What Steps Are Involved in Legalizing an International Adoption?


When you are adopting a child from a foreign country there are many different laws both foreign and domestic that you will need to become familiar with. The process can become very difficult and complicated, and it is necessary to follow each step-in order to obtain a legal adoption. Therefore, it is important to consult a Florida Adoption Attorney to gather more information and understand the process an international adoption entails.

You first must consider the appropriate U.S. Federal law, The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. This requires the adopting parent to be a U.S. citizen, be at least 25 years old, if married both you and your spouse must be U.S. citizens, and adopt the child jointly; and finally you must complete an international home study, background checks, fingerprinting and complete all necessary documentation. You must also obtain a proper visa for your child in order to return with them to the United States and become a citizen. The visa can be obtained at the United States Embassy where your child is born. If you obtain a IR-3 Visa, or a IH-3 Visa, your child will obtain automatic U.S. Citizenship, you will not need to seek out any further citizenship forms for your child and simply, domesticate the adoption in your state. However, if your child received a IR-4 or IH-4 Visa they will not have automatic citizenship but instead become permanent residents until the adoption is domesticated by the Florida courts.

In order to legalize the adoption of your child from a foreign country, you must look to the specific Florida state law. Under Florida Statute 63.192 “A judgment terminating the relationship of parent and child or establishing the relationship by adoption, or a decree granting legal guardianship for purposes of adoption, issued pursuant to due process of law by a court or authorized body of any other jurisdiction within or without the United States shall be recognized in this state, and the rights and obligations of the parties shall be determined as though the judgment or decree were issued by a court of this state.” Simplified, Florida recognizes all foreign court orders granting an adoption, therefore, after completing the adoption processes abroad, you will not need to proceed through the formal adoption process once again, known as readoption in many states, because Florida recognizes the validity of such foreign orders as if they were granted by the state itself.

After you return to the states you will also need to seek out a U.S. Birth Certificate for your child. In order to do so you must provide certified documentation of your adoption decree, the validation of the foreign court order by a Florida court, and proof of the place and date of the child’s birth to the Florida State Registrar of Vital Statistics. After review, the State Registrar will issue a Certificate of Foreign Birth with the name of the child, you may choose to change their name if you wish, your name and your spouses as the legal parents, the country of the child’s birth and a notation of foreign birth and that the birth certificate does not provide automatic U.S. Citizenship for the child. FL.382.017

The adoption of a child can be an incredibly difficult and confusing process. Therefore, it is crucial to obtain proper legal advice in order to ensure a proper and legal adoption takes place and your child is taken care of. Contact a Florida Adoption Attorney today.

Speaking to an attorney at our Florida office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 850-307-5211 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.

Related Posts
  • Grandparent Visitation Rights Read More
  • How to Protect Your Assets During the Holiday Spending Season Read More
  • Child Custody Evaluations: What You Need To Know Read More