Trusted Adoption Attorneys Representing Clients in International Adoptions

Protecting the best interests of children in international adoptions throughout eastern Tennessee

Whether you are working with an agency to adopt a child from another country or have already adopted a child from another country and need to “re-adopt” the child in the United States, we can help. At the law firm of Shepherd & Associates, P.C., our adoption attorneys guide you every step of the way through the process of adopting a child from another country to make your family feel complete.

How does international adoption work?

In international adoption, you travel to another country to adopt a child and bring that child home to live with you permanently as your child. With international adoptions, there is an additional layer of potential complications because you must deal with challenges from government officials in the child’s country of origin, and with the U.S. immigration process.

In most international adoption cases, the parental rights of the birth parents have already been terminated prior to the child’s placement with an adoptive family. Prospective adoptive parents may travel to another country to obtain guardianship (or for their adoption agency to obtain guardianship) of the child they wish to adopt. If the adoption is not finalized in the child’s home country, then the adoption should be finalized in the U.S. A home study is required, and the child must be in the prospective adoptive parents’ custody for six (6) months before the adoption may be finalized.

What is the Hague Convention?

The Hague Convention is an international agreement between countries that is designed to protect children adopted across national boundaries with the goal of protecting the best interests of children in intercountry adoptions and to prevent the abduction, exploitation sale or trafficking of children. (Children of all Nations)

The Hague Convention applies to intercountry adoptions, and requires that such adoptions may take place only if the child’s country of origin has declared that the child is adoptable.

What is re-adoption?

If a child’s adoption was in fact finalized in his or her home country, then only a “re-adoption” may be necessary when the child and the adoptive parents return to the U.S. This will allow the adoptive parents to obtain a final decree of adoption from a U.S. court, and will allow the child to obtain a Certificate of Foreign Birth from the Tennessee Office of Vital Records. Depending on the child’s visa status when entering the U.S., re-adoption may not be required, but many parents elect to proceed with a re-adoption to gain the peace of mind of having an adoption decree from a U.S. court.

Am I eligible to adopt a child from another country?

Whether a couple is eligible to adopt from a particular country will vary depending on the requirements of the child’s country of origin and the requirements of the adoption agency that you are going to be working with. There are sometimes age, income, length of marriage and difference of the age between the child and the prospective adoptive couple requirements that will vary by country and agency.

How long does an international adoption take?

Of course, there is no way to give a definitive answer to this question, but a general estimate is anywhere between 18 months and 3 years.

How much does an international adoption cost?

Fees for international adoptions will vary and it is impossible to give any meaningful estimate because there are so many variables. Your adoption attorney, who will be thoroughly familiar with your case, will give you a better estimate of what if might cost for an international adoption, but you might expect costs to start at about $20,000 including travel and other costs.

When you are considering an international adoption, we advise you to work with an experienced adoption attorney as early in the process as possible. Be sure to work with a lawyer who has handled international adoptions – even better if they have handled adoptions from the child’s country of origin. Ask for references from other parents who have worked with them and ask as many questions as you can think of at the outset.

At Shepherd & Associates, we are here to protect your interests as you seek to adopt a child from another country. We find it incredibly rewarding to help families successfully grow their families through adoption.

Consult with a compassionate Maryville adoption lawyer

There are children all around the world who could benefit from the loving support of a forever family in Tennessee. If you are ready to open your heart and your home to a child through adoption, you are welcome to call and schedule a consultation with an experienced adoption attorney from Shepherd and Associates, P.C. at 865-225-9655 or fill out the contact form on this website right away.