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Hague Adoption

The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Convention) entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008. The Convention governs all adoptions between the United States and the over 70 countries party to the Convention. There are a few key changes to the intercountry adoption process under the Convention that you should consider when adopting a child from a Convention country:

The Hague Adoption Convention process provides additional protections to prospective adoptive parents, children, and birth parents. The primary principles of the Hague Adoption Convention include: (1) ensuring that each adoption is in the best interests of the child, and (2) preventing the abduction, the sale of, or traffic of children related to intercountry adoption. The United States strongly supports these principles. Our process for adoptions from Convention countries is aimed at meeting these principles and is governed by the the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 and its implementing regulations.

Adoption service providers must be accredited, temporarily accredited, or approved on a national level in order to provide adoption services in Convention countries. When adopting from a Convention country, prospective adoptive parents will know that their agency or attorney has been evaluated based on comprehensive standards contained in federal regulations. These standards are designed to ensure that adoption agencies and persons operate using sound professional and ethical adoption practices.

Children being adopted from a Convention country must qualify as a Convention adoptee in order to immigrate to the United States. USCIS determines whether a particular child meets the definition of a Convention adoptee.

There are five primary elements to the Convention adoptee classification. In addition to other applicable requirements, all of the following must be true for a child to be eligible for the Convention adoptee classification:

1. The child is under the age of 16 at the time the I-800 is filed on his or her behalf (taking into account special rules on filing dates for children aged 15-16), is unmarried, and lives in a Convention country;

2. The child will be adopted by a married U.S. citizen and spouse jointly, or by an unmarried U.S. citizen at least 25 years of age, habitually resident in the United States, whom USCIS has found suitable and eligible to adopt (Form I-800A approval) with the intent of creating a legal parent-child relationship.

3. The childs birth parents (or parent if the child has a sole or surviving parent), or other legal custodian, individuals, or entities whose consent is necessary for adoption, freely gave their written irrevocable consent to the termination of their legal relationship with the child and to the childs emigration and adoption;

4. If the child has two living birthparents who were the last legal custodians who signed the irrevocable consent to adoption, they are determined to be incapable of providing proper care for the child; and

5. The child has been adopted or will be adopted in the United States or in the Convention country in accordance with the rules and procedures elaborated in the Hague Adoption Convention and the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA), including that accredited adoption service providers were used when required, and there is no indication of improper inducement, fraud, misrepresentation, or prohibited contact associated with the case.


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