Adoptions and International Adoptions

The Bright Side of Family Law

The events leading up to hiring a Northern Virginia or Washington, DC divorce lawyer are usually unpleasant. Divorce and custody disputes can be some of the most challenging times of a person’s life. However, the bright side of family law in Virginia, the District of Columbia, or internationally, is adoption.

mother and adopted son

Positively Impacting Family Law

Though the job of a family law attorney is filled with days of handling divorce and other types of cases where families split apart (or more optimistically, grow in different directions), family law attorneys also help clients grow their existing families through adoptions. Adoptions occur in state courts that are bound by state laws. But in the international context, international treaties, foreign country laws, and federal immigration law is an issue.

Abiding by the Specific Requirements

Any Virginia or Washington, DC adoption attorney will tell you that the process is complicated and strict adherence to the requirements is necessary, or your adoption can fail. Often times, parents will hire an adoption attorney in Virginia or the District of Columbia to assist with an adoption through an agency. The adoption process does not occur overnight. Agency adoption can take several months and involve extensive investigations into the adoptive parents’ background and home studies prior to seeking final approval from a court.

Other Forms of Adoption

Other forms of adoption that take place in Virginia and Washington, DC are stepparent and close relative adoptions, parental placement adoptions, adult adoptions, and foster care placement adoptions.

Aspects of an International Adoption

International adoption raises immigration concerns as well as the family law system of the child’s home country. The process often begins with the selection of an adoption service provider. Approval by the appropriate authorities must be given to adopt prior to being matched with a child. Sometimes, international adoptions begin with an adoption in the foreign country that is “domesticated” here in the United States. Other times, adoptive parents obtain custody of the child or children first, no international adoption takes place, and the children are adopted once in the United States. In either case, you will need a visa for the child to move to the United States.

Whether or not a foreign country has joined the Hague Adoption Convention can be a major factor in determining the steps and timelines to the international adoption process. A country may join the Hague Adoption Convention while your international adoption is pending, or before it is formally initiated. For example, during May 2013, Korea signed the Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption, which is the first step to becoming a full Convention partner. Once Korea achieves partner status, they will be subject to the rules and regulations of the Hague Adoption Convention for inter-country and international adoptions. An attorney experienced in international family law should be consulted. And, as in any other international legal situation, it is a good idea to have a local family law attorney in the home country throughout the process. An experienced immigration attorney should be hired as well.

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