What are the steps for international adoption?

There are approximately seventy-five countries which are part of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. These countries have agreed on adoption procedures and have created requirements and steps which they believe are in the best interest of the children and which will alleviate or limit the sale, trafficking, exploitation and abduction of children.

  1. The first step for an international adoption is choosing the an accredited adoption service provider and completing form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country.
  2. If you and your spouse are found eligible to adopt, your adoption agency will send your I-800A form and your home study report to the appropriate foreign country for review. If the responding country agrees you are eligible to adopt a child they will send an Article 16 report to the adoption agency. This report outlines your adoptive child’s medical, social and psychological health.
  3. Next, if you approve of the selected child you will submit form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative. After getting the form your adoption agency will then file a visa application with the Consular Officer at the U.S. embassy or consulate. The foreign country will also review the form.

Next, a Hague Adoption Convention Article 5 letter will be issued. This letter is sent by the consular officer and states that the parents are suitable and the child can enter and live in the U.S. permanently. Consider, however, this process can vary somewhat country to country. Additional visas may also be needed such as visa application form DS-230 or form DS-156 for a non immigrant visa application.

The adoption can be completed after you have received the Article 5 letter. This includes getting an Article 23 certificate from the convention country, scheduling the final visa interview, and getting a Hague Certificate to certify that the international adoption meets the Convention requirements, as well as final approval of the I-800 petition. Finally, your child will be issued an IH-3 or IH-4 visa.

How can an adoption lawyer help you?

If you are considering an international adoption it is important to talk to an adoption or U.S. immigration lawyer who has expertise in international adoptions. An adoption lawyer can assist you with your adoption needs in almost every country around the world. Lawyers can help you from the very start by helping you locate the best adoption agency and helping you complete all the necessary paperwork and petitions. They can also work closely with the Immigration officers to insure smooth processing. If the case is approved by the US immigration in the United States, an adoption lawyer will work with the Consular officer to provide all the necessary paperwork to ensure the case is approved and your child will be issued the appropriate immigration visa.

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