The following is a guideline for U.S. citizens who are interested in adopting a child in Barbados and applying for an immigrant visa for the child to return to the United States. This process involves complex foreign and U.S. legal requirements. U.S. consular officers give each petition careful consideration on a case-by-case basis to ensure that the legal requirements of both countries have been met, for the protection of the prospective adoptive parent(s), the biological parent(s), and the child. Interested U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to contact U.S. consular officials in Barbados before formalizing an adoption agreement to ensure that appropriate procedures have been followed which will make it possible for the Embassy to issue a U.S. immigrant visa for the child.
AVAILABILITY OF CHILDREN FOR ADOPTION
There have been no children adopted in Barbados by U.S. citizens since the one applicant in 1988 where an IR-4 visa was issued to an orphan to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen.
BARBADIAN ADOPTION PROCEDURES
Barbadian law does not require that children be orphans in order to be eligible for adoption. Barbadian law also does not require that children be abandoned in order to be eligible for adoption.
Typically, it takes non-nationals between 6 months and 1 year to adopt a Barbadian child. The Child Care Board, a statutory and independent governmental body, is responsible for administering and implementing the Child Care Act and the Adoption Act, the 2 laws that govern all adoptions in Barbados.
On being notified of intent to adopt, the Child Care Board will contract with a social welfare agency abroad to do a "home study" of the prospective parents. On completion of the home study, the Board and its sub-committees review the application and approve or refuse the application. If approved, the foreign applicant must obtain a license from the court of jurisdiction. The license authorizes the care and possession of a minor for whom adoption arrangements have been made abroad. Private attorneys make the license application in court on behalf of the adopting parents.
The parents must make the adoption formal in their home country within 6 months of being granted the license. In addition, during the first 6 months, either the adopting parents or the Board may change their mind and decline adoption. The Board's decisions may be appealed to the High Court through private attorneys. There are no private adoption agencies in Barbados.
The direct costs relating to an adoption are about US dollars $1,000 - $1,500 in private attorney fees. It is unlawful to pay any remuneration to the natural parents or guardians of the adopted child. There are no country controls on the exit of children from Barbados.
The U.S. Embassy maintains current lists of doctors and sources for medicines should either you or your child experience health problems while in Barbados.
BARBADIAN EMBASSY IN THE UNITED STATES
2144 Wyoming Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 939-9200
U.S. EMBASSY IN BARBADOS
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce Bldg.
Broad Street (P.O. Box 302)
FPO AA 34055
Tel: (809) 436-4950
Prospective adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to consult INS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children, as well as the Department of State publication, International Adoptions.
Specific questions regarding adoptions in Barbados may be addressed to the Consular Section of the US Embassy. You may also contact the Office of Children's Issues, 2401 E Street, N.W., Room L127, Washington, D.C. 20037; Phone: (202) 736-7000; Fax: (202) 312-9743. Recorded information concerning significant changes in adoption procedures is available 24 hours a day at: (202) 736-7000, or by automated fax (calling from the telephone on your fax machine) at (202) 647-3000. If the country you are interested in is not listed, procedures have not significantly changed. Information on immigrant visas is available from the State Department's Visa Office, at (202) 663-1225. This 24 hour automated system includes options to speak with consular officers during business hours for questions not answered in the recorded material. Application forms and petitions for immigrant visas are available from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, the nearest office of which is listed in the federal pages of your telephone book, under U.S. Department of Justice.
In addition, the State Department publishes Consular Information Sheets and Travel Warnings. Consular Information Sheets are available for every country in the world, providing information such as the location of the U.S. Embassy, health conditions, political situations, and crime reports. When situations are sufficiently serious that the State Department recommends U.S. citizens avoid traveling to a country, a Travel Warning is issued. Both Consular Information Sheets and Travel Warnings may be heard 24 hours a day by calling the State Department's Office of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-5225 from a touch-tone telephone. The recording is updated as new information becomes available. In addition, this information is accessible through the automated fax machine, as above, and is also available at any of the 13 regional passport agencies, field offices of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad.
Furthermore, you may write in requesting information, sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Overseas Citizens Services, Room 4811 N.S., 2201 C St., N.W., U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818.
Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of Adoption.com.