Cleveland Family Law Attorneys

Considerations in International Adoptions

For a family looking to adopt a child, there are a variety of different options available, including domestic public or private adoption, stepparent adoption, and open adoption. In an Ohio public adoption, a child has been removed from the biological parents for various reasons and is under the care of the county. In a private adoption, the child is not under the county’s custody and can involve a direct agreement between the birth mother and the adoptive parents. Or, private adoption may involve the use of an intermediary, such as an adoption agency, to facilitate the adoption process.

Another option for families is foreign or international adoptions. International adoptions, however, can be slightly more complicated given the involvement of at least two different countries with varying laws governing the adoption process. For anyone looking to adopt a child abroad, it is important to be familiar with the process and the various legal issues affecting this process.

Legal Considerations in International Adoptions

Intercountry adoptions refer “to the adoption of children who are citizens of one country by parents who are citizens of a different country.” This process can be finalized abroad in a court located in a foreign country where the child is located or the adoption process may be completed within the United States. In Ohio, intercountry adoptions are most often performed under the laws of the foreign jurisdiction with a second adoption proceeding held in Ohio. The primary purpose of the second proceeding in Ohio is to obtain an Ohio birth certificate.

If an adoption process is completed abroad, one must understand that this process does not permit the adopted child to enter the United States legally. The adoptive parents must still meet the requirements of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Depending on whether the child was adopted from a country that has ratified the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, the requirements to obtain citizenship for entry into the United States differ. An experienced adoption attorney can help parents understand these issues.

Ohio Laws Governing International Adoption Process

Once the adopted child has entered the United States, each state has varying laws regarding the validation of foreign adoption. The state where the parents reside will dictate which state law applies. A majority of states throughout the United States give “full effect and recognition to an adoption decree that has been issued in full compliance with the laws of the United States and the country that granted the adoption.” Ohio gives full effect to adoptions performed under foreign laws and that is verified and approved by the immigration and naturalization service (now USCIS) of the United States.

Some states require validation of the foreign adoption or readoption of the child under state law after the adopted child is in the United States. The processes “both involve State court review and legitimization of the foreign adoption.” Ohio, however, does not require validation or readoption but permits it as an option. The benefits of validation of readoption are that they allow a child to inherit from adoptive parents and provide the adopted child the opportunity to obtain a U.S. birth certificate.

Under Ohio law, adopting parents are required to be represented by an attorney in the Probate Court. There are, however, exceptions to this rule if the adoption involves an adult or foreign adoption. Nevertheless, it is always prudent to have an experienced adoption attorney represent one in any adoption process or at least consult one for advice.

Contact a Cleveland, Ohio Adoption Attorney

If you have any questions regarding international adoptions, an Ohio adoption attorney can answer your questions. Laubacher & Co.’ Cleveland adoption attorneys can help you decide which type of adoption is best for you and help facilitate the process so it goes as seamlessly as possible. Contact one of Laubacher & Co.’ Cleveland adoption attorneys today for a free consultation.