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International Adoption Attorney in San Antonio, Texas

If you’re considering adopting a child from another country as a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, the process may seem complex, but it can be broken down into three distinct pathways, depending on factors such as the child's home country and the scrutiny of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). With the support of an experienced adoption lawyer , and a skilled immigration attorney, you will be able to explore these adoption avenues, the roles of adoption service providers (ASPs), and the critical immigration steps. 

If you live in or near San Antonio, Texas, and you want to adopt a child from another country, contact James P. Peterson Attorney at Law. As a skilled adoption attorney, he can help you understand and navigate the adoption and immigration process. He also serves clients in Boerne and New Braunfels. 

Adoption Service Providers

If you're thinking about adopting a child from another country and you're a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, there are three different ways you can do it. Which one you can use depends on whether the child's home country has agreed to something called the Hague Adoption Convention. You'll also need to go through a process with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to see if you're eligible. 

There are special organizations called adoption service providers (ASPs) that help with international adoptions. They have to be approved by the Intercountry Accreditation and Maintenance Entity (IAAME) and The Center for Excellence in Adoption Services (CEAS). 

ASPs can assist you with many aspects of the adoption, but there's something called a "home study" that you'll need to do separately. This is basically an evaluation to make sure you're suitable to adopt. ASPs don't do home studies, but you can find state-licensed professionals who do. 

The whole process might seem confusing because it involves different agencies and options for prospective parents, but you don’t have to face the process alone. Attorney Peterson is a skilled adoption attorney who cares about his clients and will help each one get the answers they need, advocating for them to continue their family’s growth.  

Focus on What Matters Most

The Different Ways to Adopt Internationally

There are three ways to adopt a child from another country: 

  • Hague Adoption Convention: This depends on whether the child's country is part of an international agreement called the Hague Adoption Convention. 

  • Orphan Process: This is another option for international adoption. In both the Hague and Orphan processes, the child can come to the U.S. either before or after the adoption. 

  • Family-Based Petition: This method is generally not available if you're adopting from a Hague country. The rules for this process can be a bit complicated, but typically, you need to have adopted the child before they turned 16 (sometimes 18) and have had legal and physical custody of the child for two years. 

If you want more information about the Family-Based Petition, reach out to a professional immigration attorney to help you every step of the way, and to coordinate with your adoption attorney.

What Do Adoption Service Providers (ASPs) Do?

ASPs are organizations that help people in the U.S. adopt children from other countries. They provide information and support for the adoption process. They also list children available for international adoption, including their pictures, backgrounds, and what they need in terms of education and personal development. 

But it's important to know that ASPs don't handle the "home study" part of the adoption process. For that, you'll have to find someone who is licensed by the state to do it. The home study is crucial because it helps USCIS decide if you're qualified to adopt. 

The Immigration Part of the Process

In both the Hague and Orphan adoption processes, the child can come to the U.S. either before or after the adoption is finalized. They'll get a visa after you complete certain forms, like Form I-800A and Form I-800 for the Hague process, or Form I-600A and Form I-600 for the Orphan process. 

If you adopted a child outside of these processes, you can file Form I-130, Petition for an Alien Relative, but you must have had two years of legal and physical custody of the child before you can do that. 

International Adoption Attorney in San Antonio, Texas

Navigating the intercountry adoption process can be challenging, even with ASP assistance. USCIS requirements can be daunting, especially if you've never dealt with immigration officials before. You'll greatly benefit from the guidance of an experienced immigration attorney and an adoption attorney throughout the process, particularly when addressing USCIS questions and requests. If you're in the San Antonio, Texas area or neighboring communities, turn to James P. Peterson Attorney at Law for answers to all your intercountry adoption questions and concerns.