Fort Lauderdale Hague Convention Attorney
Personable and Responsive Legal Guidance for Your Family
When it comes to adoption, especially international adoption, the legal process can be lengthy and complex. However, bringing your family together should not be more difficult than it needs to be. GFC Law has years of experience working with Fort Lauderdale families and will provide the personable and responsive legal assistance you need to navigate the international adoption laws of the Hague Convention. The moment you walk through the firm’s doors, you can expect individualized attention to your case and an experienced professional by your side.
What Is the Hague Convention?
The Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption is an international agreement for safeguarding intercountry adoptions. The Convention applies to all adoptions by U.S. citizens habitually residing in the U.S. of children habitually residing in a country outside of the U.S. that is a party to the Convention. The primary principles of the Convention are to ensure that each adoption is in the best interest of the child and to prevent their abduction, sale, and trafficking.
The Convention recognizes intercountry adoption as a way to offer permanent residence to a child when there is no suitable family in the child's home country. More specifically, the Hague Convention enables intercountry adoption to take place when, among other factors:
- the child has been deemed eligible for adoption by their country of origin; and
- due consideration has been given to finding an adoption placement for the child in their country of origin.
The Convention Adoption Process
The Convention adoption process requires 6 steps in the U.S.:
- Choose a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider.
- Apply to USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) to be declared suitable and eligible to adopt a child from a Convention country.
- Be matched with a child by authorities in the child’s country of origin.
- Apply to USCIS for the child to be found eligible for immigration to the U.S. and receive U.S. provisional approval to proceed with the adoption.
- Adopt or gain legal custody of the child in the child’s country of origin.
- Obtain a U.S. immigrant visa for the child and bring the child home.
Regarding the first step in the process, adoption service providers (ASPs) must be accredited or approved by the Department of State’s designated accrediting entity to ensure that the ASPs meet operate using sound, professional, and ethical adoption practices. In general, accredited ASPs are responsible for providing U.S. prospective adoptive parents with 6 adoption services:
- identifying a child for adoption and arranging an adoption;
- securing the necessary consent to termination of parental rights and to adoption;
- performing a background study on a child or a home study on prospective adoptive parent(s), and reporting on such a study;
- making non-judicial determinations of the best interests of a child and the appropriateness of an adoptive placement for the child;
- monitoring a case after a child has been placed with prospective adoptive parents until final adoption; and
- assuming custody of a child and providing or facilitating the provision of childcare or any other social service pending an alternative placement (if necessary).
Once a country determines that a prospective parent is eligible to adopt under its laws and the child is a suitable and eligible match, the central adoption authority will provide an official report on the child that will include information about the child's psychological, social, and medical history, as well as the child's name, date of birth (via birth certificate), and the reasons for making the adoption placement.
After the Convention adoption is complete, the parents must take final measures allowing their child to immigrate to the U.S. Specifically, they must apply for a new birth certificate for the child, a passport from the child’s home country, and a U.S. immigrant visa.
Contact GFC Law for Legal Support in Your Adoption
If you are a prospective parent seeking to pursue an international adoption, speak with an experienced lawyer to discuss the legal process. The Hague Convention broadly covers the step-by-step international adoption process, and a lawyer can better help you gather the appropriate documents and information to apply for eligibility and bring your child to the U.S. GFC Law is dedicated to protecting families in Fort Lauderdale and will provide you the individualized attention you and your family deserve to come together.