For the third time in as many months I was approached at the White Plains office by a new client who had already completed the adoption of an infant abroad and was inquiring about how to get legal, immigrant status for that infant. Oy. If only I had been consulted prior to rather than after the adoption was finalized. Finalizing your adoption (or in some instances, even taking custody of the child) without consulting an immigration lawyer beforehand can spell disaster for that child’s prospects of acquiring Lawful Permanent Residency or citizenship here in the US.
Approximately 2 years ago the United States ratified the Hague Convention on the Adoption of children. As of that date, adoptions from countries that are signatories to the Convention (see here for the list) MUST be done in accordance with a complicated procedure that requires several steps be taken and approved BEFORE you take custody of the child. The ramifications of a non-compliant adoption from a Convention country can be devastating and could even require annulling or canceling the adoption and starting over again. Not something that any parent who has gone through the arduous and emotionally wrenching procedure once will ever want to do again, for the same child.
So if you are thinking of adopting a child from a Convention or non-Convention country, please contact me first. You will save yourself much time, money and upheaval if you are guided through the process by a competent immigration attorney who is familiar with the process. Relying upon the Adoption Agency or Authority in the child’s country of origin about compliance with US Immigration Law is almost always a recipe for disaster. Kind of like relying upon your Doctor for advice about buying a home.
And if you have already begun the adoption process (or completed it), Click here to schedule your free 20-minute consultation, or call my office immediately at 914 358-1400 (Westchester) or 212 431-1188 (New York City). It may make all the difference in the world to your child’s chances for legal status in the US. Westchester Immigration Attorney Karyn Schiller has the experience and professional dedication you – and your child – need.