In an earlier post we looked at the general process of Colorado adoption laws. However, when we are looking at adoptions taking place from a foreign country, certain procedures and rules come into place. Your attorney can help you complete these formalities to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Nonetheless, it's never good to go blindfolded into anything. So here is a breakdown of the broad processes that are involved in International adoptions in Colorado.
The Hague Adoption Convention
One of the first things to determine is whether or not the country to which the child you want to adopt belongs, is a signatory to the Hague Convention. The list of countries who are signatories all follow a special adoption procedure in order to ensure the wellbeing of the child, as well as to prevent child trafficking. Regardless of the status of the country, you need to go through an accredited Adoption Service Provider (ASP). The only significant difference is that if the country of the child is a signatory to the Hague convention, the ASP you choose must be approved by a special accrediting agency.
There are other differences as well that are too detailed to go into here. Your attorney and adoption agency should take care of these details for you.
Eligibility to Adopt
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) needs to approve your application for adoption before anything else. For adoptions from a Hague Signatory country, you need to fill out form I-800 A. For other countries, it is form I-600 A. A fee will be charged for the filing as well as the fingerprinting of each family member. Along with the application form, you have to submit a home study detailing your family members, and marital status.
The application process can take anywhere from 15 to 18 months. Certain countries have specific laws about who can adopt a child from their country and your application will be subject to those requirements.
Finding the child eligible
Once the USCIS finds you eligible, your application is sent to the country from where you wish to adopt a child. The agencies in that country will refer a child to you along with a lot of relevant information as well as the permission of the legal guardians of the child. Once you accept this referral, you will need to apply for eligibility for the child to be adopted. This is a fairly complex process involving a visa application and a final eligibility check by a consular officer.
Finalizing the adoption
Only after all the preliminary steps have been followed can the actual adoption proceed. This includes obtaining an immigrant visa.
Hiring an attorney specializing in International Adoption
Adopting a child in a foreign country is an arduous and complex process. Each country has its own adoption laws and the process in the US itself is fairly drawn out. It's best to contact a local Colorado Springs attorney who specializes in these matters in order to ensure a smooth document flow and prevent any hiccups from derailing the process to adopt the child you want.