Articles Posted in International Adoptions

On Friday I appeared at the 6PM evening news of KUSI to discuss a very concerning topic in current International Adoptions Law. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law, December 28, 2012, a measure that bans the adoption of Russian children by U.S. families effective January 1, 2013.

His actions could affect hundreds of U.S. families seeking to adopt. Americans adopted close to 1,000 Russian children last year, according to U.S. State Department figures.

The U.S. State Department said it “deeply regrets” the law announced by the Kremlin.

This is a recent USCIS update announcing that any U.S. citizen seeking to adopt a Nepali child, whose case is not affected by the suspension of processing cases involving Nepali children claimed to have been found abandoned, should file the Form I-600 with the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu.

This change in the filing location for the Form I-600 petitions applies to two groups of prospective adoptive parents who are not affected by the suspension. The first group is those who received a referral letter from the Government of Nepal’s Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare before Aug. 6, 2010, informing them of a proposed match of an abandoned child. The second group is those who seek to adopt Nepali children who were relinquished by known parent(s) and whose identity and relationship can be confirmed.

USCIS strongly encourages prospective adoptive parents to follow this procedure for their own benefit, based on growing concerns about unreliable documents, irregularities in the methods used to identify children for adoption in Nepal, and the resulting difficulties in classifying those children as orphans under U.S. immigration law. Please see the Aug. 6, 2010 announcement online regarding the suspension.

On July 20, 2010, the House of Representatives passed, by voice vote, the International Adoption Harmonization Act of 2010, to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act with respect to adopted alien children.

The International Adoption Harmonization Act of 2010, HR 5532, will allow an adopted child to legally immigrate so long as the adoption is completed and the petition is filed before the child turns 18. The current age limit is 16. The bill would also restore an international adoption exemption that was inadvertently eliminated when the U.S. joined the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoptions.

The bill was sponsored by Immigration Subcommittee Chairwoman, Zoe Lofgren (D-CA).

There is still a lot of confusions when it comes to Orphans from Haiti and the legal procedures concerning adoptions from that country. Under normal circumstances, a child immigrating to the United States from Haiti as the adopted orphan child of a U.S. citizen is adopted before leaving Haiti, and is then admitted to the United States with an immigrant visa for Lawful Permanent Residence (LPR) status. The adopted child then acquires citizenship upon entry as specified in section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

In light of the devastating earthquakes in Haiti, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security authorized Haitian children, who were adopted or were in the process of being adopted by American families prior to the earthquake, to be paroled into the United States. “Category 1” parolees are Haitian orphans who were already legally adopted in Haiti. “Category 2” parolees are certain Haitian orphans whose cases had not yet resulted in final adoptions.

o determine what steps to take next, it is most important to understand where you were in the adoption process in Haiti, click here for a complete guide from USCIS

In connection with the recent story about ten Americans charged with trafficking in Haiti but defended their plan to bus 33 children into the Dominican Republic. We remind our readers that moving Children between countries, and exploring adoption options must be still regulated by International law. Any attempts to move children unofficially will be deemed suspicious and subject to greater scrutiny. According to the group, the children did not have any passports. Government approval is needed for any Haitian children to leave the country.

The Department of State is actively involved in addressing the potential for trafficking in persons, particularly children, in post-earthquake Haiti. The disaster in Haiti has displaced many people and separated numerous children from their families, posing great risk and higher vulnerability to human trafficking. The Department has acted swiftly to mobilize coordinated efforts both on the ground in Haiti and in Washington to prevent and combat trafficking in persons as part of the USG’s emergency response and long-term planning for recovery.

Currently, the Department of State and its partners are intensifying efforts on five different fronts, including: support for protection of vulnerable children (led by UNICEF with the government of Haiti, the Red Cross, and other international and non- governmental organizations), such as registration of unaccompanied and separated children, tracing, and family reunification; helping remobilize the Haitian Police’s Child Protection Brigades; preventing the trafficking of displaced Haitians; educating Haitians about the risks of giving away children in times of crisis; and, rebuilding the capacity of Haitian NGOs already working to protect child domestic servants, known in Haiti as restaveks. We will keep monitoring this situation and keep you posted.

