The Department of State and its embassies and consulates abroad do not become directly involved in the adoption process, except as it relates to the issuance of visas or the possible defrauding of American citizens by agencies or intermediaries abroad. Visit the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website for further adoption information.
If the adopting parents follow established procedures for foreign adoption they may be temporarily frustrated by the vagaries of transnational bureaucracies, but in the long run they will find that avoiding so-called short cuts will ultimately save time, effort and heartache.
What Can You Do to Avoid Adoption Problems?
Contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services early in the proceedings. Ask for a copy of the INS Form M-249, “The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children”.
Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country from which you desire to adopt a child to ascertain if there are any particular problems of which you should be aware.
Demand an accounting of the services for which you are paying an agency or intermediary.
Find out if adoption agencies/intermediaries must be licensed in your state, and if so, whether the one you are working with is licensed. You might also check the Better Business Bureau or the Consumer Affairs or similar office of your District Attorney or Attorney General’s office.
Does an Adopted Child Acquire U.S. Citizenship?
U.S. citizenship can be acquired either by birth or by naturalization. In order to acquire U.S. citizenship a child born abroad must be related by blood to the U.S. citizen parent(s) upon whose citizenship the child’s claim to citizenship is based. The Department of State has consistently held that an alien child adopted by U.S. citizen parents does not acquire United States citizenship merely by adoption. Application may be made to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for expeditious naturalization of an adopted child.
Are There Any International Agreements on Adoption?
The only existing international agreement on adoption is the Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law and Recognition of Decrees to Adoption of 11/15/65 which entered into force on 10/24/78 in the United Kingdom, Austria and Switzerland. The United States, however, is not as yet a party to the Convention. The Organization of American States Tercera Conferencia Especializada Interamericana Sobre Derecho Internacional privado (CIDIP III) has prepared the Inter-American Convention on the Adoption of Minors. The draft Convention provides in part that the courts of a nation in which the adopting parents are habitually resident may grant an adoption decree and that the adopted child’s country should not prevent the child from leaving the country after an adoption is granted unthe absence of public order or police reasons. The Convention is not yet in force in any country.
The Adoption Authority of Ireland: The government office responsible for adoptions in Ireland is the Adoption Board, (An Bord Uchtala), Shelbourne House, Shelbourne Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, tel: + 353 1 2309 300, fax: +353-1-667-1438.