Family is one of the main values in a person’s life. However, unfortunately, not all families can have a child. Moreover, there are a huge number of children in the world who are deprived of parental love and affection. Therefore, adoption is a great option for many to find a long-awaited family.
It is worth saying that in the United States, the adoption of children from other countries is in great demand. According to statistics from the Immigration Service, there are about 5,000 international adoptions in the United States each year. The reasons for this are the desire of Americans to help children from low-developed and economically unstable countries and give them a chance for a brighter future. In addition, nowadays many tend to create multicultural families. Also, an important factor of intercountry adoption is the huge competition of this procedure in the United States.
Most often, American families adopt children from China, Congo, Russia, Guatemala, South Korea, Ethiopia, and Ukraine.
International adoption procedure
Undoubtedly, international adoption is a very long and difficult process. In order to adopt a child from another country, you first need to obtain an adoption permitted. This issue is handled by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It determines the eligibility of prospective adoptive parents and checks children’s immigration eligibility.
Nevertheless, international adoption is also regulated by the laws of the child’s country of birth. Accordingly, before you decide to adopt a child from a particular country, be sure to check its requirements for international adoption.
In general, there are 3 processes for the immigration of adopted children. And in order to adopt a child from another country, you need to meet all the requirements, in accordance with the chosen process.
1. The Hague Adoption Process
First of all, since 2008, the United States has been a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. It includes more than 100 countries. Therefore, if the child’s country of origin is in this list, you can use that circumstance in adoption.
2. Orphan Adoptions (Non-Hague)
Basically, this is an adoption procedure for orphans from countries that are not parties to the Hague Convention. In this case, you need to officially prove the orphanhood of the child.
It should be noted that in the first two cases, the potential parents of the adopted child must be US citizens over the age of 25. Furthermore, they need to provide proof of residence and material conditions, as well as to pass an intercountry adoption home study.
3. The family-based petition process
It applies to US citizens and permanent residents who intend to adopt a child through kinship. Meanwhile, the child at the time of adoption must be up to 16 years old (or up to 18 years old if the adoptive parent is a biological brother or sister). In addition, you need to have at least 2 years of joint resident and legal custody.
Immigrant visas for adopted children
Besides, if you are adopting a child from another country, you will need an immigrant visa to bring your kid to the United States.
Overall, there are several types of immigrant visas for adopted children:
1.For children from the countries of the Hague Convention
- IH-3 visa: issued for children who have fully passed the adoption procedure.
- IH-4 visa: for children who come to the United States for adoption.
2. For children for Orphan (Non-Hague) Adoptions
- IR-3 visa: after full and final adoption.
- IR-4 visa: issued if the child: is coming to the USA for adoption; was adopted by only one of the parents (if they are married).
3. For other adopted children – visa IR-2.
The procedure for obtaining American citizenship for an adopted child
First, children who come to the United States on the basis of IR-3 and IH-3 visas automatically acquire American citizenship. However, the child must be no older than 18 years of age when entering the United States.
Secondly, children with IR-4 and IH-4 visas do not receive citizenship upon arrival but become US residents. Hence, they get a Green Card. Once the adoption procedure is over, only then can they obtain a Certification of Citizenship.
Third, there are several options for adopted children with an IR-2 visa. Basically, they get US citizenship automatically. However, there are cases when a child receives a green card.
The period of adoption and costs
Typically, the adoption process takes from one to four years. This is influenced by many factors. Usually, the duration depends on the laws and procedures for intercountry adoption in the child’s country of birth.
With regard to the costs of international adoption, everything is individual here. In most cases, the cost is approximately $ 30-50 thousand.