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 here.
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.
- 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.
Please also visit the Intercountry Adoption website of the Office of Children’s Issues for more information.
U.S. Hague Convention Adoption and Visa Process
U.S. Citizens planning to adopt from a Convention country must follow a specific set of steps to adopt and then obtain immigration benefits for their child. It is important to follow these steps in the correct sequence to avoid potential roadblocks to bringing the child to the United States.
Generally, the Convention adoption process involves six key steps. You must complete these steps in the following order to meet U.S. legal requirements for Convention adoptions.
- Choose a U.S. accredited adoption service provider;
- Apply to USCIS to be found suitable and eligible to adopt a child from a Convention country;
- Be matched with a child by authorities in the child’s country of origin;
- Apply to USCIS for the child to be found eligible for immigration to the United States and receive U.S. provisional approval to proceed with the adoption;
- Adopt the child in the child’s country of origin; and
- Obtain a U.S. immigrant visa for the child and bring your child home.
You will find additional information on the international adoption page in the website of the Brazilian Secretariat of Human Rights.
Information for Adoption Service Providers (ASPs)
The first step in The Hague adoption process is to find an approved or accredited U.S. based Adoption Service Provider for Hague Convention Adoption cases that are licensed in your U.S. state of residence.
Currently there are two U.S. ASPs authorized to work in Brazil:
- HAND IN HAND INTERNACIONAL ADOPTIONS
Point of Contact: CAMILLA TURQUIA GOMES
Address: Rua Julia Nunes n° 145, Luxemburgo
Belo Horizonte/MG – CEP: 30.380-400
Phone: +55 (31) 3293-8614 / +55 (31) 99617-6464
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com
- LIFELINE CHILDREN´S SERVICE
Point of Contact: MARCOS JAYR CARDOSO MIL-HOMENS
Address: Avenida Pe. Antônio J. Santos, n° 142 conjunto 6, Brooklin
São Paulo/SP – CEP: 04563-001
Phone: +55 (11) 5531-6514 / +55 (11) 99653-1920
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com
Where to File an Adoption Petition
The second step is to submit a Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, to USCIS. Please visit this link to download filing instructions and forms.
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 (PDF – 117kb)
- Advantages of the Hague Convention
- Contact Information for U.S. Authorities
During the third step, the Country of Origin must determine if the child is adoptable according to Convention guidelines and meets the definition of Convention adoptee (Form I-800).
Note: If a prospective adoptive parent wants to convert an existing 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 (orphan petition) cannot be converted into the I-800A and I-800 form(s) that are required for a Convention case.
Major Advantages of the Hague Convention
- Provides, for the first time, formal international and intergovernmental recognition of intercountry adoption. The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption is a multilateral treaty among approximately 75 countries.
- Recognizes intercountry adoption, as defined and treated by the Convention, as a means of offering the advantage of a permanent family and loving home to a child for whom a suitable family has not been found in the child’s country of origin.
- Ensures that intercountry adoptions are made in the best interests of the child and with respect for his or her fundamental rights, and to prevent the abduction, the sale of, or traffic in children. The Convention establishes principles and procedures to protect children in intercountry adoptions, and to take the interests of birth parents and adoptive parents into account. The Convention does not benefit any one country, and there are no hidden agendas. The sole purpose is to determine what is best for the child, in the intercountry adoption process in which a child moves from one Convention party country to another.
- Establishes a set of internationally agreed minimum requirements and procedures uniformly to govern intercountry adoptions. Requires that countries party to the Convention establish a Central Authority to be the authoritative source of information and point of contact in that country, to carry out certain functions, to cooperate with other Central Authorities, and to ensure effective implementation of the Convention in the United States.
- Provides a means for ensuring that adoptions made pursuant to the Convention will generally be recognized and given effect in other party countries.
- Facilitates the adoption by U.S. adoptive parents of children from other party countries through an expanded category of children, safeguarded by the Convention, who will qualify for immigration and automatic naturalization in the United States.
Contact Information for U.S. Authorities
Central Authority for Inter-country Adoptions
CA / OCS / CI
2201 C. Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20520-2818
Alternate for U.S. Postal Service and Couriers (DHL, UPS, etc)
U.S. Department of State
Office of Children’s Issues, SA-29
Hague Adoption Unit (HAC/HCD)
2100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW,
4th floor Washington, D.C. 20037
NBC: NATIONAL BENEFITS CENTER
(DHS office that processes all Hague adoption petitions)
Toll Free Number:
1 877 424-8374
NVC: NATIONAL VISA CENTER
(U.S. State Department office that forwards approved I-800 petitions to the U.S. Consulate)
USCIS: CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES
(DHS office that receives all forms submitted for Hague adoptions – I-800A and I-800)
USCIS P.O. Box 660087 Dallas, TX 75266
Express Mail and USCIS
Courier Service Deliveries
2501 S. State Hwy, 121 Business, Ste 400
Lewisville TX 75067
USCIS NATIONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE CENTER:
1 800 375-5283