Can American Families Adopt Foreign Children?

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Many American families dream of adding children to their family life. Not everyone is able to have children naturally, and some goodnatured families are just looking to bring in children that need a better start to life. An American family can adopt a foreign child, but it’s a unique process for everyone involved. 

When you’re looking for the right agency and the right resources for your adoption, you might consider starting with a local attorney. A family law attorney in Houston, Texas can go through what you should expect during the foreign adoption process, and can also help you connect with an adoption agency that fits your needs.

Why Adopt a Foreign Child?

Many people realize that the foster care system and adopting within America are in high demand. There are fewer babies, toddlers, children, and teens available for adoption now than when compared to past generations. Because of the foster care system and the goal of reuniting families after trauma, adopting within America has led to frequent stories of heartbreak.

Often a parent will take on a foster child, begin the adoption process, only to have the child removed from their care, and reunited with their birth parent. For many who have gone through this process, they’re not willing to leave anything to chance. Giving in to the demands for children free from the fear of biological parents returning for their children, people often turn to foreign adoption.

Foreign adoption doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily be adopting from Asian or Eastern European countries either. The National Association of Black Social Workers has expressed that in ideal adoptions, there should be every effort put forward to put children in families from similar races and cultures. Other agencies have shared the same view, and that doesn’t eliminate the benefits of adopting from abroad.

Will There be More Complication in Applying to Adopt a Foreign Child?

There are more legal complications when it comes to adopting a child from a foreign country. Not only will you have to follow Texas state laws, but also all federal laws of the U.S. and laws that rule in the child’s country of origin. You will also have to go through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

While it seems to be more work, you can ease the stress of ensuring the documents are right and in the correct order with an adoption attorney. You’ll also need to go through various welfare offices and ensure that you’re meeting the standards for intercountry adoption.

There are some laws in place on adoption. For example, the law requires, on a federal level, that the child is under the age of 16 in order to gain lawful permanent residence status. If the child is older than that, then they would only access temporary residency. Additionally, almost all adopted foreign children must apply for citizenship at either 18, 21, or 26, depending on the situation.

Basically, at a later age, they will need to declare that they intend to remain a citizen of the U.S. rather than returning to their home country.

Should You Expect Help from Local or U.S. Agencies?

The best help that you can get is from an experienced adoption attorney who has handled foreign adoptions previously. However, when it comes to getting help from your local community, it might be a little difficult.

There are numerous resources that are highly valuable and support groups in larger areas. You can likely find one in Houston and meet with the adoptive parents of foreign children through these groups. Learning from first-hand information is always extremely useful. 

In the end, when it comes to getting help, just don’t be afraid to ask questions. When you’re working with a representative or worker with the Citizenship or Social Security office, don’t hesitate to ask questions that the person may not know the answer to.

Finding an Attorney to Facilitate Your Adoption Application

No matter how you go through the process, you’ll need an attorney to sort out a few elements, particularly with your application. If you’re looking to adopt a foreign child, you’ll need to have everything in order from the start. You’ll need to show your family history and environment but also how you plan on obtaining citizenship and documenting your new child in the U.S.

When you work with Eddington Worley Family Law, you’ll have access to various resources and attorneys skilled in adoption law. Whether you’re adopting locally, within the state, out of state, or even out of the country, you can count on us for help. Reaching out to our office could be your first step toward growing your family.