On April 1, 2008 the Hague Adoption Convention was put into effect in the United States. Formally referred to as the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, this is an international treaty whose purpose it is to protect the interests of all parties involved in the intercountry adoption process. The treaty effectively provides important safety measures that are designed to safeguard the best interests of children, birth parents and adoptive parents alike who are involved in an intercountry adoption.
What do I need to know?
The Hague Adoption Process involves several steps, all of which have been specifically designed for the purpose of adoption through this process. As defined by a New York immigration lawyer at our firm, below are the key aspects that are involved in the Hague adoption process.
In order to adopt through the Hague Process, the country must be recognized under the official Hague Adoption Convention. Countries that fit into this category are referred to as Convention Countries, and there are currently 88 countries recognized as Convention Countries.
Intercountry adoptions are those processes which involve the United States and a designated Convention Country. All Intercountry Adoptions must follow the procedures involved in the Hague Adoption Process.
All Convention Countries must have a Central Authority that has been officially appointed with the task of ensuring that he Hague Adoption Process is kept safeguarded. In the U.S., the Department of State (DOS) acts as the Central Authority.
Adoption Service Provider (ASP)
An Adoption Service Provider is an accredited or authorized professional who can work in tandem with the Hague Adoption Process in order to provide the prospective adoptive parents with the assistance they need as they proceed through the process.
Although and Adoption Service Provider can offer essential support and information during the Hague Process, it is important to recognize that ASPs do not have the authority to provide legal advice or any type of legal services to prospective adoptive parents. The ASP is also unable to represent prospective adoptive parents before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is why you should not hesitate to speak with an immigration attorney from our firm as you contemplate the process.
As defined by the USCIS, there are essentially eight core steps to the Hague Adoption Process. These steps are as follows:
1. Select an ASP that has been accredited by the Hague Convention (the USCIS also recommends that an attorney be sought at this time)
2. Have an authorized person complete a home study of your living situation
3. Submit an application to the USCIS (the USCIS must approve the suitability of the adoption before a child can be adopted and before a placement can be accepted)
4. Work with an APS to obtain a proposed adoption placement (if the USCIS has approved your application)
5. Verify that the child you wish to adopt is eligible for immigration to the U.S. by filing a petition with the USCIS before the adoption
6. Adopt or otherwise obtain custody of the child so you can then adopt him or her in the U.S.
7. Obtain an immigrant visa for your newly adopted child
8. Bring the adopted child to the U.S. with his or her visa for legal admission into the country
During the Hague Process you will be required to fill out the Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country as well as the Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative.
Participants of the Hague Adoption Process must first complete the hone study procedures and obtain favorable results from the process. Once good standing has been established through the home study, the Form I-800A must be filed with the USCIS. Persons who are considered to be eligible to file Form I-800A are those who meet the following requirements:
If the USCIS approves a petitioner’s Form I-800A, the petitioner can then apply to the Central Authority of the other country in order to receive a specific adoption placement. Once the Central Authority issues the petitioner with a proposed placement for adoption, the Form I-800 must be filed on behalf of the child who will be adopted. Children are classified as a Hague Convention Adoptee if they meet a certain set of criteria, as defined below:
The adoption process is complex no matter what the circumstances may be, and when the circumstances call for adoption through the Hague Process, it can be even more complex. It is therefore crucial to the successful completion of your adoption that you involve a professional lawyer in the process as early on as possible.
With the supportive guidance of an immigration attorney from our firm on your side, you won’t have to worry about mistakes being made on your application or oversights occurring during any other part of the process. Pozo Goldstein, LLP is here to provide you with instructive guidance and personal support at every step of the way, so don’t hesitate to contact a New York immigration adoption attorney at our office today.