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International Adoption - Thailand

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THAI ADOPTION PROCEDURES: All adoptions in Thailand must be processed through the Child Adoption Center of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW), which is the sole governmental social welfare agency responsible for adoption of Thai children. Four non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are licensed to deal with DPW's Child Adoption Center in cases where a child is to be placed abroad, but only three of these NGOs process cases for prospective adoptive parents who reside in the United States. These are:

Holt Sahathai Foundation
850/33 Sukhumvit 71
Bangkok 10110
Mailing Address: P. O. Box Nana Nua 1478, Bangkok 10110
Tel. (66)(2) 381-8834

Thai Red Cross Foundation
Chulalongkorn Hospital
Corner of Rama IV Road and Rajdamri Road
Bangkok 10300
Tel. (66)(2) 252-8181 or (66)(2) 256-4178

Pattaya Orphanage
Pattaya City, Chonburi
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 15, Pattaya City, Chonburi 20151
Tel. (66)(38)422-745

For complete information and application forms, prospective adoptive parents should contact one of the above agencies or DPW directly at:

Child Adoption Center
Department of Public Welfare
Rajvithee Home for Girls
Rajvithee Road
Bangkok 10400
Tel. (66)(2) 246-8651

QUALIFICATIONS: Thai law (Adoption Act, April 1979) stipulates strict requirements and procedures for adoption of children in Thailand. While some of these requirements are currently under review, the U.S. Embassy is not aware of any completed adoption to date in which these basic requirements have been waived. Consequently, inquirers who do not meet the following criteria should contact the DPW before pursuing the matter further. Basic criteria for adoptive parents:

You are married;
Both you and your spouse are at least 25 years of age;
Both you and your spouse are at least 15 years older than the child to be adopted;
You are legally qualified under your state law to adopt a child.

REGULATIONS REGARDING ADOPTIVE CHILDREN:

It is not possible to apply for more than one child at a time, except twins, siblings, or in cases of adoption of the children of the applicant's Thai spouse.

Parents adopting from Thailand for a second time may request that a DPW social worker escort the child to the U.S. instead of appearing before the Child Adoption Board as outlined below. All costs of such travel are the responsibility of the adoptive parents.
DPW advises that it is extremely unlikely that an abandoned child under the age of one year would be available for foreign adoption. (NOTE: In the Embassy's experience, it is quite rare for a child under two years of age to be available for foreign adoption.)

PROCEDURES TO ADOPT A THAI CHILD:

1. Prospective adoptive parents obtain official DPW application forms (these forms may be obtained from DPW or from one of the above NGOs). These forms elicit biographic, health, and financial information about the prospective adoptive parents.

2. Prospective adoptive parents engage an adoption agency or child welfare organization licensed by their state of U.S. residence to perform a home study (this agency must also be recognized by DPW--a list of recognized agencies is available from DPW).

3. The licensed agency or organization in the U.S. assembles the application forms for submission to DPW. The application must be accompanied by the following:

completed home study

confirmation from a competent authority that after the adoption is finalized under Thai law, it will also be legalized under the laws of the applicants' state of residence

formal commitment by the licensed adoption agency in the U.S. to supervise a pre-adoption placement of at least six months, during which at least three bi-monthly progress reports will be provided to DPW

medical certificate verifying good physical health, mental stability, and infertility (if applicable) for both prospective adoptive parents

birth certificates for both parents

marriage certificate

proof of termination of any previous marriages (death certificate of spouse or divorce decree)

proof of occupation and income (letter from employer)

complete financial statement indicating all assets and liabilities

recommendations from two responsible persons

current license of the involved adoption agency

photographs of both prospective adoptive parents (4 each), 4.5 cm x 6 cm, and of their children (if applicable)

statement from INS or consular officer confirming that the child to be adopted will be the beneficiary of an immigrant visa (NOTE: for U.S. citizens who reside in Thailand, the Consular Section's visa unit will provide a letter to this effect. For U.S. citizens who do not reside in Thailand, evidence of an approved I-600A or I-600 petition is sufficient.)

If the prospective parents reside in the U.S., all the above-listed documents must be authenticated or "verified" by the Thai Embassy or one of the Thai consulates in the U.S. All documents must be in English or Thai, or must be accompanied by English or Thai translations.

4. If the above documentation is acceptable, DPW (or one of the three NGOs) matches the prospective adoptive parents with a child. The prospective parents are provided with photos and information about the background and health condition of the child (NOTE: DPW reserves the right to review and investigate matches made by the NGOs).

5. The prospective adoptive parents must advise DPW whether they wish to proceed with the adoption of the proposed child. The application will then be given to the Child Adoption Board (CAB) for review. If the Child Adoption Board agrees to the suitability of the prospective adoptive parents for pre-adoption placement of the child, the case is referred to the Minister of Labor and Social Welfare for official authorization. (NOTE: Steps 4 and 5 together frequently take six months to one year to complete).

6. When the pre-adoption placement is approved, a definite appointment is made by DPW (or one of the NGOs) for the prospective parents to be interviewed by the Child Adoption Board. The meeting with the Board is essentially a formality. If one of the prospective adoptive parents is unable to attend this meeting, he or she must provide written consent. (NOTE: The waiting period for such an appointment may be as long as three months, depending on the CAB's schedule.)

