Many Americans are choosing international adoptions, but navigating adoption law in two separate countries can be quite difficult, and parents may hope that the U.S. Department of State will help. However, the Department of State cannot represent adoptive parents in court or become involved in the adoption process. The agency does offer some assistance for prospective parents, and some potential problems too.
What the Department of State will do for adoptive parents
The Department of State will provide information about intercountry adoption and visa requirements for international travel. It will ask the U.S. consular section abroad about specific adoption cases or help clarify information about what paperwork is required. It will also make sure prospective parents are not discriminated against during the adoptive process.
The State Department has an extensive website with resources and information for prospective adoptive parents. Alerts are posted when available. For example, there was a ban on adopting children in Ghana, but on March 3, that ban was lifted. The Department of State does warn prospective parents that adoptions may take longer or be delayed as new laws are implemented.
What problems adoptive parents may run into
Adopting a foreign child will take time, and it can be a complex process with mounds of documentation. Before your new family member can come to the United States, he or she must meet eligibility requirements set forth by the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act. Also, the Department of State requires that he or she acquires a visa following the adoption.
There are many children around the world who need a family, and it is devastating when an adoption does not work out as anticipated. Have an experienced family law attorney on your side to cut through red tape and make sure you are following all applicable laws while you determine how the Department of State will help or hinder your international adoption.