Family Law Attorney
International Adoption Frequently Asked Questions
At The Law Office of J. Michael Clay, we understand that the process of international adoption raises many questions and concerns. Our Frequently Asked Questions page is designed to provide guidance for those considering expanding their families across borders. If after reading these FAQs you find you have more questions, don’t hesitate to call us at 210-694-5205 for a free consultation.
Can I Adopt a Child from Another Country?
Yes, adopting a child from abroad is possible either through an accredited American agency that specializes in international adoptions or via an independent (direct) adoption. While agency assistance is commonly sought due to the complexities of the process, opting for direct adoption requires strict adherence to not only your state’s adoption laws but also to U.S. immigration policies and the legal requirements of the child’s home country. Research is key. Inform yourself about the specific adoption protocols of the country from which you wish to adopt, as you might need to reside there for an extended period before the child can join you in the United States. The Law Office of J. Michael Clay is here to help you untangle the complexities of this process.
What Are the Specific Requirements for Intercountry Adoptions?
Intercountry adoptions are subject to U.S. immigration law criteria, which stipulate that adoptive parents must be married or, if unmarried, at least 25 years of age. Adoptive parents are required to file an Orphan Petition (Form I-600) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to establish the child’s eligibility as an orphan based on criteria such as parental death, abandonment, or incapacity. A child with two active parents does not qualify as an orphan and thus is ineligible for this type of adoption.
In addition to the Orphan Petition, a series of supporting documents, including a home study report indicating a positive adoption environment, must be submitted. Once USCIS approves the adoption, barring other factors like health concerns, the child will be granted an immigrant visa.
It’s advantageous to commence portions of the international adoption paperwork ahead of time, as processing this documentation often experiences delays. Early preparation can facilitate the child’s entry to the U.S. without unnecessary holdups once all foreign legal obligations have been fulfilled.
Pay attention to the requirements of your home state as well, as they might ask for specific protocols to be followed—like obtaining the birthmother’s written consent before authorizing the child’s entry or conducting a readoption procedure post-international adoption to ensure alignment with state laws and to obtain an English-language birth certificate.
For more detailed information or guidance with your international adoption journey, contact The Law Office of J. Michael Clay at 210-694-5205 for your complimentary consultation.
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