Family Law Insights

Adopting Foreign Children: What Every Couple Should Know

Posted on: August 12th, 2013

Having a child can do wonders in the family. For most parents, they consider their children as the bonding element that strengthens the relationship between family members. However, there are couples who may find it hard to bear a child. When all medical remedies and prayers left unanswered, there’s another option to take – adoption.

Adopting foreign children has been common in the United States. Records from the U.S. Immigration state that there are over 200,000 adopted foreign children residing in the country. Apparently, there are approximately 20,000 international adoptions processed annually.

Starting the Process

A couple wanting to adopt a foreign child should acquire approval from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This will make the process legitimate, granting the child U.S. citizenship. They should also know the process involved in both countries – the U.S. and the country they wish to get a child from.

Prospective parents can also contact a legitimate international adoption agency for a smoother process. These institutions are familiar with the immigration process in different countries, and may have good resources together with their partner agencies. Make sure to use the services of a reputable international agency with years of experience to avoid legal issues in the future.

Laws Governing each Country

Foster parents should be aware of the laws governing the foreign country. The issue is a confidential matter between the couple and the government or the international agency. Thus, the U.S. government doesn’t have the right to petition in the best interest of the parents in cases of international adoptions. The adoption attorney may remind the couple of such fact but it’s up to them to research on the laws of the corresponding foreign country.

Immigration Issues

An adopted child doesn’t automatically turn into a U.S. citizen. There are legal procedures and requirements needed to be met by the couple in order for their children to become a U.S. citizen. Prospective foster parents should coordinate with the USCIS regarding this matter.

The adoption attorney may offer two legal methods. First is that parents can apply for adoption if the child has lived with them for two years in the U.S. given that they met all the requirements stated by the USCIS. Second is going to an orphanage and complying with the immigration requirements.

After immigration issues, other factors to consider include the couple’s income, length of marriage and stability of relationship, and living conditions. These are often checked by the social welfare.

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John DiNatale joined Kitchens New Cleghorn, LLC as Of Counsel in January 2018. His practice focuses on family law with expertise in divorce, child support, child custody, modifications, contempt, and prenup…
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