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Hague convention provides rules for international adoption

Many people in Northern Kentucky who wish to have a child may be considering international adoption as a way to add to their family. International adoption has been an important part of the history of many American families' lives. However, it is important for people to keep the legalities in mind as they go through the process.

An international treaty, the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, also known as the Hague Adoption Convention, became law in the United States on April 1, 2008. After that date, any American who wishes to adopt internationally must ensure they comply with the law in the interests of the children involved, the birth parents and the adoptive parents. The countries that have signed the treaty designate a central authority to ensure that the adoption process has oversight and safeguards. In addition, adoption agencies and other service providers must be accredited to work on adoptions under the Hague process. It is important for prospective adoptive parents to ensure that their agency is authorized to work on Hague adoptions before signing a contract or providing funds.

An adoption agency cannot provide legal advice or services to prospective adoptive parents. An immigration attorney or a family law attorney may help parents navigate the requirements of the Hague Adoption Convention during their international adoption. During the process, prospective parents must obtain a qualified home study and then apply directly to the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service to receive approval for suitability for international adoption.

After working with an agency to find a potential adoptive child, the parents must file a petition with USCIS to have the child found eligible for immigration to the United States as an adoptee. This step is necessary to proceed with adoption and child custody as well as to obtain an immigrant visa for the adoptive child.

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