Parent Education Program International Adoptions

map of the earth with all continents

Education is very important as you are preparing to adopt an institutionalized child from another country.  It is our goal to insure that you are as prepared as possible for the changes in your life and that of your family as you go through the adoption and post adoption process. The education you will receive in addition to your home study consists of education classes and reading materials including web sites, books and articles.

The education you will receive is not only an agency requirement, it is also a ‘federal regulation’ for anyone adopting internationally according to Hague Standard 96.48(b)(2). The Hague Convention is a program that governs the way international adoptions are conducted throughout the world. One of the major components of The Hague is the education of adoptive parents. Each prospective adoptive parent is required by Federal mandate, to take a minimum of 10 hours of education, in addition to the home study. Some States as well as countries require additional education, over the 10 hour Hague requirement.

In California, Nightlight home study clients are required to take the in-office classes that meet the Hague requirement. These classes consist of, “Attachment and Other Issues of International Adoption,” “Life Long Issues in Adoption” and “Medical Issues in International Adoption.” The additional education required by China can be completed via an on-line webinar. Please see webinar information that follows. Colorado requires 16 hours of CORE adoption training  that  includes  topics  required  by  Hague regulations. Nightlight home study clients are required to take this 16-hour course through Nightlight Christian Adoptions Colorado.

South Carolina home study clients complete their required 10 hours of Hague or parent education through the webinar education programs listed below.

If you are completing your home study through another agency with Nightlight Christian Adoptions as the ‘Primary Provider’ or placement agency, we still require the education in the above PDF document as provided either through your home study agency or the online education programs discussed below. Please check with your Nightlight coordinator to insure your completion of the appropriate pre-adoption education.

Nightlight Christian Adoptions has always placed a high value on education. It is our belief that families who are well educated and prepared for the adoption of post institutionalized children helps to promote a successful adoption. Families who work with Nightlight Christian Adoptions make the commitment to complete the following education program.


1. Attend a 3 hour Nightlight Seminar where the following information is addressed:
•  Intercountry adoption process
• General characteristics and needs of children awaiting adoption
• Review the specific information about any country being considered for international adoption that is available in the Nightlight Office in Anaheim Hills, California or via websites provided in the Client’s Adoption Notebook.
• Fees associated with intercountry adoptions.

2. Attend the Attachment and Issues of International Adoption Class, a 5 hour training class that covers:
• Information about the impact on a child of leaving familiar ties and surroundings according to the age of the child.
• Data on institutionalized children and the impact regarding the length of institutionalization and type of care provided.
• Information about attachment disorders, impact of multiple caregivers both before and after adoption and ways to help facilitate attachment.
• Issues of multi-culturalization.
• Post adoption depression
• This class includes articles on the affects of institutionalization on children; Developmental milestones; Recommended Medical tests once the child arrives in the United States

3. Attend the Medical Issues Class provided by Dr. Gary Feldman, Medical Director, Miller Children’s Hospital, Stramski Clinic, Long Beach Memorial Hospital, Long Beach California. This is a 2.5 hour class that addresses:
• Medical issues most common in institutionalized children
• Effects of malnutrition, relevant environmental toxins, maternal substance abuse and other known genetic, health, emotional and developmental risk factors associated with children from various countries.
• Resources
• List of medical tests recommended once the family returns from the foreign country with the child.

4. Attend the Lifelong Issues Class, a 2.5-hour class, where the prospective parents hear about adoption from adults who have gone through the process. This class addresses the impact of having ‘two’ families and long term implications of multi-cultural issues.

The State of Colorado requires the following adoption training for families adopting internationally:
7.710.55 Training [Rev. eff. 5/1/10]

A. The adoptive agency shall verify and document that all adoptive applicants have completed in training provided or approved by the agency as a part of the adoption process.
• All adoptive applicants shall complete sixteen (16) core hours of training provided in face-to-face format.
• Reasonable effort must be made to compete all required hours of training prior to the placement of a child(ren).
• All training must be completed by each adoptive applicant prior to the finalization of the adoption.
• Applicants adopting children over twelve (12) months of age or completing an Intercountry adoption must complete training topics as listed at Section 7.710.55, C.
• Training must be separate from and in addition to the family assessment.
• If an adoptive applicant(s) is completing a subsequent adoption through the same agency or has completed documented training from their previous agency, the core training need not be repeated if documentation of the prior training is on record with the current agency. The social worker completing the home study will make a recommendation to the NCA Executive Director and a clinical manager who will make that decision together.
• All training must be documented in writing, including dates, number of hours and topics covered

