New York Foreign Adoption

Instead of adopting a child that is already a U.S. citizen, many parents choose to adopt a child from another country. This is referred to as a foreign adoption or an international adoption. International adoption can be complicated, involving the laws of two different countries as well as international law. The process that must be followed depends on whether the foreign country involved is part of the Hague Convention or not. The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption is an international treaty that facilitates overseas adoptions and safeguard the interests of children, birth parents, and adopting parents. The Hague Convention became necessary because of corruption involved in international adoptions leading to financial loss, child custody issues, and failed adoptions. If you are in need of a family lawyer because you would like to adopt a child from another country, it is important that you contact an experienced New York foreign adoption lawyer who will explain to you the steps in the adoption process and help ensure the process is a smooth as possible.

Hague Adoption Convention

The Hague Adoption Convention governs adoptions between U.S. citizens and children who are citizens of countries that are also part of the Hague Convention. The steps involved in adopting a child from a Hague Convention country include:

  • Find a Hague-accredited adoption agency. The agency is critical to the process. The agency will assist in identifying a child, securing consent from the parents, and monitoring the case until the adoption is finalized.
  • Complete a Hague adoption home study. The home study will include an interview and home visit in order to assess the suitability of the adopting parents.
  • Apply to USCIS. The adopting parents must file a form with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to determine eligibility and suitability to adopt a child. Once the USCIS is approved, the adopting parents must apply to the other country for an adoption placement. The adopting parents must apply to USCIS to get approval for child to immigrate to the United States.
  • Adopt the child. The adopting parents have to choose whether to adopt the child in the child’s home country or whether to adopt the child in the United States.
  • Obtain immigrant visa for the child. The adopting parents must apply for a visa for the child. Because the child will be considered an immediate relative, there will be no waiting period for the visa. There are different types of visas depending on whether the adoption has been finalized or not.
  • Bring the child to the United States. Once a child is in the United States, the child will automatically acquire U.S. citizenship as long as the adoption is final.

There are currently over 90 countries in the Hague Convention including, Albania, Armenia, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, China (and Hong Kong), Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, El Salvador, France, Germany, India, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mali, Mexico, Slovenia, South Africa, Swaziland, Thailand, Togo, Uruguay, and Zambia.

Adopting from Non-Hague countries

If you would like to adopt a child from a non-Hague Convention country, you must satisfy both New York state law, United States Immigration law, and the laws of the foreign county. In order for a child to be eligible for adoption the child must be an orphan. To be considered an orphan the child must have no parents because of the death or disappearance of both parents. The child will also be considered an orphan if the sole parent is incapable of properly caring for the child.

To be eligible to adopt a child, the adopting parent must be a citizen of the United States. If the child is being adopted in New York, you must follow New York’s adoption process requirements.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Adopting a child from another country is challenging. It is important that you work with an experienced international adoption attorney who will help you successfully complete the process. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience with successfully representing clients who are seeking to adopt children, who have custody issues, and who have other family law matters. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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