International Adoptions: Overcoming the Complexities
Adopting a child from another country is more complex than a domestic adoption. These type of adoptions can be expensive and can take longer to complete. However, this does not make adopting a child from another country impossible. Rather, it just means that there are additional issues of which prospective adoptive parents should be aware.Hague Convention
The Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) was designed to provide safety for the children and parents involved in adoptions. The specific objectives are to establish:
- Safeguards to ensure that adoptions are in the best interests of the child; and
- A system of cooperation between contracting states to ensure safeguards are respected to prevent the abduction, sale and trafficking of children.
There are many requirements for both the state of origin and the receiving state. The state of origin must:
- Establish that the child is adoptable;
- Attempt to find placement of the child within the country of origin, and if, after due consideration is given to this effort, determine if intercountry adoption is in the best interests of the child;
- Ensure that consent of the parents has been obtained freely, is in writing, and was not induced as a result of payment or compensation;
- Ensure that the child (with regard to the age and maturity of the child) has been counseled about the effects of adoption and, if required, has consented; and
- Give consideration to the child's wishes and opinions.
The receiving state must determine whether the:
- Prospective adoptive parents are eligible and suited to adopt;
- Prospective adoptive parents have been counseled about adoption; and
- Child is or will be authorized to enter and reside permanently in the state.
In order to carry out the duties under the Convention, each country was required to set up a Central Authority. In the United States, the Central Authority is part of the Department of State, specifically the Bureau of Consular Affairs.
In order to adopt a child from another country, the prospective parent must:
- Be a U.S. citizen;
- If unmarried, be at least 25 years of age;
- f married, adopt jointly; and
- Pass criminal background checks, fingerprinting and a home study.
It is important to note that these are only some of the requirements for international adoption. In addition to the Hague Adoption Convention requirements, there may be additional state requirements that must be met. While the Hague Adoption Convention provides important safeguards for children that are up for adoption, it also makes the adoption process slower.
Help with Your Adoption
If you are considering adopting a child, either from within the U.S. or from another country, contact our skilled Illinois family law attorneys at MKFM Law. If you have any questions, we would be happy to answer them.