B. Core training must include all of the following topics:
• Attachment/bonding issues.
• Loss and grief issues, as applicable for all parties to the adoption.
• Adoption as a lifelong issue as it pertains to all parties to the adoption.
• Key concepts of child growth and development.
• Boundary setting and discipline.
• Parenting a child of different cultural or racial background infancy through adulthood, if applicable
• Disclosure issues including the accuracy of family history information regarding the child and birth parent(s)’ family, discussion with the child and sharing information with others.
• Understanding adoption laws and procedures, including termination of parental rights and the expedited relinquishment process pursuant to Section 19-5-103.5, C.R.S., and the administrative notice for presumed birth fathers pursuant to 19-5-103.7, C.R.S., if applicable.
• On-going contact and/or communication of child and adoptive family with biological family and/or significant individuals, if applicable.
• Possible current and/or future use of community resources, including help with parenting techniques.
• Medical and health issues including, but not limited to, shaken baby syndrome, parental substance abuse, relevant environmental issues, and genetic risk factors.
• Expectations of adoption and adoptive process.
• Basic core and supervision appropriate to the age of the child.

C. Additional Child and Country Specific Areas of Training-Required
1. For families that are completing an Intercountry adoption, additional training on all topic areas listed below must be completed as applicable and must be completed prior to home study completion. The topics are:
• U.S. immigration requirements and the laws and procedures of the foreign country, including reporting requirements such as any post-placement or post-adoption reports required by the expected country of origin.
• Cultural heritage of the child, including available community resources.
2. For families that will be adopting a child who is either medically fragile, over twelve (12) months of age or any Intercountry adoption, four (4) additional hours from the following topics must be completed as applicable and appropriate for the age(s) of the child(ren) being adopted for a total of twenty (24) hours. These four (4) hours of training may be approved in formats other than face-to-face training at the agency’s discretion.
• Parenting a child that has been abused or neglected.
• Parenting the physically, mentally, developmentally or emotionally delayed child.
• The impact of frequent moves and multiple caregivers on the development of a child.
• Information on the long-term implications for a family that has become multicultural through Intercountry adoption, including:
1) The child’s history and cultural, racial, religious, ethnic and linguistic background; and,
2) The known health risks in the specific region or country where the child resides. Any general characteristics and needs of children awaiting adoption and the in-country conditions that affect children from the expected country of origin.
• Any other medical, social and other data known about the particular child.
• The impact of a child leaving familiar surroundings as appropriate to the expected age of child.
• The impact of frequent moves and multiple caregivers on the development of a child and data on institutionalized children and the impact of institutionalization on children, including the effect on children depending on the length of time spent in an institution and of the type of care provided in the expected country of origin.


National Council for Adoption (NCFA)
a. The National Council for Adoption (NCFA) has put together a training seminar entitled “The Intercountry Adoption Journey,” an educational system presented online as an on demand program with modules covering topics pertinent to individuals adopting children internationally. The Intercountry Adoption Journey offers the option of testing online for up to two certificates of completion at no additional charge and provides 10 hours of Hague compatible education.

Register here for The Intercountry Adoption Journey. When you register, you will be asked “Did your agency provide you with a special code?” Click yes and then enter the code Nightlight222 for couples and Nightlight111 for singles.
b. The National Council for Adoption (NCFA) will issue a completion certificate which will be e-mailed to you. Please forward this certificate directly to your social worker for submission to our office and incorporation into your home study.

Adoption Learning Partners (ALP)
Cost: $200.00 for package listed below, including certificates. Please enter our agency partner code when registering. Nightlight’s Agency Partner Code is: F271NLCA
4 hours With Eyes Wide Open
2 hours The Journey of Attachment
2 hours Finding the Missing Piece: Helping Adopted Children Cope with Grief & Loss 2 hours Let’s Talk Adoption: A Lifetime of Family Conversations
1.5 hours Conspicuous Families: Race, Culture & Adoption
2.5 hours Medical Issues in International Adoption

Heart of the Matter Education
Because They Waited™ education system, $149 for two certificates
In addition to the 10 hours of Hague education completed online or through face-to-face training, all international prospective adoptive parents must complete country specific training and child specific training.
Country specific training must be completed prior to your home study being finalized. You should receive this education from your placing agency. If you have not received this education, please request it from your placing agency. You will need to provide documentation to your home study provider that you have completed this requirement before your home study can be finalized.