7. DPW will issue documents necessary for the child's travel, including a Thai passport. These documents will normally be issued on the same day as the meeting with the Board. The parents will also receive the child on the same day (NOTE: Occasionally issuance of documents takes longer. DPW advises adoptive parents to plan to stay in Thailand for approximately two weeks total).

At this point, the parents will be eligible to apply for an orphan immigrant visa to the U.S. per instructions below. However, the Thai adoption will not be complete until the following steps have occurred:

8. When the prospective adoptive parents have returned to the U.S. with the child and at least three bi-monthly reports on the pre-adoption placement have been submitted to DPW, DPW will refer the case to the Child Adoption Board for approval of final adoption under Thai law.

9. The adoptive parents have to register their adoption under Thai law within six months of notification of finalization by the Board. This can be done at the Thai Embassy or Consulates in the U.S.

U.S. ADOPTION PROCEDURES: Comprehensive information regarding international adoptions by U.S. citizens is available through the State Department's Consular Affairs Bureau and through the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

Office of Children's Issues
U.S. Department of State
Room 4811
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20520-4818
Tel. (202) 736-7000

Bureau of Consular Affairs home page: http://travel.state.gov

The INS pamphlet entitled The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children (M-249Y, Revised, 1990) includes a checklist on orphan petition procedures. For a copy of this pamphlet, please contact the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok or the Office of Children's Issues at the State Department.

INS Information Line: 1-800-755-0777
Ask Immigration Line:1-800-375-5283
INS Forms Line: 1-800-870-3676

INS home page: http://www.ins.usdoj.gov/graphics/index.htm

General recorded information about visa procedures is also available from the Department of State's Visa Office at (202) 663-1225.

Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that an adopted child may not be brought to the United States without an immigrant visa. They should also note that U.S. law allows for the immigration of two categories of adopted foreign children: orphans and non-orphans. Not all children adopted abroad qualify as orphans; non-orphans may not immigrate to the U.S. without a lengthy waiting period. Please refer to The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children pamphlet concerning classification of adopted children for further information.

In order to apply for an immigrant visa abroad, the U.S. citizen parents must first file a petition with INS. This petition, Form I-600, has two parts. Form I-600 is filed when a specific child has been identified for adoption. Form I-600A is filed when the prospective adoptive parents have not yet identified a child for adoption. The prospective adoptive parents must file either an I-600 or I-600A petition with the INS office having jurisdiction over their place of residence in the U.S. In either case, INS transmits notification of approval of the petition to the U.S. consulate in the country where the parents seek to adopt. If an I-600A was filed initially, an I-600 must be filed and approved once a child is identified. Until INS has approved an I-600 petition, no immigrant visa may be applied for.

For U.S. citizens who are residents of Thailand, the I-600 and I-600A may be filed at the INS Bangkok Office. Questions regarding procedures for filing these forms should be directed to the Bangkok District Director.

Office location:
Diethelm Tower B
1st Floor
93 Wireless RoadBangkok Thailand 10330
Tel: (66)(2) 205-5352.

Public hours: 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

For U.S. citizens who adopt in Thailand, INS notice of approval is sent to the IV Unit of the Consular Section and to the INS Bangkok District Office. If an I-600A was filed in the U.S., an I-600 may be filed with the Bangkok INS office once the Thai Child Adoption Board has approved pre-adoption placement. Once INS Bangkok has approved the I-600, the child is eligible for an immigrant visa interview.

The Consular Section's Immigrant Visa Unit conducts immigrant visa interviews and issues visas to qualified orphans. Interviews are conducted by appointment only, Monday to Friday mornings. To request an appointment please call or visit the IV Unit any afternoon. Immigrant visas are normally issued on the same day as the visa interview and may be picked up in the afternoon.

AMERICAN EMBASSY ASSISTANCE: The IV Unit strongly urges adoptive parents to call or visit as soon as they arrive in Thailand to pick up immigrant visa forms and instructions. Making contact early is the best way to ensure that there are no unexpected delays later in the application process.Upon arrival in Thailand, U.S. adoptive parents should also register at the American Embassy, Consular Section, American Citizens Services. The Embassy will be able to provide information about any outstanding travel advisories and to provide other information about Thailand, including lists of physicians, attorneys, interpreters and translators.

QUESTIONS: Specific questions regarding adoptions in Thailand may be addressed to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You may also contact the Office of Children's Issues with specific adoption questions.

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, 2201 C St., N.W., U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818.

While in Thailand, inquires should be addressed to:

Immigrant Visa Unit
Consular Section
U.S. Embassy Bangkok
95 Wireless Road
Bangkok, Thailand 10330

U.S. Mailing Address:
U.S. Embassy Bangkok
APO AP 96546
Tel: (66)(2) 205-4287, (66)(2) 205-4753
Fax: (66)(2) 254-1171

Home Page: http://www.usa.or.th/embassy/consul.htm

Hours of Operation:
7:00 am to 4:00 p.m. (closed 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.)
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