Legal Issues in Illinois Adoptions of Children Born Outside the U.S.

Posted on in Family law

Adoption has been in the news more than usual of late. The reason: politics. Surprisingly, the issue of adoption is at the center of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of possible obstruction of justice on the part of the current U.S. presidential administration. While some people believe that members of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign met with Russian officials with the purpose of influencing the 2016 presidential election, the administration contends that its members met with a prominent Russian attorney to discuss the issue of the adoption of Russian children.

Beyond its political dimension, this news highlights the increased complexity of situations in which adoptive parents and children are of different nationalities. In these cases, it is important to secure the services of an attorney who understands the laws surrounding international adoption.

The Hague Convention Applies to Intercountry Adoption

For a strictly domestic adoption of a child by an Illinois resident or family, the Illinois Adoption Act is applicable. However, in the case of intercountry adoption, in which a citizen of one country adopts a child from another country, one must look to both the laws of the country of which the child is a citizen and the Hague Convention.

The Hague Convention is an international treaty that recognizes that a child “should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love, and understanding.” Valuable information on this respected convention is available from both the Bureau of Consular Affairs and the U.S. Department of State.

Step one in determining whether or not the Hague Convention is applicable in an intercountry adoption is determining whether the country of the child you intend to adopt is a party to the convention. The reason for this, as the State Department makes clear, is because there are two separate intercountry adoption processes: the Hague Convention process and the non-Hague Convention process. Step Two of intercountry adoption is adopting a child from a country other than the one of which you are a citizen and through permanent legal means. Step Three is to bring the child to your country of residence to reside with you on a permanent basis.

The Process of Adoption is One that Requires Expertise

International law, even as it concerns family law, is complex. Adoption is a wonderful thing, but the process can be complex, especially in cases of intercountry adoption. Formalities must be observed, forms must be filed, and great patience and diligence must be exercised. In this process, it is imperative that you rely on the dedication and experience of a DuPage County family law attorney. Contact our office at 630-836-8540 to schedule a free consultation.