Child specific training must be completed prior to travel. You should receive child specific training once you have accepted a referral of a child. Child specific training will encompass any potential medical issues/special needs your child may have. If you have accepted a referral, but have not received this child specific training, please request it from your placing agency. If you have not completed child specific training prior to travel, your adoption could be delayed.
Contact one adoptive couple who has adopted from our agency previously. This conversation should take place over the phone or in person, though it can be arranged via email. (Our agency will provide you with a list of Nightlight Alumni families to talk with in order to meet this requirement.) An Adoptive Parent Discussion form will be provided as part of the parent education materials and must be completed for a total of 1 hour credit. (Please note that the program director may require you to speak with an additional family from the Alumni Families List at a later point in the adoption process.)

*China requires a minimum of 12 hours of training which must be completed prior to home study approval.
NCA China Program families also must complete following:
Post-Adoption Depression Training
Each family is required to read three (3) articles concerning Post-Adoption Depression which will be provided to you. After review of the articles and before completion of your home study, each family will be required to meet with their home study preparer to develop a Post Adoption Safety Plan which is then reviewed by the Social Services Manager at NCA-KY. Each parent will also complete a Reading Verification form (2 credit hours).
Special Needs Adoption
All families adopting internationally are asked to research special needs and then complete a Medical Conditions Checklist. This form will help you think through what special needs would be appropriate for your family. It is also used by your home study social worker to list conditions in the approval section of your home study.

The following books are additional recommended reading to help you prepare for your adoption. Although we recommend that you purchase the books for your home library, they are all available for checkout through our office library in some locations.

•The Connected Child: Bringing Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family Karyn Purvis, David Cross & Wendy Sunshine
•Parenting With Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility. Foster Cline, MD and Jim Fay.
•Raising Adopted Children: Practical Reassuring Advice for Every Adoptive Parent. Lois Ruskai Melina
•Adopting the Hurt Child: Keck & Kupecky
•Attaching In Adoption: Deborah Gray
•Helping Children Cope With Separation and Loss, Revised Edition: Claudia Jewett
•Parenting From the Inside Out: Daniel Siegel
•Parenting the Hurt Child: Keck & Kupecky
•Touchpoints: Your Child’s Emotional and Behavioral Development: T. Berry Brazelton
•”Toddler Adoption, The Weaver’s Craft ” : Mary Hopkins-Best
•The Whole Brained Child : Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Y our Child’s Developing Mind : Daniel Siegel, MD and Tina Payne Bryson, PhD
•With Eyes Wide Open: A Workbook for Parents Adopting International Children Over Age One: Margi Miller and Nancy Ward (Available at

1. What to Expect When You’re Expecting
2. The Blind Side
3. Losing Isaiah
4. Chimpanzee
5. October Baby
6. The Odd Life of Timothy Green
7. Imitation of Life
8. Bella
9. White Oleander
10. China Cry
11. Angels in the Outfield
12. Antwon Fisher
13. The Dropbox (Documentary)
14. Somewhere Between (Documentary)
15. I Am Sam

