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How does international adoption work?

Adopting a foreign child can be a rewarding experience. However, Texas residents who wish to adopt such children should first be aware of all the laws related to international adoption.

Because adoption laws differ among countries, some countries will not allow Americans to adopt their children. Conversely, United State law will not allow some foreign children to be adopted into the country. However, prospective adoptive parents might be able to adopt a child overseas who is not qualified to immigrate to the U.S.

In order for an overseas child to be eligible for adoption under U.S. law, certain rules apply. At least one of the future adoptive parents is required to be an American citizen. To be granted a visa and travel to the U.S., the adoptive child must have either been abandoned by their parents or have at least one surviving parent who is not able to take care of them any longer. The parent must in writing, willingly and irrevocably give up the child to emigration and adoption. The adoptive parents must then obtain pre-approval through advance processing, which usually takes several months. While this process is lengthy, it helps the immigration and adoption to go smoother.

Following the pre-approval process, the adoptive parent can then identify the child and take a trip to the foreign country where the adoption will occur. The next step is to file an Orphan Petition to obtain the child's IR3 visa, which allows the child to automatically become a U.S. citizen once he or she enters the country. The child's certificate of citizenship will then be mailed to the adoptive parents. Adoptions finalized in the US will require the adoptive parents to file an IR4 visa.

International adoption involves many complex legal issues. To help make the adoption process go smoothly, prospective adoptive parents might benefit from speaking with a lawyer.

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