Intercountry or International Adoptions

Issues of intercountry or international adoption have been jumping from the press recently. From the orphans in Haiti to the returning of a child to Russia, it is clear that there is a lot of confusion about the rules and regulations surrounding the adoption of a child from another country. In addition, many adoption questions are answered by state law and are different in each state. Anyone thinking about such an adoption should consult a qualified adoption attorney to review the questions that will arise. In general, the following questions should be discussed.

Adoptions of children from another country are now controlled by the Hague Convention on Adoptions with any country that has passed the Convention. The United States passed it some years ago, but the regulations just went into effect in 2008. Those regulations are very strict and require authorities in the country of origin to approve the adoption and to provide the proper documentation. If the country of origin has not approved the Hague Convention, then the rules are very different and the combined efforts of both an adoption attorney and an immigration attorney can be helpful. Because the regulations are still being tested and are not very old, the interpretations are still being developed. Care should be taken to meet all requirements of the regulations.

Also of great interest is the fact that recent law changes have resulted in the giving of automatic U.S. citizenship to any child adopted by U.S. citizens whether the adoption is completed in this country or in the country of origin as long as the child is legally eligible for adoption. This does not mean that nothing needs to be done about citizenship. It means that application should be done, after the adoption, for proof of citizenship with the State Department. This can be done by getting a certificate of citizenship or a passport. The State Department website gives clear directions on how to go about doing this.

In Minnesota, it is also important to get an adopted child a Minnesota birth certificate. This can be done whether the child was legally adopted here or in a foreign country. If the child was not formally adopted in a foreign country, then a petition for adoption needs to be filed and an actual court hearing needs to be held.

Here at Berg, Debele, DeSmidt & Rabuse, P.A., we are fully aware of all of the questions and the answers necessary to help you though this process, and we have many years of experience in all of the issues. Feel free to contact us with any questions about adopting a child from another country.