International adoption is a type of adoption in which an individual or couple becomes the legal and permanent parents of a child that is a national of a different country. In general, prospective adoptive parents must meet the legal adoption requirements of their country of residence and those of the country whose nationality the child holds.
International Adoption is just one of several ways to build your family. In most cases, international adoptions are finalized in the country of origin, so once you come home with your child, he or she is already legally yours. If you are considering adoption from a foreign country the legal status of your adopted child might be finalized in the United States or determined abroad.
The Hague Adoption
The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) is an international treaty that provides important safeguards to protect the best interests of children, birth parents, and adoptive parents who are involved in inter-country adoptions.
The procedural steps involving a Hague adoption include:
- Choose a Hague Accredited ASP (and perhaps also an immigration attorney);
- Obtain a home study from someone authorized to complete a Hague adoption home study. Once you have obtained a favorable home study, file Form I-800A (Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country) with USCIS. To be eligible to file Form I-800A, you must be a U.S. citizen, habitually reside in the United States, if you are married, your spouse must also sign your Form I-800A and must also intend to adopt any child whom you adopt, If you are not married, you must be at least 24 years of age when you file your Form I-800A, and you must be 25 years of age when you file your Form I-800;
- Once USCIS approves the application, work with the adoption service provider to obtain a proposed adoption placement;
- File a “petition” (Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative) with USCIS, before adopting the child, to have the child to be found eligible to immigrate to the United States based on the proposed adoption;
- Adopt the child, or obtain custody of the child in order to adopt the child in the United States;
- Obtain an immigrant visa for the child; and
- Bring the child to the United States for admission with the visa.
Note:The adoption must not take place prior to filing Form I-800A/I-800, doing so contradicts the Hague Convention agreement.
Adoption as a Non-Hague Convention
This can only apply if the country where the child is from is not a party to the Hague Convention.
The third process of “adopting” a child from another country is to go through the orphan route. This route applies to children adopted by U.S. Citizens. Depending on what country you choose to adopt from will determine which process you will adopt by.
An orphan is child who does not have parents because of death or disappearance of abandonment or desertion or by separation or loss from both parents, or has a sole surviving parent who is unable to care for the child, consistent with the local standards of the foreign sending country, and who has, in writing, irrevocably released the child for emigration and adoption.
The procedural steps involving a Non-Hague adoption include:
- You must file an orphan petition before the child’s 16th birthday, or before the child’s 18th birthday if the child is a birth sibling of another child whom you have also adopted and who immigrated (or will immigrate) as an orphan based on a Form I-600 petition filed before the sibling’s 16th birthday or an “adopted child” as defined in Section 101(b)(1)(F) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provided the actual adoption took place before that sibling’s 16th birthday.
- You can have USCIS review both your suitability as an adoptive parent and the child’s status as an orphan at the same time. If you have already identified a child you want to adopt (or you have already adopted the child), you may file Form I-600, Petition to Classify an Orphan as an Immediate Relative.
- Submit your home study with your Form I-600 and any other relevant evidence that you are suitable as an adoptive parent. Submit evidence that the child is an orphan and that you have adopted or intend to adopt the child.
- If the Petition is approved, apply to a U.S. embassy or consulate for a visa for your child. The Department of State officer who decides the visa application must determine whether your child is “inadmissible” under any provision in section 212(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
For children, the most common ground of inadmissibility is medical inadmissibility due to certain diseases, lack of required vaccinations, or other medical issues. If your child is inadmissible, you may be able to obtain a waiver of inadmissibility by filing Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility.
International Adoption is a complex issue. It is expensive, as well, as you have to spend money on fees and other services, not to mention the different countries have their own rules and regulations. This can be very stressful when done alone or on your own given the amount at stake. One little mistake can sabotage the entire process.
You Need a Lawyer for Your International Adoption
International Adoption is an intricate process on its own, and the entire process could be draining for someone who has not enough knowledge of the procedures and requirements for adoption.
Aside from this, prospective adoptive parents run the great risk of losing the chance of having a complete family with their adopted child if the adoption process is not guided by an adoption attorney.
At The Gambacorta Law Office, we work with prospective adoptive parents wanting to have a complete family with adoption. We believe that all parents deserve the incomparable delight of having a child; thus, we do everything just so our clients successfully adopt a child.
We highlight your eligibility as a prospective parent, also ensuring that all the required forms are filed, and all adoption-related processes are complied with. We help you obtain other subsidiary assistance to complete your international adoption proceedings.
Talk to us to know more about how we can help you with your International Adoption today!