Thank you for using our forum. My name is ***** ***** I hope to assist you today.
I understand you are looking to save money, and are hoping to avoid retaining an attorney, but you are facing two significant hurdles here (and one is very time sensitive).
The first, is that there is a significant difference between adopting a child (less than 16) from overseas, and attempting to adopt someone who is over 16.
The child you are looking to adopt is very close to this threshold, you need an attorney that understands international adoption law to move very quickly through this process (as opposed to attempting to do this yourself while self educating along the way).
The other issue is you are attempting to do this by a non-traditional route. You are proposing getting the child a student visa (which in and of itself is not as easy as the orphanage director is making it out to be), and then plan to adopt the child while they are living in the U.S. Understand that living in the U.S. does not change the adoption procedures, the U.S. State Department still applies the same policies and procedures for children located in the U.S. as they would if they were still living in their native country.
(So the distinction between Hague Convention and Non-Hague Convention countries is still relevant).
I would suggest you find a lawyer who understands international adoption (if you cannot find an attorney local to you, look broader (there are many in the Los Angeles metro area), and find someone who actually specializes in this - you do not need a general practitioner, or someone who handles traditional U.S. adoptions, you need a specialist. I cannot promise that even with the help of a specialist they will be able to complete the adoption for you (I simply don't have all of the facts necessary), so when you meet with them, make sure to have a very blunt discussion with them (both tell the attorney what you would like to have happen, but also make sure that they tell you what they expect to have happen, and what the possible range of outcomes would be given the facts you provided them and the time frame (as I noted the child's age may be significant here).