San Antonio International Adoption Attorneys
Adopting a child is one of the most rewarding and meaningful decisions of your life. The process of adopting a child from another country into your family can be filled with much anticipation and excitement; but the journey, as you may know, can become quite long and stressful. The San Antonio international adoption attorneys at Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. are here to guide you through your adoption process and provide you with a deeper understanding of the laws you must follow and the hurdles you will likely jump through to adopt your child. While we help you navigate adoption agencies and the complicated legal process of both countries you’ll be dealing with, you can relax and prepare to welcome your new family member. Call us today at (210) 349-9933 to set up a consultation with one of our attorneys.
Do I Need An International Adoption Lawyer?
Of all methods of adoption, international adoption is legally the most complicated. Laws pertaining to adoption can vary from country to country, so it’s smart to have a team of lawyers on your side who have experience helping parents adopt their children. An international adoption lawyer will be able to structure the process for you and ensure it goes as quickly and smoothly as possible. They will be able to decipher international laws and understand how to meet the requirements of both the foreign country and the United States. Your attorney can organize everything for you so that you are prepared with the right documentation and can navigate any difficulty that arises throughout the process. Any adoption process can be arduous and emotional, which is why you can benefit from legal help that takes the burden off your shoulders and, most importantly, allows you to get ready for the new addition to your family.
Why Choose Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. To Handle My Case?
The attorneys at Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. understand how personal this journey can be, and we want to help families have the most positive adoption experience possible. We want to be the ones to handle the legal red tape for you, anticipate any possible snag in the process, ensure that you are paying the right fees, and prepare all the right documentation and paperwork for you. We work closely with parents who are adopting and will make sure your needs are met and your stress is mitigated during this long and emotional process. We’re proud of the work we do; we were named Best Lawyers by U.S. News and World Reports in 2015, and we are also a Super Lawyers selectee. Much more important than recognition, however, is the trust that many parents in the San Antonio community have placed in us regarding one of their biggest life decisions.
Information About International Adoption
Most countries which allow international adoption follow the Hague Adoption Convention, which was put in place in 1995 to ensure the safety of children abroad. Through a specific process of adoption, the Convention ensures secure international adoption and places laws against child laundering and child trafficking to protect children and adoptive parents from corruption, exploitation, or abuse that had previously been a problem with international adoptions. The Hague Adoption Convention has almost 100 countries as signatories, and some of the most popular for American adoptions include China, the Philippines, Mexico, and India.
For adoptive parents living in the United States, the first step in the process is to file Form I-800A with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. That bureau works with the home country for the form’s approval, and authorities in the child’s home country are responsible for finding a match according to the application. That country sends a report for adoptive parents’ approval, and if approval is given, those authorities submit Form I-800 to the U.S. State Department. Parents can then apply for an immigrant visa through the U.S. consulate of the adoptive child’s home country, where they will then go through a series of interviews to determine the fitness of the applying parents. After that process, parents receive either a Hague Adoption Certificate or a Hague Custody Declaration. The Hague Adoption Certificate allows the child to become a U.S. citizen, while the Hague Custody Declaration admits the child to the United States as a lawful permanent resident. In this case, the adoption process can be finished within the United States.
For children from countries not covered by the Hague Adoption Convention, much of the adoption process varies depending on what country you are adopting from. If the child is not an orphan, then a U.S. citizen or permanent resident can adopt an international child between the ages of 2 and 16 through Form I-130. The consulates of both nations approve the entry of the child, and if the child is already in the United States, adoptive parents only need to apply to change the child’s resident status.
If the adoptive child is an orphan—which means that their sole surviving parent is unable to provide care, and has given written permission for the adoption of their child, or they do not have living parents—they can be adopted even if they are younger than 2 years old. Only a U.S. citizen can apply to adopt an international orphan.
Between the parents, the child, the country they are coming from, and the adoption agencies who also become involved in the process, there are many moving parts and plenty of opportunities for complications or delays. The attorneys at Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. know what to anticipate, and know exactly how to handle any hurdles you may be faced with.
Contact a San Antonio International Adoption Attorney
The adoption process is notably long and arduous but is ultimately incredibly enriching for all involved. Having a great team of lawyers on your side can help make this process as easy and smooth as possible, while you anticipate the arrival of your new family member. If you’re ready to start your adoption journey today, don’t hesitate to contact an adoption attorney from Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. today by calling (210) 349-9933.