At Christiansen Law Firm, our attorneys work with parents who are interested in adopting children across international borders. Our familiarity with several different approaches to international adoption allows us to meet the needs of both U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. For additional information about our experience with the adoption of foreign national infants and children, contact us in Houston and San Antonio.
Many people are interested in adopting children from a country that is a signatory to the Hague Adoption Convention. As of December 2016, 95 nations had adopted its provisions, including China, India, Mexico and the Philippines.
The Hague Convention provides a specific process for international adoption that starts with a home study of the adoptive parents by a certified agency. The adoptive parents file Form I-800A with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, which in turn sends its approval to the child's home country. The authorities in that country match the application with a specific child and prepare a report. If the adoptive parents approve the match, they file Form I-800, which is provisionally approved and forwarded to the consular post of the State Department.
At that point, the parents apply for an immigrant visa at the U.S. consulate in the home country. There follows a sequence of correspondence and interviews that can result in either a Hague Adoption Certificate or Hague Custody Declaration. If the process results in adoption, the child becomes a U.S. citizen. If the process results in legal custody, the child is admitted as a lawful permanent resident, and the adoption can proceed in the U.S.
Unless the child is an orphan, U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents can adopt foreign children after 2 years of physical and legal custody through Form I-130. Upon approval, entry of the child is achieved through consular processing, unless the child is already in the U.S. In that case, the adoptive parents apply for adjustment of the child's residence status. The adoption must be complete before the child's 16th birthday.
The law defines "orphans" to include children whose sole surviving parent is incapable of providing care and has made written release of the child for adoption and immigration. Children with two parents presumed to be alive are considered orphans if both parents have disappeared or deserted the child.
Only a U.S. citizen can petition for the adoption of a foreign orphan. The petition must be filed before the child's 16th birthday through Forms I-600A and I-600.
Our experience with the procedures and obstacles that an adoptive family can encounter through any international adoption approach can help you avoid complications and mistakes. For further information, contact Christiansen Law Firm in Houston and San Antonio.
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