Many New Mexico couples have considered adopting a child who was born in another country, but the international adoption process can be complex, lengthy and expensive. Anyone considering adopting a foreign-born child should familiarize themselves with the process. In this post, we will provide an introduction to the basic issues in international adoptions.

For couples living in the United States, the international adoption process is governed by the laws of the United States and the laws of the country where the child was born. A number of countries, including the United States, have adopted the Hague Convention governing international adoptions. If both countries follow the Hague Convention, the entire process will be conducted according to the convention.

If the country of the child’s birth does not follow the convention, the procedure may come with fewer protections for the adopting parents. For example, in both convention and non-convention countries, the adoption services provider must be licensed in the state of residence in the United States; in convention countries, the ASP must also be accredited or approved by an agency of the Department of State.

The major difference between convention and non-convention adoptions is the ethical and disclosure requirements that must be met by the ASP in the country of birth. Many nations do not require ASPs to be accredited, and the adopting parents may not be told all of the fees that will be charged. In 2012, Congress passed the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 which required ASPs in non-convention countries to meet the same accreditation requirements as convention countries for adoptions by U.S. parents.

Anyone contemplating the adoption of a child who was born in another country will probably benefit from consulting an attorney who is knowledgeable about such adoptions. Such a consultation can provide useful information about the procedures that must be followed both the child’s native country and in the United States. The attorney can also provide advice about when and if a lawyer’s services will be needed.

Source: U. S. Department of State, “Intercountry Adoption,” accessed July 6, 2015