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Intercountry adoption basics

Various types of adoptions were discussed in last week's blog post, but one was not mentioned, as it often ends up being more complicated than domestic ones. Intercountry adoptions, the process through which someone adopts a child from a country other than their own through permanent legal means and then brings that child to live with them in their country of residence, is mired in international, state and foreign law, which is why it can often become complicated.

The first step to adopting a child from another country is ensuring that one is eligible in the United States. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is the federal agency responsible for making this determination-no child can be brought into the country unless the USCIS deems the adopter eligible. Some of their basic requirements are that the person adopting be an American citizen, at least 25 years of age if they are unmarried or if married, the child must be adopted jointly and the spouse must also be either a legal resident or citizen of America. There are also other requirements regarding background checks, fingerprinting and a home check. In addition to these, each state has their own eligibility criteria and so does the foreign country from where the children are being adopted.

Children can be adopted from countries that are signatory to the Hague Convention, the law governing such matters. Once the proper paperwork is filed, the USCIS evaluates the suitability and eligibility of people wishing to become adoptive parents. Approval can take anything from 15 months to more.

With so many different laws applying to one process, it can become overwhelming for Louisiana residents who are wishing to expand their family through adoption. Consulting with someone who is knowledgeable about the law may be beneficial.

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