Adopting from Germany
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As Europe's largest economy and second most populous nation (after Russia), Germany is a key member of the continent's economic, political, and defense organizations. European power struggles immersed Germany in two devastating World Wars in the first half of the 20th century and left the country occupied by the victorious Allied powers of the US, UK, France, and the Soviet Union in 1945. With the advent of the Cold War, two German states were formed in 1949: the western Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the eastern German Democratic Republic (GDR). To learn more, please read About Germany.
Hague Convention Information
Germany is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption(Hague Adoption Convention). For more information please read about Germany and the Hague Convention.
Who Can Adopt
Who Can Adopt In addition to the U.S. requirements, Germany requires prospective adoptive parents to meet multiple requirements in order to adopt a child from Germany. To learn about these requirements please read Who Can Adopt from Germany.
Who Can Be Adopted
Because Germany is party to The Hague Adoption Convention, children from Germany must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of Germany have determined that placement of the child within Germany has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests. To learn more please read Who Can Be Adopted from Germany.
How to Adopt
WARNING: Germany is party to the Hague Adoption Convention. Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Germany before a U.S. consular officer issues an “Article 5 Letter” in the case. Read on for more information.
Because Germany is party to The Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Germany must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements. Adoptions completed out of order may result in the child not being eligible for an immigrant visa to the United States.
- Choose a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider
- Apply to USCIS to be found eligible to adopt
- Be matched with a child by authorities in Germany.
- Apply to USCIS for the child to be found eligible for immigration to the United States and receive U.S. agreement to proceed with the adoption
- Adopt (or Gain Legal Custody of child in Germany).
- Obtain a U.S. immigrant visa for your child and bring your child home
To learn more about this process please read How to Adopt from Germany.
Applying for Your U.S. Passport
U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. To learn more please read about Traveling Abroad in Germany.
Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements
While there are no post-adoption/post-placement reporting requirements in Germany, the placing agency must offer consultation and support after the adoption is finalized upon the request of the adopting parents. This may include, but is not limited to, the provision of contact information for and liaison with local and national adoption networks and support groups. In general, the German authorities also encourage agencies to facilitate contact between adopting families and birth parents and assist with the provision of updates on the child’s development, pictures, etc.
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.
Here are some good places to start your support group search:
NOTE: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.
U.S. Consulate General Frankfurt
Immigrant Visa Unit Giessener Strasse 30 60435 Frankfurt Am Main Tel: (069) 7535-0 Internet: U.S. Consulate General Frankfurt
Bundesamt für Justiz -Bundeszentralstelle für Auslandsadoption- Adenauerallee 99-103 53113 Bonn Tel: +49 22899 410-5414 or -5415 Fax: +49 22899 410-5402 E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org Website: Germany's Adoption Authority
Embassy of Germany
Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
National Customer Service Center (NCSC) Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833) Internet: USCIS
For questions about filing a Form I-800A or I-800 petition: National Benefits Center Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local) Email: NBC.Adoptions@DHS.gov