The Hague Convention
The Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) is an international agreement to safeguard intercountry adoptions. The United States signed the convention in 1994 and Thailand has also signed the agreement.
From the American perspective, the adoption agency or service provider must be accredited to conduct intercountry adoptions. This is a safety measure in the adoption process and also ensures that the agency is suitably qualified to manage inter-country adoptions. In the United States the accreditation falls under the Department of State specifically the Council on Accreditation and the Colorado Department of Human Services.
If you are from the United States then as an adoptive parent you will need to attend at least 10 hours of pre-adoption training before travelling overseas. With The Hague Convention in place the adoption process offers transparency as well as written procedures on transferring medical records of the child or children as well as written procedures on the adoption fees.
The Hague Convention today covers more than 75 countries and ensure that the adoptions are in the best interest of the children as well as preventing child abduction, exploitation and human trafficking. The Convention also ensures that there is a communication process between the two countries where the adoption is taking place.
The Basic Process:
For Americans citizens, you first need to ensure that the child is eligible for adoption and to be brought to the United States. This is mainly because the adoption laws vary from one country to the next. In order to settle this matter you will need complete the needed forms with the United States is U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The main reason for this is because there are two paths which can be taken. If the child whom is being adopted lives in a country which falls under The Hague Convention then the child must meet the criteria under The Hague Convention. If the child lives in a country not under The Hague convention then the criteria is that set by the US Government. Speak to an adoption lawyer in Thailand for more information.
There are two forms for this being that Thailand does fall under The Hague Convention the last form would be applicable:
I-600 Form -Petition for Orphan as an Immediate Relative (non-Hague country); or
I-800 Form -Petition for Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative (Hague country)
This now tells the USCIS that you have identified a child you which to adopt and bring back to the United States. You will need to complete all the needed forms and supporting documents for this. Note that you will also need to have a completed and approved Form I-800A.
Always take legal advice before you start the process as mistakes can create costly delays in the adoption process. Speak to a lawyer in Thailand to assist with the process as it can become very complicated. If it is an American couple adopting a child or an American adopting his/her step child the process is going to be a bit different.
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