Seeking Legal Assistance for an Out-of-Country Adoption
Seeking Legal Assistance for an Out-of-Country Adoption

More than one million people in the United States share of a dream of adopting a child from a foreign country. Compared to reported numbers over the past five years, the 16,000 adoptions from last year are a 15-percent annual increase. The primary reasons that more people are adopting from foreign countries has to do with the limited number of available infants deemed healthy in the US, and extremely tight restrictions that make the process long and complicated.

Adopting a child from out of the country is a selfless act that provides a human being the chance of a good life, and also fills a void for the adopting individual or couple. If you are interested in adopting a child from a different country, it is imperative that you start by doing research to determine the age, race, and gender of your preferred child. However, you also need to decide whether you are willing to accept a child with a disability.

Two Main Options

To adopt a child from out of the country, you have two main options. The first consists of involvement from a private, not-for-profit international adoption agency that is licensed by the states in which they provide services. These agencies are responsible for performing both pre- and post-adoptive services, including advice to the adoptive parents about immigration procedures, home study, and follow-up visits once the adoption is finalized.

As part of the service, the adoption agency handles communication and paperwork, and helps match the right child to the right adopters. When going through a licensed adoption agency, all laws are closely followed. Typically, once the child is located, at least one of the adoptive parents must travel to the country in which the child lives to escort the new family member home.

The second option is “parent initiation.” In this case, a specific child is already identified. To complete this type of adoption, you need to work closely with a reputable attorney who specializes in foreign adoptions. Working with an attorney is also advised if you go through an agency, but parent-initiated adoptions tend to be more problematic.

Unfortunately, it is common to face major challenges when trying to adopt a child from another country. For instance, there may be issues in obtaining a copy of the birth mother’s release, child’s birth certificate, or decree of abandonment. Without the appropriate documents, you will not be able to get INS clearance for the child’s US visa, or be scheduled for an adoption hearing abroad.

Now, you can hire a qualified attorney to help with a foreign adoption at virtually any stage of the process but the international adoption agency usually performs all necessary tasks. Regardless, hiring an attorney is highly recommended from start to finish, with this professional providing information and guidance in choosing the right agency, as well as performing different adoption services.

Success with a Foreign Adoption

As the individual or couple wanting to adopt, the process is often frustrating. Because a foreign adoption involves another commerce and culture, anti-international adoption sentiment, and often an unstable government, the process is stressful. By hiring an attorney who focuses on international adoptions, you will find the process easier so that ultimately, you end up with a wonderful child to care for and love.

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