To adopt a child from another country and bring that child to live in the United States, you must be found eligible to adopt under U.S. law. The Federal agency that makes this determination is the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), part of the Department of Homeland Security. You may not bring an adopted child (or a child for whom you have gained legal custody for the purpose of emigration and adoption) into the United States until USCIS determines that you are eligible to adopt from another country.

National Requirements

In order to bring a foreign-born child whom you’ve adopted to the United States, you must meet certain requirements. Some of the basic requirements include the following:

  1. You must be a U.S. Citizen.
  2. If you are unmarried, you must be at least 25 years old.
  3. If you are married, you must jointly adopt the child (even if you are separated but not divorced), and your spouse must also be either a U.S. citizen or in legal status in the United States.
  4. You must meet certain requirements that will determine your suitability as a prospective adoptive parent, including criminal background checks, fingerprinting, and a home study.

State Requirements

In addition to qualifying to adopt under U.S. law, you must also meet your home state’s requirements for prospective adoptive parents. Learn more about individual state requirements on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website.

Foreign Country Requirements

Each country has its own requirements for adopting parents. These are explained in the Country Information section of this website.

Adoption is not something that any person should take lightly. One must know the risks, responsibilities, and requirements to ensure the safest environment of a child. There are thousands of children in the world looking for a permanent family and through no fault of their own have ended up in wards of a government institution (the Children Welfare custody). There are still children that are being abducted and sold into the adoption process or worse into the sex trades even in the US.

Some of the background checks are good measures to eliminate the possibility of illegal trade, but there are also decent, law abiding citizens that simply want to give a child (ren) a place to call home or to fill a void in their hearts. Our current system of checks and discrimination policies put such a heavy burden on the people, go completely beyond their bounds of government necessity, and hinders the people who want to adopt that it does not create a healthy decline in the population of adoptable children.

The duty of the Federal and State authorities is to ensure our protection from entering into commerce with illegal child abduction practices, provide mechanisms that encourage families to provide safe healthy and loving homes for children, establish a clear conscience for cases that involve In-Family and Interstate adoption so that a child can feel secure in their home and the adopted parents do not live in anguish to custody reversal battles. More importantly, State and local authorities must uphold the rights and protection of all citizens looking to adopt. This must be done in the narrow parameters of the Constitution, and States should not be allowed to abuse the system to invade a person’s privacy, but each state should clearly define their own eligibility requirements that fit in their own established territory.

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