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What is an orphan?

February 17, 2014

heart jpgWith the actions and allegations surrounding CHIFF, the Children in Families First Act, we wanted to clarify what actually constitutes an orphan and a child with convention adoptee status. An adoptive child from another country requires a visa to come to the United States. To receive a visa in other circumstances, a child must either meet the United States definition of an orphan or classify as a Convention Adoptee. Here are the main elements of each.

Orphan: Child living in a Non-Convention Country

  • The child must have no living parents, or if the child does have a sole or surviving parent who is unable to care for the child and has, in writing, irrevocably released the child for emigration and adoption.

  • The child must be under the age of 16 at the time the I-600 Petition is filed (check out our blog explaining this) on his or her behalf. A child adopted at the age of 16 or 17 will also qualify, provided he or she is a birth sibling of a child adopted, or who will be adopted, under the age of 16 by the same adopting parents.

  • The adopting parents must have completed a full and final adoption of the child or must have legal custody of the child for purposes of emigration and adoption in the U.S.

  • The child has been or will be adopted by a married U.S. citizen and spouse jointly or by an unmarried U.S. citizen at least 25 years of age, with the intent of forming a bona fide parent/child relationship.

Convention Adoptee: Child must be from a Convention country.

  • The child is under the age of 16 at the time the I-800 is filed on his or her behalf (taking into account special rules on filing dates for children aged 15-16), is unmarried, and lives in a Convention country.

  • The child will be adopted by a married U.S. citizen and spouse jointly, or by an unmarried U.S. citizen at least 25 years of age, habitually resident in the United States, whom USCIS has found suitable and eligible to adopt (form I-800 approval) with the intent of creating a legal parent-child relationship.

  • The child’s birth parent(s), or other legal guardian whose consent is necessary for adoption, freely gave their written, irrevocable consent to the termination of their legal relationship with the child and to the child’s emigration and adoption.

  • The child has two living birthparents who were the last legal custodian, who signed the irrevocable consent to adoption, and were determined to be incapable of providing proper care for the child.

  • The child has been adopted or will be adopted in the United States or in the Convention country according to the rules and procedures of the Hague Convention and the Intercountry Adoption Act.

If a child does not meet these qualifications, he or she may be denied a visa. At this point, you will have to live abroad with your child for two years or be forced to return home without your child. This is why it is so important to work with a Hague accredited adoption agency, like New Beginnings. If you have any questions regarding the above information or adoption, please contact us at 662-842-6752.