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Barbara L. Jouette, Attorney, P.C.
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Adopting a foreign-born orphan

For many individuals and couples in Texas, adopting an orphan from another country may be something they have dreamed about doing for a long time. On the other hand, it may be something you have only recently started considering for one reason or another. Either way, it is important to understand the process of international adoption.

First, you must understand who qualifies as an orphan. These are children under the age of 16 who have been abandoned or their parents have both died. In addition, if they have a surviving parent, but the parent is incapable of raising the child and has signed a written document that relinquishes their parental rights, the child may be adopted.

If this is an option you are planning to undertake, it is usually best to file an adoption petition in advance with the USCIS. This gives them the right to do an investigation to ensure you are capable of rearing a child and can provide a stable home life before you leave the country to adopt an orphan. Trying to apply after you have adopted the child may cause serious legal complications.

You should also do research to figure out what countries you can adopt from. Both the US government and other national governments have regulations in place that prevent adoption from specific countries, especially those that are in upheaval.

International adoption is a highly complex process. There are many forms to fill out, and thousands of dollars in fees. In addition, your application may be initially denied. For these and many other reasons, it may be beneficial to speak with a family law attorney before leaving the country to adopt an orphan from overseas. 

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