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Adopting a child from outside the US? How the Hague process works

Adding to your family through adoption can be one of the most wonderful experiences any parent can go through. However, the adoption process itself can be frustrating, lengthy and stressful, especially if you are looking to adopt a child from another country.

In order to protect children from being wrongfully removed from their country and families, many countries including the U.S. have entered into a treaty referred to as the Hague Adoption Convention. Those who are a part of this treaty agree to comply with certain rules and procedures to protect the well-being of children. Because of this, there are several steps in place for people in the U.S. who wish to adopt a child from another country party to the treaty.

To begin with, you will want to make sure the adoption service you have selected is certified to assist with Hague adoptions. It can also be wise to have an attorney familiar with international adoptions by your side as well.

You will need to undergo a home study which typically involves interviews with a home study preparer who will assess your mental, emotional and physical health in addition to your criminal history, financial resources as well as any other specific requirements noted by the country from where the child will be adopted.

It will also be necessary to submit an application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. If the application is approved, your adoption service provider will locate an adoption placement and you will need to petition the USCIS to ensure the child is eligible to come to the U.S. 

Once these steps have been completed, you will then need to secure a visa for the child before he or she can come to this country. This will require more paperwork and applications and it can take more time than you might expect.

Considering all that is at stake and how costly delays can be when it comes to international adoptions, it can be crucial that you make use of the resources available. This includes legal representation. Working with an attorney familiar with immigration and adoption laws can be crucial in helping you prepare for the process and avoid costly mistakes.

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