What to Do if You Want to Adopt a Child from Overseas

Photo credit: Nithi clicks portrait of sleeping newborn baby via photopin (license)

Big-hearted celebrities such as Madonna and Angelina Jolie have made it look so easy to adopt a child from a developing country, bring them home, and give them an amazing life. But, doing it yourself may not be as easy as the A-listers make it look. There are many reasons why you might be considering adopting, whether you’re struggling to have your own children or feel that you should take in a child without a happy home instead. Although it’s possible, adopting a child from a country that you’ve traveled to will need to be approached with much caution and consideration. We’ve put together a checklist of anything important that you’ll need to consider.

#1. Legal Requirements:

In order to adopt a child from overseas, you’ll first need to meet all the legal requirements to adopt a child under U.S. law. You will not be permitted to bring an adopted child into the USA until you have been given the all-clear by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), who will determine your eligibility. To meet the legal requirements, you must be a U.S. citizen. If you are not married, you will need to be over the age of twenty-five, and if you are married, you must be adopting the child jointly with your spouse. Your spouse must also be a legal citizen or resident of the U.S. You will be put through criminal background checks, home studies, and fingerprints to determine your suitability to be an adoptive parent.

#2. Getting Prepared:

Once you’ve been deemed eligible by USCIS, it’s time to prepare for the adoption process. If you have not already found the child who you’ll be welcoming into your home, you may want to start visiting orphanages, adoption centers, and children’s homes. You’ll also need to prepare your home environment for the new addition to your family. If you’re adopting an older child, be very away of any cultural differences that may cause confusion for them when they arrive. Be open-minded and ready to learn from them. Becoming a foster parent can be a great way to prepare yourself for the next step of adoption. Follow the link to learn more about foster care California.

#3. Bringing Your Child Home:

Finally, you’ll need to make sure that your child travels safely to your home and is legally allowed to live in the U.S. The processes that you will need to take may differ depending on the country that your adopted child is originally from. If your child is from a country which has implemented the Hague Adoption Convention, your child will enter the U.S. with either an IH-3 or IH-4 immigrant Visa. Be sure to research the adoption laws of the country that you’re bringing your child from to ensure that you’re aware of any restrictions that may apply during the process. You may also be able to gain U.S. citizenship for your adopted child but will need to meet further requirements, such as having been the legal guardian of the child for at least two years.

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Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

I know what it's like to go from being a crazy backpacker without a care in the world, via being a vaguely sensible parent to being an adventurer once more. In other words, evolving into a Grown-up Traveller.

Like everyone else, I love to travel, have visited a lot of countries and all that but my big thing is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

Articles: 1280

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