Adoption is a blissful way to create a family and to give a child (or even an adult) a loving, caring home. One question that often pops up in people’s minds considering adoption is if they can adopt a child from another country. Many others wonder how they can adopt from another state. Adoption itself is a fairly complicated area and international adoptions are even more complex and paper intensive.
Walters Gilbreath, PLLC can help. Contact our compassionate legal team at (844) 451-1220 to schedule a consultation.
Adopting a Child from Another Country
Texas gives full effect and recognition to adoptions finalized abroad in compliance with U.S. and international law. International law, in this regard, primarily refers to the Hague Convention which is an international agreement to safeguard inter-country adoptions. However, there are countries in the world who are not parties to the Hague Convention yet and therefore a different set of rules (the countries’ own laws regarding adoptions) will apply for adoptions from those countries.
Therefore, the two types of processes for inter-country adoptions are:
- The Hague Convention process, and
- The non-Hague Convention process
Which of the International Processes Applies to Adoptive Parents in the U.S.?
It all depends on which country the child is from. If the country the child resides in is a party to the Hague Convention, then the Hague process would apply to all U.S. adoptive parents. This is because the U.S.A. is also a party to the Hague Convention. If the child is from a non-Hague Convention country, then specific adoption laws of those countries involved would apply.
The process for Hague Convention adoptions and non-Hague Convention processes are in many ways similar except for the fact that those seeking to adopt from Convention countries usually receive better and higher protection.
Another distinction the Hague convention creates is the visa category you may be able to apply for your internationally adopted child. There are two visa categories:
- IH-3 visa: Children adopted from a Hague Convention country can enter the U.S. with an IH-3 visa and may automatically and without delay receive U.S. citizenship.
- IH-4 visa: This is for children coming to the U.S. as an orphan, to be adopted by you. This visa category also applies to adoptions already finalized abroad when the child is from a non-Hague Convention country. And adopted child under this category receives a green card after admission to the U.S. and does not automatically qualify for a certificate of citizenship.
Domestic & Interstate Adoptions
According to the proposed Uniform Adoption Act, the courts in Texas are to give full effect to the adoption decisions of other jurisdictions. The federal constitution’s “full faith and credit” clause may also come into play to recognize a final decree of adoption issued by another state. Additionally, the full faith and credit requirement of the federal Parental Kidnaping Prevention Act (PKPA) would also require recognition of final decrees from other states. In brief, this means that courts in Texas are to give due regards to the adoption decisions and decrees made by courts in other States.
Deciding Between Domestic Adoption v. International Adoption
One of the dilemmas many prospective adoptive parents face is deciding between domestic adoption and international adoption. Both have their own virtues to them and a lot of factors are involved. You should be well-aware of both options and then move forward with one that best suits your situation and matches your criteria.
Some of the factors you should consider include:
- Cost: Many people have a mistaken belief that either of these adoption options costs way more than the other one. In truth, costs for domestic adoption or international adoption does not differ that much. While the cost range for domestic adoption is $30,000 – $50,000, the same for international adoption ranges somewhere between 32,000 and 66,000.
- Wait times: Wait times for both categories of adoptions depend on a number of factors including the adoptive family’s own planning and the country they are adopting the child from. A majority of domestic adoptions take about a year or less to complete, while international adoptions have different time-range depending on the country and other administrative processes involved. For example, adopting a child from Russia may take less than a year while adopting from China may take up to a few years.
- Age of the child: Another factor influencing the decision is whether you want to adopt a newborn or an older baby. Domestic options allow newborn adoptions, while your best bet in an international adoption would be an older infant or a toddler.
- Legal concerns: Adoption rules may vary from country to country. As an adoptive family or a parent, you should do your research on the country you are intending to adopt a child from. Some countries may have stricter policies requiring that the adoptive parents be married, or that they be married for at least a certain number of years. There are usually no such restrictions for domestic adoptions.
- Traveling involved: Both interstate and international adoptions would involve some amount of travelling. For domestic adoptions, adoptive parents usually travel to the home state of the child. Often, they would travel to witness the birth of the child or would meet with the biological parents even before the child’s birth. For international adoptions that would mean travelling to the country where you’re adopting the child from. Some countries might require you to travel and stay in that country for an extended length of time (a couple of weeks).
In the end, whether you should choose one or the other depends entirely on your own preference. Plan ahead, do your research, weigh among different factors, and go with the option that seems best to you. Your Texas adoption attorney will help to walk you through the process.
Contact Walters Gilbreath, PLLC by using our online form to schedule your initial consultation.