Many people in California who want to become parents have turned to international adoption as a solution to grow their family and take in a much-wanted child. While international adoption can be a lengthy, complex and costly process, parents may also wish to keep in mind that it is also an immigration issue. It can be particularly important for parents to ensure that immigration matters are taken care of in order to protect their ability to proceed.

There are several rules governing the treatment of international adoptions in the United States. In the first place, the adoption must have been conducted according to the laws of the child’s home country. The home country must allow foreigners to adopt children, even if they require that the actual adoption be completed in the United States. In addition, the child must be under 16 and must also fit the U.S. government’s definition of an orphan, which can apply to children abandoned by their parents as well as those with parents who have passed away. At least one of the adoptive parents must be a U.S. citizen.

Before moving forward with an international adoption, a prospective parent or family must receive an evaluation, often called advance processing. This procedure can be extensive, so parents may want to complete it before they begin searching for a child. Like other types of adoption approvals, the process includes a home visit from an authorized social worker approved by U.S. Customs and Immigration Services as well as background checks and reviews of the parents’ mental and financial states.

Once approved, parents will need the right visa in order to bring their child back home to the United States with them. An immigration attorney may help prospective parents to move forward with their adoption through the family immigration process.