Adopting Under the Hague Convention
The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Convention) entered into force with respect to the United States on April 1, 2008. The Convention strengthens protections for children, birthparents, and prospective adoptive parent(s), and establishes internationally agreed upon rules and procedures for adoptions between countries that have a treaty relationship under the Convention (Convention countries). It ultimately provides a framework for member countries to work together to ensure that children are provided with permanent, loving homes, that adoptions take place in the best interests of a child, and that the abduction, sale, or traffic in children is prevented. For additional information on adopting under the Hague Convention, please visit the U.S. State Department website.
As Brazil is also a Hague Convention country, this means that Americans wishing to adopt Brazilian children will now use the Hague Adoption Convention process. As of April 1, 2008, U.S. citizens wishing to adopt in a Convention country must begin this process by filing with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) a Form I-800A "Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country." Prospective adoptive parents should consult the USCIS website to download forms and filing instructions: http://www.uscis.gov/. (Click on "Services & Benefits" under the main tool bar, and then click on "Adoption" in the left-hand column.)
Important notes about adopting under the Hague Convention:
- Only U.S. citizens can adopt under the Hague Convention. Legal permanent residents (LPRs) are not eligible.
- Please do not accept any adoption placement before USCIS has approved your Form I-800A as this is not allowed under the Convention.
- You must also refrain from any contact with the parent(s), legal custodian(s), or other individual or entity responsible for the care of a child who may be eligible for intercountry adoption until the contact is permissible under Article 29 of the Convention.
If a prospective adoptive parent wants to change their case to a Convention case, the entire application and petition process must be started anew. Convention cases have different processing requirements, and an I-600A or I-600 cannot be converted into the I-800A and I-800 form(s) that are required for a Convention case."
Please also visit the Intercountry Adoption website of the Office of Children's Issues for more information.
Where to File an Adoption Petition
The first step in the adoption process is to submit a Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, to USCIS. Please visit the following link to download filing instructions and forms: http://www.uscis.gov/. (Drop down on the main page and, click on "Adoption", right side of the middle column.)
The document below also explains some of the changes under the Hague Convention and gives a general overview of the adoption process:
- Hague Adoption Information
- Advantages of the Hague Convention
- Contact Information for U.S. Authorities
Information for Adoption Service Providers (ASPs)
In late 2009, the Brazilian government passed new adoption-related legislation which changed several aspects of the adoption process in Brazil. The Government of Brazil is still in the process of analyzing applications of prospective U.S. Adoption Service Providers. When selected the ASPs will granted permission to operate in Brazil.
It may take several months before American adoption service providers are in place. When all regulations are approved, they will be posted on the Federal Administrative Central Authority's (ACAF) website. Procedures for accreditation are also available on this website.
Important Information for All Parents wishing to Adopt in Brazil
We continue to work very closely with the Brazilian government to establish how the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention, which entered into force for the U.S. in 2008, will affect future adoptions in Brazil. At the moment, parents should expect a lengthy process because there is currently no U.S. Hague-accredited adoption service provider working in Brazil.
In late 2009, the Brazilian government passed new adoption-related legislation which changed several aspects of the adoption process in Brazil. The Government of Brazil is still in the process of analyzing applications of prospective U.S. Adoption Service Providers. When selected the ASPs will granted permission to operate in Brazil. It may take several months before American adoption service providers are in place. Prospective adoptive parents should also be aware that children available for international adoption in Brazil are generally over 5 years of age, sibling pairs, or have special needs.