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Adopting children from outside the United States, or International Adoption, requires a legal process which must be followed in accordance with The Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption.
This Convention is an international agreement which safeguards adoptions between countries. It sets forth international standards and rules which apply to all adoptions by United States citizens who wish to adopt children who are citizens of another country.
The key elements of this Convention are in place to protect children from kidnapping, child-trafficking, and so that any adoption taking place will be in the best interests of the child. Sometimes, an opportunity for a child to become a part of a family and way of life cannot be found in the child’s home country, and the Convention also makes provision for that by enabling recognition of opportunity outside the child’s own country.
Not all countries participate in The Hague Convention although it is not impossible to adopt from those countries who do not participate. A list of the countries that closely monitor international adoptions for the safety and best interests of children can be found at the US Department Of State Intercountry Adoption page.
In order to complete a foreign adoption there are a multitude of forms that must be submitted, proofs of all aspects of the adoptive parents’ lives, deadlines that must be met, and the entire process must be completed both domestically and in the child’s home country.
The process can not only sometimes be a lengthy one but if information isn’t provided or the process isn’t done correctly, it can be expensive as well as exasperating. If you are planning to adopt a child from another country you will need an attorney who is knowledgeable of The Hague Convention, the laws in the country you are wishing to adopt from as well as New York laws on adoption.
There are not only age restrictions on adoptions in some countries, but there are variable requirements for adoptive parents such as amount of their income, state of their dwelling, their health and marital status. Your attorney can advise you of what restrictions might apply to your adoption case, and what is required of you from the adoption country. There are also US Immigration laws which must be followed for adoption cases.
Parent-initiated adoptions of children from non-Hague Convention countries is not common, but your foreign adoption attorney can also assist you in adopting from countries that are not on the Hague Convention list. Depending on the laws of that particular country, there may be tight restrictions for US Citizens wishing to adopt or the country you wish to adopt from prohibits adoptions by US citizens.
The first step to foreign adoption usually begins with the parents contacting an international adoption agency. An attorney can also assist in locating a reputable and legal agency before you even begin your search and it is wise, if you know you will be planning to adopt, to locate a New York foreign adoption attorney before you begin the process so that your experience can be as timely and worry-free as possible.
International adoptions, unlike domestic adoptions can be costly, ranging from as much as $20,000 to $50,000 but the cost varies country by country as well as year by year as costs continue to rise.
If you are adopting internationally, it must be realized that the first attempts to place an infant is with family members, and if that is impossible then other prospective families from their home country. It is not impossible to adopt an infant internationally, however, the odds are high that if you are adopting an infant they will more than likely be a toddler or older by the time they arrive in the US.
To adopt in the United States, certain criteria must be met, though it is not as stringent as International laws which can sometimes even stipulate that a person must be married for a certain amount of time or that they must be the same religion as the adopted child’s birth parents. Here are just a few of the deciding factors which can affect the outcome of an international adoption:
- Adoptive Parent’s Age
- Marital Status
- Medical or Psychiatric Illness
- History of Arrest/Criminal Record
- History of Child Abuse or Neglect
- History of Domestic Violence
- Sexual Abuse
To finalize an international adoption in New York, it must first be finalized in the adoptive child’s country, then the adoptive parents can petition the court for re-adoption. Re-adoption is the process of adopting a child again in the United States after legally adopting from another country. When this process is complete, a birth certificate can be issued to the child.
If you are considering adopting from a foreign country you should contact an attorney who can navigate the often complicated process of international adoption law and who knows the laws of adoption governing the State of New York. Adopting a needy child can be one of life’s most wonderful and rewarding experiences. Let an attorney who understands the law work to assist you in making your adoption as stress-free and as timely as possible.