Adopting a child from another country can be an incredibly rewarding experience and one that offers many advantages for new parents. An international adoption is more complex than a traditional adoption, however, and requires navigating international laws.
Advantages & Disadvantages of International vs. Domestic Adoption
One major advantage of an international adoption is that in pursuing adoption internationally, there may be a greater number of children in need of a good home. There also may be little interaction between the birth parents and prospective adoptive parents. Additionally, there may be less risk of a birth parent changing his or her mind midway through the adoption process. Further, the timeline for adoption is usually predictable – in fact, it can be shorter than domestic adoptions, in many cases.
While there are a number of advantages to an international adoption, there are also a few disadvantages. The process of an international adoption can be more expensive than the process of an interstate or intrastate adoption in the U.S. The reliability of health and medical information of the adopted child can be a concern. Often, children, who are adopted from other countries, do not have accurate medical records, and little is known about the birth parents and birth parents’ families.
Obtaining an Immigrant Visa for an Adopted Child
Before an adopted child can travel to the United States, he or she must obtain an immigrant visa. A U.S. embassy or consulate in the child’s home country would issue the visa, but it will not issue the visa until the child is deemed eligible.
Obtaining an immigrant visa for an adopted child is just one of many legal hoops that adoptive parents will have to jump through during an international adoption. Depending upon the child’s home country, a child may be able to obtain an immigrant visa under the Hague Adoption Convention. Below are the steps required.
- Secure an adoption service
- Apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to qualify as adoptive parents
- Apply to the child’s home’s country
- Apply to USCIS for the child to qualify
- Adopt the child in the child’s home country
- Complete the application for an immigrant visa for the child
- Bring the child back to the U.S.
The visa process is often more complex for non-Hague Adoption Convention countries. Below are the steps.
- You may file form I-600A with USCIS to determine eligibility as adoptive parent
- Adopt the child in the country of birth
- File form I-600 with USCIS, which establishes the child qualifies as an orphan
- USCIS or the consular office in the birth country fills out form I-604
- Schedule your visa interview and submit an application
- The embassy or consulate in the home country issues the visa
- Bring the child back to the U.S.
With the number of different visa types, as well as the different requirements that adoptive parents must satisfy before obtaining a visa for the child, get help from an attorney.
ARM Lawyers Can Help
If you live in Pennsylvania and are considering an international adoption, let the attorneys at ARM Lawyers, LLC help. We will work to ensure you understand the international adoption process, related fines and fees, the time line that you may face, and all of the necessary legal paperwork and processes. If you have questions or are eager to begin working on your adoption today, get in touch with us now at (570) 424-6899.