If you’re a North Carolina resident and considering an international adoption, you may have questions about how the process works. International adoption is a wonderful way to add to your family. The U.S. government allows intercountry adoption and even provides information to make the process easier. Here are some frequently asked questions about international adoptions in North Carolina:
Where do international adoption laws come from?
Laws for international adoptions come from United States laws, North Carolina laws and the laws of the country you’re going to adopt from. You must follow the laws of the child’s home country in order to take your child to the United States. Then, you must follow U.S. and North Carolina laws to finalize your adoption or to have a U.S. court recognize the adoption. You need to understand and follow all of the applicable laws in order to successfully complete the adoption process.
What are the adoption laws in the country I’m adopting from?
Many countries are part of the Hague Adoption Convention of 2008. For countries that are part of the Hague convention, there are uniform rules for how the adoption process works. Countries that aren’t a part of the Hague Adoption Convention make their own laws.
When you’re considering international adoption, it’s important not to assume that the country you’re considering is part of the Hague Adoption Convention. For example, Russia and Ukraine are not member countries, but China is a member country. It’s important to check the list to see if the country you want to adopt from is a member of the Hague Adoption Convention. If they are, standard rules apply to the adoption process.
What are the Hague Adoption Convention rules?
The Hague Adoption Convention rules exist to ensure that children are safe from international trafficking and that adoption is in the best interests of each child. Authorities must conduct detailed checks in order to ensure that a child is eligible for adoption. Countries agree to use only licensed agencies to facilitate international adoptions.
The rules require all prospective adoptive parents to undergo a home study. Parents must complete 10 hours of training that includes information about helping a child form family attachments and helping them process the loss of their biological family. Adoptive parents must be 25 years old to adopt from a Hague Adoption Convention country.
Can I choose what country to adopt from?
Yes, you can choose what country to adopt from. There are pros and cons to working with each country. Our experienced North Carolina international adoption attorney can help you weigh your options.
Do I complete the adoption process abroad or in North Carolina?
You might complete the adoption process in your child’s home country. Alternatively, you might receive a guardianship of the child in their home country and complete the adoption process in North Carolina. Even if you complete your adoption process in your child’s home country, it’s important to readopt your child formally in a North Carolina court. Formalizing your adoption in North Carolina ensures that the United States recognizes the adoption. Readoption protects against future challenges to the adoption.
Can I take my child to the United States once I have guardianship?
In order to take your child to the United States, you need a visa. The type of visa you need for your child depends on whether the country you’re adopting from is a member of the Hague Adoption Convention and whether you formally adopt the child in their home country. You need an IH-3 visa for a Hague country where the adoption is completed abroad. You need an IH-4 visa for a Hague country where your adoption isn’t complete when you enter the United States. For adoptions from non-Hague countries, you need an IR-3 or IR-4 visa depending on whether you need to complete the adoption process in North Carolina.
Is my child automatically a citizen?
Your child may not automatically be a citizen even after you adopt them. It depends on the type of visa that you have for your child and whether you complete the adoption process in your child’s home country. If your child has an IH-3 or an IR-3 visa, your child is automatically a citizen as long as they enter the United States before age 18 and reside with you upon entry. If your child has an IH-4 or an IR-4 visa, they automatically have a green card but they’re not automatically a citizen.
In both cases, it’s critical to adopt your child in North Carolina. For IH-4 and IR-4 visas, adoption in the United States is the only way to finalize the adoption of the child. For IH-3 and IR-4 visas, readoption is critical for U.S. recognition of the adoption and to prevent legal challenges to the adoption in the future.
What information do I receive about a child before adoption?
You typically receive a copy of your child’s birth certificate. Your should also receive the results of the child’s medical exam. It’s generally a good idea to review the medical information with a physician of your choice. The information that you receive may be incomplete, and it’s important that you follow up with your adoption agency in order to ensure that you have the information you’re looking for.
What is the adoption process like in North Carolina for an international adoption?
The procedure in North Carolina begins with filing a petition in the appropriate court. If your adoption is complete in your child’s home country, the court verifies the information and records the adoption in North Carolina’s state records. If you need to complete the adoption in North Carolina, the court reviews the information and approves the adoption. The court must ensure that you’re qualified to be an adoptive parent and that the adoption is in the child’s best interests.
How long does it take to complete an international adoption?
The length of an international adoption depends on the country you choose and your specific case. The first step is completing your information dossier. After your information is complete, you might wait for as little as two months or you might wait many months to hear about a child who is available for adoption. You must travel to meet your child and finalize the adoption. The entire process can take more than a year, but it can also be faster.
How can a North Carolina adoption attorney help?
If you’re considering an international adoption in North Carolina, an international adoption attorney can help you complete the process successfully the first time. An experienced attorney can ensure that you apply for the right visa and take the proper steps to ensure that your adoption is recognized in North Carolina. If you’re considering an international adoption, contact our office today to speak with Bobby about your case.