Is it possible to Adopt a child while on H1B Visa?
I am on H1B visa and want to adopt a child from India.

As per the Department of State (DOS)'s web-site one of the parent must be US Citizen, or One of the parent must remain with the child for 2 years to be adopted.

[url=]International Adoptions: Legal Permanent Residents and Intercountry Adoptions[/url]

Does anybody has successfully adopted a child from India while on H1B status? I would like to know the complete process. Your suggestion and comments will be a great help.

You can't get approval to adopt internationally, while living in the US, unless your a citizen or married to a citizen.

US Government approval is required to adopt abroad.
Remember that international adoption involves two components -- adoption and immigration.

The issue is not whether youi can ADOPT a child from India while on an H1B visa. You may be able to do so, although most foreign countries will not place a child with a family if that child will not be able to get a visa to enter the family's country of residence immediately.

The issue is whether the American government will allow you, a person without American citizenship, to bring an adopted child into the U.S. on an adoption visa. And the answer to that question is no, unless you happen to be the spouse of a U.S. citizen. That is a matter of law, set forth in the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, and there is no way around it.

You can certainly give up your American visa, go home, adopt the child, and then reapply for a visa for you and your already adopted child to come to the U.S. But that is not a good option for most people who have come to the U.S. for work or for other reasons, especially since it could take several years.

Some non-citizens living in the U.S. have tried adopting a child overseas, having the child live with relatives in the same country for two years, and then applying to bring the child here. However, there is no guarantee that you would get a visa for the visa under those conditions, since you will never have actually lived with the child. And most foreign countries would not place a child with a family, knowing that the child would not actually live with that family for two years after the adoption.

Consult a reputable adoption/immigration attorney for more information, but I'm afraid that I cannot offer you much hope of success. The law is very clear on this matter.

I was in the same situation - had an H1B visa and wanted to adopt internationally. The current U.S. immigration laws discriminate between an adopted child and a biological child (which is in disagreements with the Hague agreements which the U.S. signed and, well, implements): The adopted child does not have the same immigration rights as the biological child, e.g. in your case it cannot get an H4 visa to which your biological children are automatically entitled.

I have dual Swiss and Israeli citizenship and I decided to check out what other countries' policies are. The Swiss immigration laws do not discriminate between adopted and biological children so an adopted child gets the same immigration status as the parents. Why can't the U.S. do the same? I don't know.

So what are your options?

1. The current laws will likely not change so soon because our situation is relatively rare, lack of public interest and because we immigrants do not have electoral power. You are nevertheless invited to sign the following petition: [url=]A Petition For International Adoption By U. S. Permanent Residents Petition[/url]

2. You could "give up your H1B visa, adopt and try to get an H1B visa again". I was actually told to do that, can you believe it?! It is sad how some people just don't seem to care and/or don't understand how hard it is to get an immigration visa.

3. You can give up on international adoption until you are U.S. citizen, adopt then OR adopt domestically. I adopted domestically. It was quite difficult because I am not of Christian faith and as a resulty of that got rejected by agencies and birthmothers. After many disappointments, my beautiful baby boy Kiran came home and he is the light in my life.

Because of what I went through, my heart is with immigrants and permanent residents who try to adopt. Please feel free to PM me, I will try to assist you as good as I can.
First off, please understand that U.S. law does not discriminate between adopted children and biological children

It DOES, however, make certain distinctions between citizens and non-citizens. Virtually ALL countries make distinctions between citizens and non-citizens, and give certain privileges to citizens that are not granted to non-citizens.

Citizens are people who have, either officially or through birth, committed themselves to living in a country, taking part in its political life, contributing to its economy, and fighting and dying for it. Non-citizens have not made that commitment, although some may wind up doing some of those things and, may ultimately decide to pursue citizenship. Isn't it fair that citizens should have more privileges? Isn't it fair that, if I go to your birth country to visit or even to stay permanently, but without taking citizenship, I should have fewer privileges than a citizen of your country?

One of the things that is easier for an American citizen than for a citizen of another country relates to immigration. American citizens can go and come freely from the U.S., as long as they have a passport, and can even bring in a child whom they adopt overseas as an immediate relative without waiting for years. Non-citizens have a more difficult time coming and going, and have to jump through more hoops if they wish to bring someone else into the country.

