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Adults who wish to adopt a child often desire to adopt a child from a foreign country rather than from the United States.  Foreign adoptions pose some particular legal challenges, but once the legal challenges have been successfully navigated, the joy and excitement of having a child makes it all worth it.  Today's blog post will summarize the basic differences between the three different types of foreign adoptions.

Hague Convention Adoption

A child who resides in a country that is a party to the Hague Convention, a U.S. citizen and spouse may adopt the child per the Hague rules.  There is no requirement that the child be an orphan.  The adoption must take place in the child's home country before the child's 16th birthday, and a petition to classify the child as an immigrant must also be filed before the child's 16th birthday.  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service makes a determination that the placement is suitable and in the best interest of the child.  Once the petition has been approved, the child is allowed to come to the U.S. as an immigrant.  

Orphan Adoption

A child who is not a resident of a Hague Convention country, under the age of 16, whose parents are deceased or have disappeared or abandoned the child may be classified as an orphan.   The adoption of the orphan must take place in the child's home country, prior to the child's 16th birthday.  Prior to filing the petition for classification as an orphan, the prospective adoptive parents must meet the child.   A home study is completed in the United States, to determine the suitability of the adoptive parents.  Once the home study has been completed and the child has been  classified as an orphan, the child is allowed to come to the U.S. as an immigrant. 

Non-Orphan, Non-Hague Adoption

If a child is not an orphan and is not a resident of a Hague Convention Country, the child may be adopted in the United States by U.S. citizen parents and obtain permanent residency status.  To qualify as a child for immigration purposes, the child must be in the legal and physical custody of the adoptive parents for ate least two years prior to filing the petition.  Also, the adoption must occur before the child's 16th birthday.  If the child is already in the United States and was lawfully admitted, the child will likely be eligible for what is known as "adjustment of status". 

When the possibility of adopting a child presents itself, adoptive parents need sound legal advice from an attorney with experience in immigration law and family law.  Christiansen Law Firm has handled many family law matters and immigration matters, including foreign adoptions.  The attorneys of Christiansen Law Firm will review the details of your circumstances and provide competent legal advice about the available options.  For answers to your foreign adoption questions, contact the attorneys of Christiansen Law Firm in Houston or San Antonio.


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