoption. Only one parent has to return to Latvia to complete the adoption process. During this stay the parent and child will stay in a hotel. If the child is 12 years of age or older, the child MUST return to Latvia for this trip. If they are under 12 years of age, they may remain in the US with the other parent, however there have been a few instances where the Court has required a younger child to return. The second trip is for the finalization of the adoption lasts approximately 3 days. Once the adoption is finalized, there is a 20 day grace period before the adoption order is signed off by the court. Families do not stay in-country during this grace period.
The third trip is for your US Embassy required visa interview. One parent and the child MUST travel on this trip. The trip is usually scheduled approximately 6-8 weeks after your second trip and lasts approximately
7-10 days. During this trip, you will work with the Latvia team to get your child’s new passport, a US Embassy required medical exam, and complete the visa interview.
When it is time to travel we will assist you with recommendations for travel. Accommodations (typically an apartment) and transportation (train, intercountry flights, etc.) in Latvian will be coordinated by the facilitator. You are responsible for intercountry transportation costs (plane, train). Adoptive parents are responsible for shared accommodations (apartment) with the facilitator, and paying for meals and transportation costs for the representative while in Latvian. This is estimated in the per day/diem fee of $100-150, dependent on region.
Please remember that timelines are controlled by the Latvian government offices and are subject to change.
Throughout the wait, families are encouraged to check in with CCAI regularly. We maintain a library of books and resources at our office and are able to recommend relevant reading materials to families as they wait.
* The timeframe may lengthen while you are in process. However, the outline above reflects the timeline that families have experienced. This may not be your timeline.
CCAI and your Latvian representative will work with you to determine the best option for your family related to travel. CCAI’s Latvian Program Coordinator will work with the in-country team to arrange your local travel and accommodations. You will be met at the airport and accompanied at all times by your Latvian representative. CCAI will provide you with the needed travel training.