Second, please remember that the U.S. does not ban ADOPTION by non-citizens. Many people on green cards, for example, have adopted children within the U.S. States regulate adoption, and while a few may not allow non-citizens to adopt, many WILL allow legal permanent residents to adopt domestically, since they plan to remain in the U.S. permanently.

Courts may insist that, if birthparents are involved with the child at the time of adoption, they given consent to having the child adopted by a non-citizen. The reason is simple. Open adoption -- an ongoing relationship between the adoptive family and the birth family -- is encouraged in the U.S., and if a non-American adopts a child and returns to his/her home country, the open relationship may not be able to be sustained. Still, Americans DO consent to adoption of American children by foreigners, and states allow it.

People in the U.S. on relatively short-term visas -- work visas, for example -- may not be allowed to adopt domestically, simply because homestudies want to see proof of a stable living situation. Most foreign countries feel the same way.

As to foreign adoption, the U.S. has no legal barriers to adoption by non-citizens, per se.

However, the U.S. has laws regarding immigration. The U.S. government, like virtually all governments in the world, regulates the conditions under which people may come to the U.S. to visit, work, attend school, or live, temporarily or permanently. The goal is to limit the total number of immigrants, so that the country does not become overcrowded, and also to ensure that those people coming to the U.S. have been screened to rule out criminals and terrorists of all sorts, anyone with dangerous diseases, anyone who is likely to become a public charge, and so on.

The U.S. government believes that international adoption is a good thing, if a child cannot remain in his/her birth country. As a result, it has created a process by which U.S. citizens can obtain a visa for an adopted child, without waiting the years and years that are often required for other types of visa. The U.S. citizens must satisfy all the adoption requirements of their home states and also those of the foreign country from which the child is coming, and must also prove, to the satisfaction of the USCIS, that they are unlikely to harm the child or put him/her on welfare.

The U.S. has chosen NOT to extend the same privilege to non-citizens, unless they happen to be married to a U.S. citizen. One reason is simply that obtaining an adoption visa with ease is considered a privilege, and that there is no need to offer non-citizens the same privilege that citizens get.

Another reason is that, unfortunately, SOME non-citizens have tried to skirt U.S. immigration laws and bring relatives and friends to the country. One thing that is important to the government is that, if a person is admitted to the U.S., he/she NOT have access to any "loopholes" in the laws that let him/her bring other people to the country without proper U.S. approval. This is true, whether the person to be brought in is an adult or a biological child or an adopted child.

In the past, many immigrants -- and particularly people who have NOT become citizens -- have tried to use adoption to bring young relatives, who ordinarily would not have been able to get visas without waiting for years, into the U.S. These people do not plan to treat adoption in the way that is defined by U.S. laws and customs. Rather than assuming all legal and moral responsibility for the child, with the birthparents' rights severed, they intend to keep the birthparents as the legal and moral parents of the child.

The Immigration and Nationality Act effectively closed that loophole, to a substantial degree, by creating certain conditions under which immigration of adopted persons can occur. As just one example, the law prohibits granting an adoption visa to anyone who has reached the age of 16 (18, if the family has already adopted a Biological sibling of the child). Adoption visas cannot be granted to people who are 16+, whether the person adopting them is a U.S. citizen or a non-citizen.

As another example, the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) says that any child who is granted an adoption visa to enter the U.S. must be an "eligible orphan". An eligible orphan is defined as practically any child who has NOT been living with two married or common-law married birthparents.

He/she can be an abandoned child, a child living with a single birthparent who can't support him/her according to the normal standards of the foreign country, a child whose birthparents have died, a child who has been removed from an unsuitable home by action of a legally recognized government, or a child who has been legally relinquished and has been living apart from and without any contact with the birthparents.

But the law does not permit granting an adoption visa to a child who has been living with two birthparents, in part because that's where most of the cases of adoption fraud have occurred. Some couples, usually fairly well off, have let their children go through sham adoptions just to get them admitted to the U.S. so they can grow up with good educations, good health care, lots of material advantages, and so on. The people "adopting" the children do not truly become their parents -- just their temporary guardians -- which is inconsistent with the intent of the law.

