Adoption - Q & A
Kuck Immigration Partners LLC
My 9 year old nephew is here in the United States illegally. I want to adopt him- can I get him a green card?
Yes! There are several options available for your nephew. If you are a US citizen and your nephew is entered the United States legally, you might want to consider a family petition. This would allow your child to obtain a green card and citizenship in the US. If the child entered without inspection, you could still pursue this route however; the child would have to go to the US embassy in his home country to obtain his green card.
I am caring for a child who is here illegally. She’s living with me because her family is not able to care for her. What can I do?
If the child is under age 18 and it is not possible to reunite the child with her parents, you should consider Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. The child would be able to self-petition for a green card and adjust her status to that of lawful permanent resident here in the United States without having to return to her home country.
I learned through family contacts that a baby was available for adoption in Pakistan. I applied for a visa at the US embassy in Pakistan but I received a Notice of Intent to Deny stating that the child is not an orphan. What can I do?
There are several definitions of “Orphan.” A child can be considered an orphan if both of the parents are dead, or if one parent is dead and the other parent is not able to care for that child. The child could also be considered an orphan if the biological parents have disappeared or if they have refused to carry out their parental duties. An experienced attorney can work with you to determine if the child you seek to adopt will fall under any of these definitions.
I found a baby to adopt overseas. I went to the US embassy in a foreign country and told them I had given birth to the baby and applied for a US passport for the child. The embassy has asked for a DNA test. The child is not biologically mine. Now what do I do?
Attempting to bring a child into the United States without following the proper legal channels can have serious consequences. Children of US citizens who are born overseas are often US citizens at birth. Since this child is not biologically yours, you will need to complete either a family petition process, an orphan process or a Hague adoption process.
I want to adopt a relative from a Muslim country which does not recognize adoptions. What can I do?
Each case should be evaluated individually. In certain situations, the child may fall under one of the many definitions of “orphan.” If this is the case, a guardianship order is sufficient to obtain an immigrant visa for the child. If the child in question is definitely not an orphan; you may need to obtain an adoption decree from a third country and then begin a family immigration process.
I adopted a child from India. I already had two sons and two daughters at the time I finalized the adoption in India. I filed a family petition and it has been denied. What can I do?
In order to successfully adopt a child you must comply with US law as well as the laws from the child’s home country. Many Indian families have difficulty sponsoring adopted children because Indian law does not allow a family to adopt a child of the same sex as any of their existing children. Even if an Indian judge grants such an adoption, it can be extremely difficult to obtain immigrant visas for the adoptee however; there are some exceptions to this rule.
I went to Mexico 15 years ago and found a baby that was available for adoption. I brought him through the US – Mexico border and told the immigration officer there that he was my child. He has lived with me here ever since that time. I haven’t formally adopted him or done any immigration paperwork. What can I do?
In order to obtain immigration benefits for an adopted child, it is important to complete the adoption process before the child turns 16 years old. Since Mexico is a party to the Hague Convention, you will need to obtain the permission of the country of Mexico before you begin an adoption in the US. Finally, an experienced attorney will need to determine whether what occurred at the time of the child’s entry was a lawful inspection which would allow the child to obtain a green card here or whether he will need to go to Mexico to get his green card. It is important to remember that penalties for unlawful are activated at age 18 years + 180 days.
The United States has made special provisions in its immigration laws for minors. Whether a child is physically present in the United States or is overseas – he or she has a number of options to obtain lawful permanent residency or citizenship that are not available to adults.
- International Adoptions
- International adoption, also called foreign adoption, or intercountry adoption, involves three different bodies of law. Potential adoptive parents will have to navigate federal adoption laws, state adoption laws, as well as immigration laws, in order to get their adopted child into the United States.
- Domestic Adoptions and Family Petitions for Children Present in the United States
- Children who are present in the United States and who have been adopted a US citizen may be able to obtain residence in the United States.
- Document Check List Link
- No objection letter from central adoption authority in child’s home country
- Child’s birth certificate
- Evidence of adoptive parent’s US citizenship or lawful permanent resident status
- Evidence of two years of legal custody (either guardianship order or adoption decree)
- Adoption decree
- Evidence of two years of joint residency such as school records, medical records, church records, affidavits.
- Special Immigrant Juveniles
- Children who are unlawfully present in the United States and who do not reside with their parents may be able to self- petition for lawful permanent resident status.
- Further Information on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
Complex Adoption Issues from Muslim Countries
Attorney Grace Kennedy is one of the few attorneys in the United States who handles complex immigration- adoption cases from Muslim countries such as Pakistani and Afghanistan. All but one of the immigrant visas issued to Afghan Orphans by the U.S. Department of State has been handled by Kuck Immigration Partners. We also assist with custodial issues for children of US citizens who have been born overseas.
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