Adoption is the permanent legal transfer of all parental rights from one person or a couple to another. International adoption happens across national boundaries. These rights are the same as that of the biological parents. In the same vein, the adopted child enjoys the same emotional and social benefits as a biological child.
Child adoption does not necessarily have to be intrastate (within North Carolina). North Carolina residents can adopt a child from another country through permanent legal means.
The procedure and requirements for international adoption vary from one country to another. In North Carolina, the process can be long and complicated. It involves complying with U.S and North Carolina laws, adoption regulations of the foreign country, United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) requirements, and re-adoption procedures.
If a person in Charlotte, NC, is considering international adoption, then it is advised to consult an experienced adoption lawyer. The lawyer will guide you through the adoption process.
Procedure for International Adoption in North Carolina
The procedure for international adoption in North Carolina includes the following:
Choose the Desired Country to Adopt From
Choose the desired country where you want to adopt a child. This decision affects the outcome of the adoption process. Once a decision has been reached, you need to research accredited international adoption agencies.
North Carolina international adoption agencies specialize in specific countries. They will help you comply with the chosen country’s requirements and navigate the adoption process.
Choose a Hague-Accredited International Adoption Agency
As earlier stated, research international adoption agencies once you decide the country you want to adopt. The adoption agency must be accredited to do too.
In North Carolina, adoption and immigration procedures are dependent on whether the child’s country is a signatory to the Hague Adoption Convention. The treaty was enacted in 1993 to safeguard international adoption and protect the children adopted overseas.
Apply to the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
There are requirements to be met to be eligible to adopt abroad and bring the child back to North Carolina. First, you have to apply to the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Next, you will file Form 1-800A if the prospective child resides in a country signatory to the Hague Convention. Conversely, you will file Form 1-600 for a Non-Hague Convention Country. After filing the forms, the USCIS will review your application and deem you eligible or ineligible. Note that you also need the approval of the adoption authorities in the child’s home country.
Wait for an Adoption Opportunity
After being granted adoption eligibility, the next step is to wait for the adoption opportunity. Most adoptive families are familiar with the waiting period. Some consider it the most challenging part of the process. The waiting period is dependent on the country you decide to adopt from.
Apply for the Child’s Immigration Eligibility
After meeting the child in their home country, you should ensure they can immigrate back to North Carolina. Whether the adoption is finalized in the child’s home country, it is crucial to complete the process in North Carolina.
The immigration process of the child is done by filing the necessary Form 1-800A or Form 1-600A. Once the child’s immigration request is granted, the adopter will file Form DS-260 to receive their visa. The immigrant visa an adopted child may receive are:
- IR-3 Visa: This visa automatically makes the adopted child a U.S. citizen. If eligible, the child will receive a Certificate of Citizenship.
- IR-4 Visa: This does not guarantee the child’s U.S. citizenship. To officially become a U.S. citizen, the adopter will take further steps to complete the re-adoption process.
What Is Re-Adoption?
Re-adoption is the process of finalizing an international child adoption process. The process ensures that the child enjoys the rights and privileges as any other U.S. citizen. It also protects them against future deportation. The benefits of re-adoption upon completion include:
- Obtaining a Certificate of Foreign Birth, which is equivalent to the U.S. birth certificate
- Protection from changes in foreign laws
- Ensuring your child’s inheritance rights
- Ease of securing government-issued documents
- Documenting that the adoption is final
Once international adoption has been finalized in the child’s home country, re-adoption is not required. However, this process, though not mandatory, is highly recommended.
Begin Your International Adoption Process With Us Today!
If you want to adopt a child outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, contact a Charlotte family law lawyer at Waple & Houk. We will help you gather vital documentation, start and complete the adoption process. Book a free initial consultation with us today.