The process of adopting a child was always very sensitive from the economic and legal point of view, especially when it comes up to intercountry adoption (when the child lives in a different country). In this case, the Immigrant Law plays its role, making the whole situation even harder. Everyone going through this procedure has to deal with Hague Convention, and the best decision that a potential parent can make before starting the process – is to hire a professional adoption lawyer that will assist you in your case. But first, let’s have a deeper insight into the concept of “Hague Process”.
WHAT IS THE HAGUE ADOPTION CONVENTION?
The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) – is an international agreement to assure the safety of intercountry adoptions, designed to protect the best interests of children, biological families, and adoptive parents from the corruption and exploitation. It was issued on May 29, 1993, in the Hague, the Netherlands, but entered into force in the United States on April 1, 2008, supposing to prevent the abduction, and trafficking of children, and assure them a suitable family. The process of adopting a child through the Hague Process (which means that the child resides in any country that is a party to the Convention), is very much alike to adopting a child from a country that is not a member of Convection, but with higher protections. If your case started before April 1, 2008, (filling up the I-600A Application for Advance of Orphan Petition, or the I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative) you are allowed to adopt under the old, orphan Regulations. If not, you have to meet the new Hague requirements. The full text of the Convention can be found here.
From the beginning of August 2013, nearly 89 nations are parties to the Convention. Moreover, during 2013 Americans adopted 7092 children from other countries.
HOW DO I START MY ADOPTION PROCESS?
In order to begin your intercountry adoption process, you will have to make sure that the agency providing you any sort of adoption services is accredited to the standards set by the Convention. These services involve: arranging an adoption and selecting a child for a suitable family; searching for all the information needed about the child and the prospective family; performing a home study and identifying whether the potential parent is able to assure the best conditions; arranging the custody and securing all the parental rights, etc. Every Convention country independently identifies what adoption service providers end up being “accredited” and “approved”.
One of the most important custody evaluation steps is performing a home study, which means that the evaluators will identify whether you, as a prospective parent, possess the required physical environment. The qualifications vary from state to state, so consider making a brief research of what specific conditions are set by your state. This study will be performed by your case preparer for Convention cases (i.e adoption agency, public domestic authority, an approved person, or a supervised provider). Other sides of parental evaluation will concern your financial position, physical, mental and emotional state, behavioural portrait, criminal checks, age, marital status, etc. If you are married, then at least one of you must be a U.S citizen; if single – your citizenship is essential.
Your next step will be to apply to USCIS (U.S Citizenship and Immigration Service), before starting the adoption process. After it approves the submitted application, you will be required to cooperate with an adoption service provider to get a proposed adoption placement. Afterwards, you will file a petition with USCIS in order to make sure that the child is eligible to immigrate to the United States.
After that, you will have to complete a parent training. Usually, it means at least 10 hours, but you have to be prepared that sometimes additional training hours are required. Your eligibility will be defined by USCIS.
Your last step will be to obtain an immigrant visa for the child and bring him or her to the U.S for admission with the visa. In some cases, the law requires you to be established in the child’s native country, for a short period of time.
Note: The fees and costs involving estimated adoption expenses are applying to home study, translations, child care, travelling, contributions to welfare programs in the child’s country. Other expenses between agencies, parents and service providers are forbidden.
WHAT DOCUMENTS DO I HAVE TO FILL DURING MY HAGUE ADOPTION PROCESS?
The following forms have to be submitted:
- Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country. It must be approved by USCIS before the child is suited to the family.
- Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative. This form means that the you have all the consents that the intercountry adoption fits all the requirements and it is in the child’s best interest.
- In case that you consider that the child risks to be inadmissible for the United States, you have to fill the Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility.
Note: The child you are willing to adopt is not automatically a citizen without a previously obtained visa.
WHAT ARE THE HAGUE REQUIREMENTS REGARDING THE CHILD?
The child you are willing to adopt must be younger than 16 years old; reside in the country that is part of the Hague Convention; be eligible for intercountry adoption, and obtain all necessary consents for adoption by her country of residence.
In case that you are going through the process of international adoption, consider hiring a professional immigration attorney that will help you successfully handle your case. All you have to do is go to Legal Bistro, create an account and describe your case.
Note: You remain anonymous until you decide to reveal your identity to the lawyer that you choose. Moreover, it is absolutely free for consumers so you have nothing to lose. Good luck!