If ANYONE -- U.S. citizen or non-citizen -- wishes to bring to the U.S. a child who is not an "eligible orphan", he/she must be prepared to live overseas with the child for two years, and then apply for a regular visa for him/her. This law has affected plenty of U.S. citizens, as well as non-citizens.

And, finally, the U.S. has decided that there is just too much risk that the adoption visa process will be misused by non-citizens.

All in all, saying that current adoption laws discriminate against adopted children is bogus. The laws do make a perfectly valid distinction between U.S. citizen prospective parents and non-U.S. citizen prospective parents, when it comes to the privilege of immigrating a child to the U.S.

Citizens will have no problem obtaining an adoption visa for a child, as long as they go through the normal adoption visa process (which is not, by any means, easy). Non-citizens may bring an adopted child into the U.S., but ONLY after spending a period of time overseas with the child -- a requirement that generally DOES bar most foreigners from immigrating an adopted child, but not from adopting a U.S. born child.

As to the children, any child born in the U.S. is considered a U.S. citizen, whether he/she lives with his/her biological family or is adopted by another family. And any child who is legally immigrated to the U.S. on an IR-3 visa -- one of two classes of visa commonly issued to internationally adopted kids -- becomes a citizen as soon as he/she enters the U.S. This clearly shows no intent to discriminate between biological and adopted children.

Children who come into the U.S. on an IR-4 visa are considered not to have had a full and final adoption overseas. In many cases, these are children adopted from countries like Korea, which do not issue a final decree overseas but send them to the U.S. under a decree of guardianship for adoption here. In some cases, there has been an adoption overseas that is considered final in the foreign country, but that federal law does not consider final because all relevant parents did not actually see the child prior to the finalization.

U.S. law requires IR-4 children to be adopted in the U.S. before they can apply for citizenship. Once they are considered to have a full and final adoption in the U.S., however, they are also considered to be automatic citizens, and can request proof of citizenship -- a certificate of citizenship -- to be sent to them. Again, no discrimination between Biological or domestically adopted children and internationally adopted children.

And if a child is adopted internationally and does NOT qualify for an adoption visa -- for example, because he/she is not an orphan, or because he/she doesn't have at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen -- he/she still CAN get an adoption visa IF the adoptive parents live with him/her overseas for two years.

I know that you are upset because you cannot find a way to adopt internationally while on a temporary visa, and bring the child to the U.S. However, please do not allege discrimination against adopted children. That just isn't the case. U.S. immigration law is more strict with non-citizens than it is with citizens, but that is a wholly different issue. Citizens SHOULD have special privileges, since they have responsibilities that non-citizens do not have.

If you truly desire to adopt a child, you can adopt. You can go home to your country of origin and adopt there. You can then choose to stay there or reapply to come to the U.S. with your family. Or you can check the laws of your U.S. state of residence about adopting domestically and follow those rules. You may be able to adopt a U.S. child on your current visa, though it is unlikely, but you will probably be able to adopt if you acquire a permanent resident visa (green card). And you will certainly be able to adopt if you apply for and receive U.S. citizenship.

Sharon - your long reply defending the current immigration system shows that you try very hard to defend something which you know is not rightfully defendable. Your answer is well rehearsed and well formulated but the message sounds cold hearted and lacking empathy.

The current immigration laws do not address adoption properly and need to be amended. And yes, despite your claims, the current laws do discriminate between biological and adopted children. You can twist and turn it as you wish, claiming that the deal is the status of the parents and not the child, I don't care - what we have here is discrimination of the adopted child vs the biological one and that is against the Hague agreements. And I hope somebody will notice this and do something about it.

I do not care if "Virtually ALL countries make distinctions between citizens and non-citizens". What I care about is what is appropriate, not what the others do. And if we must compare ourselves to others, then please: As I happen to be also Swiss citizen, I checked out the Swiss immigration laws. Permanent residents can adopt there and the child gets the immigration status of the parents, as should be. So if the Swiss can do it, so can the United States. End of it. Done.

The you give me this "Citizens are people who have, either officially or through birth, committed themselves to living in a country" etc. etc. So I take it from there that you have been born the United States and have not been an immigrant in your life. Humbly keep in mind that your forefathers were immigrants just like me and without them you would not be here. You were born where you were born, raised where you were raised and the current adoption constellation works in your favor so you justify it. If you would have been born where I was born and raised where I was raised, then your opinions would be different.

