Do other countries adopt from the US? (+why)

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Do other countries adopt from the US? We talk about international adoption: requirements, laws, immigration and the obstacles of international adoption.

Do other countries adopt from the US?

Yes, non-citizens living outside the United States are eligible to adopt from US foster care.  People who are interested in adopting in the US will have to comply with both the legal regulations for adoption in the US and those in the country where the child will live.

The Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) allows other countries (signatories or not to the convention) to adopt from the USA and vice versa.

The legal requirements for adopting a baby vary from country to country. If you are thinking about adoption to increase the family, there are legal aspects that you should know depending on where you live. In the US there are different possibilities of adopting a baby and the legal regulations are governed by each state.

Compared to adoption procedures in other countries, the rules in the US are more flexible. You can opt for domestic adoption or within your own country or international adoption and there are several intermediaries through which the baby can be found, thereby increasing the chances of adoption.

Can immigrants adopt a child in the US?

Immigrants who are U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents can adopt a U.S. citizen child as long as the state finds them eligible for the adoption process. If they want to adopt a child who is not a U.S. citizen or a U.S. lawful permanent resident, then the parents will need to be aware that this child cannot immigrate to the United States through the Hague or orphan intercountry adoption processes.

Thus, there will be a need for a lawyer specializing in immigration and international adoptions to acquire a right of residence for the child in the United States. Immigrants with temporary residency in the United States must also consult a specialized immigration and adoption lawyer if they want to adopt a U.S. citizen child.

How to adopt a child in the US

In the US, adoption is surrounded by multiple possibilities. You can traditionally adopt a baby, but you can also take in the child for a certain time. In many cases, adoption also includes some contact with the baby’s biological family, especially if you have siblings who have not been adopted by the same family.

There is no single place to start the procedures to adopt. There are National Public Agencies that are more oriented to the adoption of children with problems. In these cases, the adoption process does not require much time and economically the outlay is about $ 2,500.

Both time and money change if you opt for a Private Adoption Agency, a place where biological mothers who want to give their children for adoption can choose the most suitable family for their baby. Families must pass an eligibility test and are placed on a waiting list. You can also go to an Independent Adoption Agency, in which case it is necessary to have a lawyer so that all the procedures are done legally.

Requirements to adopt in the US

In the United States, the rules for adopting the adoptive family are less strict than elsewhere. Anyone can adopt, including couples, married couples or single people who present psychological and material guarantees for the baby to enjoy a good quality of life. However, the procedures to determine if a family or a person who wants to adopt is suitable are more relative than in other countries.

The minimum age to adopt a baby is considerably reduced compared to other countries, with the minimum age for adopting in the US being 18 years old. This age can vary in each state and the same happens with the years of difference that must exist between the person who adopts and the adopted minor, which is only 10 years. 

In most states, adoption by same-sex couples is prohibited, but this impediment can be easily remedied by allowing adoption by only one person.

Requirements for the international adoption process

More and more couples choose to adopt minors of foreign origin since in most cases the waiting periods are shorter than if they were to do so in their country.

To know if you are suitable or not to carry out the procedures of international adoption, you must bear in mind the common requirements:

  • Be over 25 years old. In the adoption by both spouses, it is enough that one of them has reached the mentioned age.
  • Be at least 14 years older than the person adopted. 
  • Having been declared suitable for the exercise of parental authority by the competent public entity.

As for advice, if you are considering international adoption, it is recommended that you contact a family lawyer in your city, who will give you all the necessary details to begin the procedure and will guide you through it.

On the path of adoption you have to be patient but above all to have a lot of enthusiasm since it is a long process and sometimes there are unexpected delays. There is a significant disproportion between the number of international adoptions that are finalized and the number of applications made.

What children can be adopted internationally? 

