International Adoptions

Adopting a child from another country can be a wonderful and exciting experience for the adoptive parents. Prospective adoptive parents must be careful, however to ensure that not only the child is adopted legally, but that the adoption is recognized by U.S. immigration law so that the child can legally reside in the United States. The Law Offices of Courtney L. Campbell helps make sure the international adoption meets all legal requirements.

A number of countries are members of an international treaty, the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoptions (Hague Convention). The Hague Convention establishes a procedure between member countries for international adoptions. The United States is a member country.

If the country where the child resides is also a member country, the prospective adoptive parents must follow Hague Convention procedures. The prospective adoptive parents will need to first obtain approval from the central adoption authority of the foreign country in order adopt a child from that country. In seeking approval from the central adoption authority it is important for the prospective adoptive parents to work with a home study provider who has experience in working with that country.

If the foreign country where the child resides is not a Hague Convention member and is an orphan, the prospective adoptive parents may pursue adoption of the child by first filing a visa petition with a home study verifying their ability to adopt. Subsequently, upon approval of the visa petition, the prospective adoptive parents can proceed with the adoption in the foreign country. Once the child is adopted, the parents can bring the child into the United States on an immigrant visa.

If the child is not from a Hague Convention country and is not an orphan, the prospective adoptive parents can adopt the child in accordance with the law where the child resides. Subsequently the parents can apply for the child’s permanent residence, and possibly citizenship, provided that the parents can show the child was in their custody and control for two years after the adoption.

In adopting a child, deadlines are critical. Once the child reaches a certain age, prospective adoptive parents may still be able to adopt the child, but U.S. Immigration law may not recognize the child for immigration purposes. It is important to have experienced advisors help you with the interplay of international law, foreign law, and immigration law to make sure your adoption succeeds in all aspects. The Law Offices of Courtney L. Campbell are ready to help.

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