US Citizens Adopting While Living Abroad

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Domestic Adoption

Adoptive parents will have to comply with laws in two countries to complete an intercountry adoption while living abroad: the United States and the country in which you live. You will need to research the immigration laws and rules regarding the granting of visas to US citizens and their children.

The adoption will be processed in the State in which you claim legal residence: where you are registered to vote, or the State that issues your driver's license. You will be required to locate a social worker or agency in your home country to perform your homestudy, although the placement may be handled by a US agency. Your State Adoption Specialist will need to verify that the homestudy is accepted for a placement in your State.

You may be required to file your I-600A or I-600 adoption applications with the US Immigration and Naturalization Service by mail, at the regional office for your home State, or at a local US Embassy.

Intercountry Adoption

Adoptive parents will have to comply with laws in three countries to complete an intercountry adoption while living abroad. You should follow the above information, but investigate procedures in the US, in your home country, and in the country from which you are seeking to adopt.

For more information about adoption procedures, see our Introduction to Adoption. You may search the National Adoption Directory to locate contact information for State Adoption Specialists or adoption agencies in your State.

A helpful tool in pursuing any intercountry adoption is the Report on Intercountry Adoption, published by International Concerns for Children, Inc. It costs $25 when mailed to US addresses, and the cost includes 10 updates per year. It will save you hours of research and phone calls, because it lists US agencies willing to work with expatriate Americans, and US agencies working in a specific foreign country. The Report allows you to compare agencies in the following areas:

Age and type of children available
Estimated time for referral of a child
Estimated time until travel to the foreign country to complete the adoption
Fees charged
Any programmatic restrictions that might exclude you from participation (required length of marriage, marital status, religious affiliation, etc).
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