Georgia residents wishing to adopt internationally may not be surprised to learn that the process is very complex. It often involves family immigration laws from the United States as well as from the prospective adoptees’ countries of origin. Failure to understand domestic and international adoption laws can cause heartbreak and disappointment for many would-be adoptive parents if they do not follow the proper procedures.

The first step in international adoption is called a family evaluation. It is conducted by an organization authorized by the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. Prospective adoptive parents are interviewed and evaluated to determine qualification; therefore, physical, emotional and criminal background checks are conducted. Also, at least one parent must be a U.S. citizen, and if the parent is single, he or she must be over 25 years of age.

The following steps are required for procuring a visa for the child for legal entry into the United States. Two different visas exist for adoption, and the child’s orphan status dictates which visa is issued. There are strict family immigration laws that involve the definition of an orphan, and if those rules do not apply to the child, he or she may not be qualified to enter the U.S. for adoption purposes.

Legal permanent residents who are not U.S. citizens may find themselves attempting to navigate a complicated web of U.S. and international laws. Red tape may prevent such parents from bringing their children to the United States for permanent residency. In such cases, these parents may benefit by becoming U.S. citizens before attempting international adoptions.

The process of adopting a child who is a foreign national can be lengthy. A lawyer with extensive family immigration experience may help prospective parents navigate the international adoption process and help them achieve their goals.