What is the Orphan Process?
US citizens may immigrate an adopted child through the orphan process and permanently bring them to the US. If the US parent is single and over the age of 25, they can fill out Form I-600, which is the petition to classify an orphan as an immediate relative. If married, both spouses will need to fill out the From I-600.
Sufficient evidence must also be provided that the parents can adequately care for the child. The US parent or parents must prove that they either adopted or plan to adopt the child abroad and that the child is an orphan as defined by US immigration law, or that they will adopt a child in the US once the child has arrived with permission to remove the child from their country of origin.
The Orphan Process can be very complex. Working with an attorney with vast experience in this area can provide you with a sense of peace, knowing that you are getting experienced and professional guidance from the beginning of the process all the way through. Contact my office at (857) 347-3701 to discuss the specifics of your case and learn more about how I can assist you.
How is an Orphan Defined?
According to US Immigration law, an orphan is a foreign-born child who does not have either parent due to death or abandonment, disappearance, desertion, and more. They can also be considered an orphan if they have one surviving parent who either irrevocably released the child for adoption and emigration in writing or is unable to care for the child based on the standards of the country in which the child is.
Do I Need to Have a Specific Child in Mind to Begin the Orphan Process?
Engaging in the adoption process is an option before having a specific child in mind. Qualified US citizens can fill out the I-600A form and begin advance processing. A home study will determine whether the household is safe and satisfies the requirements set forth for an adoption. Once a specific child has been selected, the prospective parents can fill out form I-600A.
What Does a Home Study Entail?
A licensed or authorized person or agency will conduct a home study to submit along with the application for adoption to the USCIS. A home study includes a thorough background check of the parent or parents, as well as in-home visits to determine whether or not the parents are suitable for adoption. Things like the prospective parents’ financial status, physical, emotional, mental health, and more will be reviewed to determine if they meet the requirements for adoption. The home study will also include thorough interviews with all others in the household to determine the environment, past home studies will be reviewed, and any other state or country-specific requirements will be discussed. There may be preparation or training that the prospective parents will need to complete as part of the process; if so, this will have to be documented and added to the application.
What Other Steps Are Taken in the Orphan Process?
An overseas investigation must also take place to determine that the child is an orphan as defined by US immigration law. Medical information will also be gathered to confirm that the child has no illnesses or disabilities that were not previously documented. Whether or not the child has special needs will also be investigated, as this would alter the home study based on the specific child’s needs (the prospective parents may need to adjust their home to facilitate the particular needs of the orphan). Evidence of a valid adoption or grant of custody must also be provided, and there must not be any facts present that would deem the child unqualified for immigration. These investigations are typically carried out by the USCIS of the Department of the State.
Why Hire an Attorney?
Adoption can be an equally exciting and nerve-wracking time for anyone. By having years of experience in this area, I can provide you with invaluable knowledge and guidance and help streamline the process. Contact me at (857) 347-3701 to discuss where you are in the process and how I can best assist you.