Is This My Child?? Accepting a Referral

Many families decide to compile their dossier before being presented with a file of a child. They sign on with an agency, complete all the necessary paperwork, send their information to China, and then patiently (or maybe not so patiently) wait for a much-anticipated phone call from their agency.

So you finally get “the call” you’ve been waiting for. Now what?!?

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Agencies give you time to have the file reviewed by a medical doctor. Families are encouraged to have all of this information ready before they receive their referral so that they can get things sent and reviewed to make a decision in a timely manner. Suggestions are to contact an international adoption doctor, your local pediatrician, and a medical professional that specializes in the condition your child has. Often times, families that have children with similar conditions are a great resource when reviewing a file.

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Many times an update is needed to gather more information. If they are able, agencies are usually willing to work with families to allow them to place the child “on hold” until an update is received. This sometimes takes days or even weeks. Once an update comes in, doctors can review again and then help families make a decision.

Ultimately, families are the ones making this sometimes very difficult decision. Seeing the face of a child waiting for a family makes the decision even more difficult. Families have said they instantly knew it was their child, while others say that it takes time and medical advice before they were able to move forward.


This part of the process is full of many emotions. Make sure to document this time in your lives. Take pictures, save emails, and write down as much about your journey as possible. When you do decide to accept a match for a child you’ll be so glad you have these memories to treasure!

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela