Navigating International Adoption Laws for Tomball Residents

If you wish to adopt a child from a foreign country, you must do everything by the book. There are many hoops to pass through until you can bring the child into the U.S. and naturalize them as a U.S. citizen. In this article, an experienced Tomball family law attorney discusses the key aspects of international adoption laws.

Here is what you need to know:

Work with an Authorized Adoption Service Provider (ASP)

Start your international adoption process the right way by working with an authorized ASP specializing in the adoption and immigration laws in the child’s country of origin. The ASP representative will liaise with your family law attorney in order to make the process smooth and without problems from end to end.

In general, there are three ways of adopting a child from abroad:

  • Through the Hague Adoption Convention process – find here a list of countries that adopted the convention
  • Through the Orphan process – by following the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) rules
  • Through the Family-Based Petition – generally not available, if you are adopting a child from a Hague convention country.

Remember that the adoption process is time-consuming and expensive, so make sure that you have the patience to go through every single step.

What Happens If I Adopted a Child Abroad?

If you spent a certain time in a different country and, while there, adopted a child, you must ensure that the adoption is recognized in the U.S. before beginning the process for including the child in your U.S.-based family.

The Texas Administrative Code 181.29 stipulates the necessary documents needed to start the legal process:

  • A certified copy of the foreign adoption decree plus translation into English
  • The child’s birth certificate
  • Request for the issuance of a new U.S. certificate of birth
  • Proof of payment of legal fees

If you adopted a child internationally, it is essential to work with an experienced lawyer so that the adoption is recognized in the U.S.

a lawyer can help you adopt a child from another country

The Next Step: Passing the Home Study

Just like in the case of a domestic adoption, international adoption laws state that you must pass a home study before you are declared eligible to adopt the child. The home study includes several assessments:

  • Background check for both adoptive parents – the check involves both criminal history and personal character
  • Home visits to ensure that the living environment is suitable for raising a child
  • Financial assessment to determine the parent’s financial stability and ability to provide for the child
  • Mental evaluation for both parents – physical and mental health checks
  • References – the adoption authorities will interview neighbors, family members and others who will vouch for your suitability to parent a child

As part of the home study, you will also receive international adoption education materials. Together with the advice from your Tomball family law attorney, you will have all the necessary information to proceed with confidence.

Going through the Immigration Process

The most complex part of an international adoption is the immigration process. Here, both your lawyer and the ASP are invaluable in assisting you with filing in and submitting the paperwork required by USCIS.

If you are adopting through the Hague convention process, you will have to fill in:

  • the I-800A form – the Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country
  • the I-800 form – Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative.

If the adoption is made through the orphan process, you must fill in:

  • the I-600A form – Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition
  • the I-600 form – Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative.

This process is necessary to obtain the visa for the child, so that you can bring them legally into the U.S. The good news is that you can apply for a visa and submit the forms even before the adoption process is complete. This will save a lot of valuable time.

The Next Steps: Citizenship and Naturalization

After the adoption, you have to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship for your child. This will ensure that your child enjoys all the rights of a U.S citizen. From here onwards, it is your responsibility and privilege as loving parents to educate your child in the spirit of American values.

Let an Experienced Tomball Family Law Attorney Help You with International Adoption!

Nothing is more precious than bringing a child into your family and nurturing them. If you are considering an international adoption, consult with an experienced Tomball family law attorney as soon as you’ve made up your mind.

As we explained in this article, the process takes a lot of time, so do not waste any valuable time. Call us today to schedule an initial appointment: 281-519-2287!

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Bolton Law, led by board-certified lawyer Ruby Bolton, handles all types of divorce and family law matters.

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