On Jan. 12, 2010, Haiti experienced an earthquake of devastating proportions. This set of questions and answers provides information for United States citizens in the process of adopting a child from Haiti.

Questions and Answers
Q. I am in the process of adopting a child from Haiti, what can I do to bring the child to the United States?
A. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano has authorized the use of humanitarian parole for the following categories of orphans in Haiti:
Category 1 Cases
Description: Children being adopted by U.S. citizens prior to Jan. 12, 2010, who have been legally confirmed as orphans available for inter-country adoption by the Government of Haiti (GOH) through an adoption decree or custody grant to suitable U.S. citizen adoptive parents.

Required Criteria:
* Evidence of availability for adoption MUST include at least one of the following:
o Full and final Haitian adoption decree; or
o GOH custody grant to prospective adoptive parents for emigration and adoption; or
o Secondary evidence in place of the above.

* Evidence of suitability MUST include one of the following:
o Approved Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition; or
o Current FBI fingerprints and security background check; or
o Physical custody in Haiti plus a security background check.

Please note, some of the children in this category will receive immigrant visas and others will receive humanitarian parole, depending on the completeness of the cases. Those who enter with immigrant visas will enter as aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence. Those who enter with humanitarian parole will need to have their immigration status finalized after arrival through an application for adjustment of status.

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International Adoptions is an extremely complex area of law that changes rapidly. According to the AP the number of foreign children adopted by Americans fell 12 percent in the past year, reaching the lowest level since 1999 as some countries clamped down on the process and others battled with allegations of adoption fraud.

Figures for the 2008 fiscal year, released by the State Department on Monday, showed 17,438 adoptions from abroad, down from 19,613 in 2007. The all-time peak was 22,884 in 2004.

By far the biggest drop was for adoptions from China, which fell to 3,909 from 5,453 in 2007 and a peak of 7,906 in 2005. Among the factors: a rise in domestic adoptions as China prospers and tighter restrictions on foreign adoptions that exclude single people, older couples, the obese and those with financial or health problems.

The process of International Adoptions has become more complex since the passage of Hague Intercountry Adoption regulations. USCIS released questions related to the new Hague intercountry
adoption process and the orphan adoption process since the implementation of the Hague Adoption Convention on April 1, 2008.

We link to the questions below.

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From time to time we feature guest writers on this Blog. This post was contributed by Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes on the subject of the criminal justice schools. She invites your feedback at kellykilpatrick24 at gmail dot com.

Every year, thousands of children are being adopted from other countries by citizens of the USA. The law of the land allows married couples and single individuals who are above the age of 25 and who can prove that they are able to support a child (through the home study) to adopt children from foreign nations. When you bring back your child to the United States, he/she needs a visa to be allowed into the country.

The Consular Office of the Department of State allocates a visa after conducting an I-604 investigation which verifies that the child you’re going to adopt is an orphan (as defined by the laws that govern US adoption) and that he/she does not suffer from a medical condition that you do not know about. Once the investigation is done, there are two kinds of visas that are offered for internationally adopted children:
• The IR-3 Visa: The Immediate Relative category 3 visa is given to children who are adopted by couples or individuals who have seen and interacted with the children before the adoption and if the adoption is completed according to the laws of the country the child belongs to. These children are made citizens of the United States as soon as they arrive on US soil. Parents do not have to register for citizenship and the necessary documents are sent to the child within 45 days of their arrival in the United States. While there is no need to perform a re-adoption process in the USA according to federal laws, some states do require that you carry out the procedure again on US soil.

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Under the most recent decision from BIA, an alien child who was adopted under the age of 18, and whose natural sibling was subsequently adopted by the same adoptive parent or parents while under the age of 16, may qualify as a “child” under INA section 101(b)(1)(E), even if the child’s adoption preceded that of the younger sibling. Matter of Anifowoshe, 24 I&N Dec. 442 (BIA 2008).

The Court agreed with the petitioner’s argument on appeal that there is no statutory or regulatory provision requiring that the beneficiary be adopted at the same time or after a natural sibling.

Read the ruling here Download file