  • Children with an average age of 7 years.
  • Groups of siblings.
  • Children under 5 years of age with physical health problems or members of a group of siblings.
  • Victims of serious rights violations.
  • Victims of progressive abandonment and long institutionalization time.
  • With disorders in the behavioural and socio-affective field (with or without drug treatment).
  • With attachment disorders.
  • With morbid family antecedents such as intellectual limitations, psychiatric or personality disorders, drug and/or alcohol consumption, among others.

The adoption process for a married couple living abroad

The application process for a married couple living abroad begins when the public Central Authority or the accredited foreign body sends the application form and documents that the legal regulations require.

The documentation contained in the file is reviewed and analyzed by a psychosocial and legal team, to determine its suitability. If there are no legal and/or technical objections, they are entered into a Foreign Marriage Registry, remaining on the waiting list for the assignment of a child, according to their expectations and parental skills.

If any objection is found in the documentation, the applicants are informed through a letter addressed to the body that represents them, waiting for it to be corrected to proceed to enter them into the registry.

If the application is rejected, it is communicated through a letter addressed to the institution that sponsors the application of the marriage, informing in detail the legal and/or technical reasons that make the application unfeasible.

After selecting a family that meets the appropriate profile to assume the adoptive parenting of a child who hopes to be adopted by a family residing abroad, an assignment proposal is made, through which the sponsoring foreign body is formally notified. For this purpose, the most relevant background of the child is attached to this assignment, which allows the family to decide if they have the capacities to assume it or not.

If the assignment is accepted, the Central Authority of the offering country issues a document confirming their consent and, subsequently, the marriage documentation and the child’s background are sent to the region where the child resides, to start the adoption process.

Adopting abroad: first steps

The first and most important thing before starting the process to adopt abroad is to be sure of the step that you are going to take; bear in mind that the interest of the minor must always come first and not ours. And the more informed we are, the better. 

To do this, it is best to contact the competent services of your autonomous community: many have specific adoption services, or, apart from that, child protection services, where they will provide you with all the information you need.

Once decided, the next thing is to submit your application and the long list of documentation required by the regional administration so that you can open a file. Next, you must attend a preparation course. It is a program that includes group sessions with adoption applicants and expert professionals, whose objective is to help you make the decision.

Then comes one of the most important moments: choosing the country of origin of your child. Currently, the most required are Russia, China, Vietnam and Colombia, although this list varies from time to time depending on the obstacles or facilities that the issuing countries are imposing. 

In addition to your criteria, it is necessary to assess many aspects, such as empathy towards that country, the similarities with its culture and language; if you prefer that your child is similar to you physically or completely different (or perhaps this aspect is not relevant for you), or that you meet the specific requirements of the country. 

In general, a certain level of income is demanded, and that the couple is stable and healthy. Now, the demands have become more varied, especially those of the Chinese government, such as asking for a maximum body mass (to restrict adoption to obese people) or a certain level of education.

The waiting time and the cost of the processing (it is necessary to travel more than once to some countries, for example) are also very influential factors when deciding. In general, children over five years of age and those with some kind of disability or health problem are more easily adopted.

It should be remembered that although it is possible to choose a child who does not have a disability, it is not possible to decide on sex or age; however, it is recommended that you indicate your preferences in the adoption application.

FAQ on Do other countries adopt from the US?

Does the US allow international adoption?

Yes, the US allows international adoption. In fact, it is quite common that foreign families adopt American babies. The Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) allows other countries (signatories or not to the convention) to adopt from the USA and vice versa.

What countries can the US not adopt from?

The US cannot adopt children from the following countries: Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal and Guatemala. The reason for this is that most governments believe that these countries’ adoption systems have not safeguarded against corruption in the adoption process.

Can immigrants adopt a child in the US?

Immigrants who are also U.S. lawful permanent residents can adopt a child in the US. However, this will not automatically convey any U.S. immigration status to a child. 

Can you get a green card through adoption?

You can get a green card through adoption only if you have lived with your adoptive parents for at least two years before applying for US citizenship. 

Can a non-US citizen adopt a child in the US?

A non-US citizen can adopt a child in the US only if they are found eligible to adopt by the US State Department. 


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