Although the classes below do not meet the criteria for pre-adoption Hague education, they are very helpful and highly recommended for families planning to adopt school age children.
Boris Gindis Center – Post Adoption Leaning Center
Karen Purvis
Adopt Shoppe, Unique Adoption Gifts, Books & Resources,
Eastern European Adoption
National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, is a great resource for families in any stage of the adoption process as it provides publications and links on many adoption topics.
Adoptive Families of
Post Adoption Information, , specialized in providing information for families who have adopted institutionalized children from Eastern Europe.
Tapestry, devoted to selling books on adoption.ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READINGS BY TOPIC
Child Development:
•American Academy of Pediatrics Guide to Your Child’s Symptoms Baby Signs: How to Talk With Your Baby Before Your Baby Can Talk
Talking With Young Children About AdoptionMary Watkins & Susan Fisher
The Myth of the First Three Years: A New Understanding of Early Brain Development
Your Baby and Child: From Birth to Age FiveAdoption:
•Adopting After Infertility: Pat Johnston
•The Complete Guide to Foreign Adoption: Barbara Bascom
•Can This Child Be Saved? Solutions for Adoptive and Foster Families: Foster Cline
•Our Own! Adopting and Parenting the Older Child: Trish Maskew
•Real Parents, Real Children; Parenting the Adopted Child: Holly Van Gulden
•The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child: Nancy VerrierCulture, Language and Ethnic Differences:
•Chinese at a Glance by Scott D. Seligman (New York, Barron’s Educational Series Inc,)
•Chinese Phrase Book and Dictionary (Oxford, UK, Berlitz Publishing Co. Ltd., rev. ed.)
•Cross Cultural Adoption: How to Answer Questions From Family, Friends and Community: Amy Coughlin, Caryn Abramowitz**
•Does Anybody Else Look Like Me?: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Multiracial Children. Donna Jackson Nakazawa
•Easy Russian Phrase Book: Over 690 Basic Phrases for Everyday Use (Dover Books)
•First Thousand Words in Russian (Ukrainian; Chinese etc) (Picture Word Books)
•Kinki Kreations: A parent’s guide to natural black hair care for Kids: Jena Renee Williams
•I’m Chocolate, You’re Vanilla: Raising Healthy Black and Bi-Racial Children in a Race Conscious World: Marguerite Wright
•Inside Transracial Adoption: Gail Steinberg and Beth Hall
•Russia (Eyewitness Books Trade)
•Russian Song Book: Dover Books
•Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook
•Teach Me Russian (Teach Me More Series): book/tape combo
•The New Oxford Picture Dictionary English – Russian (Chinese; Spanish etc)
•Ukrainian: A complete course for beginners Olena Bekh, James DingleyDevelopmental or Behavioral Issues:
•The A.D.D. Book: New Understandings, New Approaches to Parenting Your Child
•The Bipolar Child: The Definitive and Reassuring Guide to Childhood’s Most Misunderstood Disorder: Demitri Papolos, M.D. and Janice Papolos
•Building the Bonds of Attachment: Awakening Love in Deeply Troubled Children: Daniel Hughes
•The Challenging Child: by Stanley Greenspan
•Childhood Speech, Language, and Listening Problems: What Every Parent Should Know: Patricia McAleer Hamaguchi
•The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for Your Special Ed. Child: Pete Wright
•Facilitating Developmental Attachment: The Road to Emotional Recovery and Behavioral Change: Daniel Hughes.
•Help for the Hopeless Child: A Guide For Families by Ronald Federici
•I Hate You – don’t leave me: Understanding The Borderline Personality: Jerold J. Kreisman, M.D. and Hal Straus
•Love is a Start…The Real Challenges of Raising Children with Emotional Disorders: The true story of a mother raising children, adopted domestically, with neurological differences
•The New Language of Toys: Teaching Communication Skills to Children With Special Needs
•The Out of Sync Child Coping With Sensory Integration Dysfunction: by Carol Stock Kranowitz
•Raising Great Kids: Dr. John Townsend (Christian based parenting book)
•Relationship of Learning Problems and Classroom Performance to Sensory Integration: Sensory Integration and the Child: Jean Ayres
•Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking your life back when someone you care about has Borderline Personality Disorder: Paul T. Mason, M.S. and Randi Kreger
•Therapeutic Parenting: Deborah Hage
•Troubled Transplants: by Richard Delaney and Frank Kunstal
•When Love is not Enough: by Nancy ThomasChildren’s Books
•A Mother for Choco: Keiko Kasra
•Chinese Eyes: Marjorie Waybill
•Families Are Forever: Deborah Capone
•Favorite Russian Fairy Tales (Dover Children’s Thrift Classics)
•Horace (Reading Rainbow Book): Holly Keller
•I Love You Like Crazy Cakes: Rose Lewis
•Is That Your Sister: Catherine and Sherry Bunin (for families with children who are adopting transracially)
•The Keeping Quilt: Patricia Polacco
•Little Miss Spider: David Kirk.
•The Little Snowgirl: An Old Russian Tale:
•A Little Story About A Big Turnip: Tatiana Zunshine
•Over The Moon: Karen Katz
•Seeds of Love: Mary Ebejer Peteryl
•Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born: Jamie Lee Curtis.
•Three Cheers for Catherine the Great! (Children’s book)
•Through Moon and Stars and Night Skies: Kristine Wi
•The Survival Series for Kids Joyce Berry
•What to do when… Dawn Huebner

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