Then you tell me that as a permanent resident I can adopt domestically. Oh yeah. Great. Let me give you a reality check on that one because I have been there and done that.

Public adoption was out of question because I had an H1B visa at the time (do you know what an H1B visa is?) and the foster care system would not work with me. So it had to be private domestic adoption, that was the only choice. I am a Jew and also an active member of a Hindu temple. Do you have any idea how hard it was to get chosen by a birthmother?! Now just imagine what e.g. a Hindu couple would face, namely finding a birthmother who chooses to place her baby with Hindus. From experience I can tell you, it's hell. My heart goes out to people who face what I faced, it really does.

Do you understand better now why domestic adoption is, although legally possible, an almost impossible option? Your answer is well rehearsed, of the hand waving "problem solved" style but there is a reality out here. Go out, get educated, learn what reality is about. Not the nicely packaged words. The reality.

The rest of your lengthy answer seems as if it was copied from some USCIS source and I won't go into it.
And then you actually write "If you truly desire to adopt a child, you can adopt. You can go home to your country of origin and adopt there. You can then choose to stay there or reapply to come to the U.S. with your family."

I would never be able to write such a cold blooded sentence. Seriously, I mean, I just could not. My fingers would refuse to type it. Dear Sharon, you do not have the slightest idea what we talk about here. I am electrical engineer and I got my H1B visa by sheer luck. After September 11, less and less employers deal with immigration visas. To make things worse, the number of H1B visas is capped unless you are a student in a U.S. university and the competition is hard.

After the H1B visa is in place, you can eventually apply for a green card. Depending on the USCIS backlog, it takes a long time until you become permanent resident (typically 2-5 years) and then it takes 5 years until you can apply for citizenship.

If I adopted a child from India and went to live with it for two years abroad, I would lose my green card and would have to start applying for an H1B visa again. My chances of getting a second H1B visa these days are slim and I would probably not be able to get another one. I would have to give up my existence here in the U.S., all that I have built up painstakingly. Do you understand that point? Can you imagine how that feels like? Ever gave up your existence?

So no, your answer doesn't do it for me. The current immigration laws do not address the issues properly. I buy that citizens and non-citizens should be treated differently but I don't buy that we permanent residents should not be able to adopt internationally.

As I said - the law should allow us to adopt an eligible orphan (yes, I buy this definition) via certain accredited agencies. Second, the adopted child should get the immigration status that a biological child is entitled to so e.g. if the parents are on an H1B status, the child should get an H4 status. That's all. (And by the way, I do not think that the fact that the U.S. grants automatic citizenship to a U.S. born child is a good thing, personally, I am not in favor of this). I hope the current immigration laws regarding adoption will change but since there is no electoral gain attached, I am not too optimistic that this will happen any when soon.
WizardofOz said...
Do you understand better now why domestic adoption is, although legally possible, an almost impossible option? Your answer is well rehearsed, of the hand waving "problem solved" style but there is a reality out here. Go out, get educated, learn what reality is about. Not the nicely packaged words. The reality.

Not all domestic adoptions involve a birthmother choosing the adoptive family. I've adopted domestically twice in the last 9 years. Both times, the agency, not the birthmother, chose the family. Both times the wait was less than 6 months. Both adoptions were private agency. Both adoptions were less than $3100.00

If you want to adopt a child with all the rights and privileges of an American citizen, get your citizenship and THEN adopt. If you want to adopt as a citizen of another country then do it-but don't complain about how difficult it is for you. Why should the US rewrite adoption laws to accomodate & benefit NON-citizens? There is no benefit to the United States to have non-citizens going overseas and bringing more non-citizens into the US. Do Israel & Switzerland allow non-citizens on visas to bring other non-citizens into their countries?
I agree with you that an agency pick is indeed a good option for folks who are not mainstream America.

It is my full right to express myself freely on this forum and "complain". Please keep in mind that my opinions are based on personal experience, not something that I read somewhere. There is no better teacher than experience.

It seems to me that you say what you say now because all looks good to you since you are U.S. citizen. Had you ever been a (mind you - legal!) immigrant like me, you would think otherwise. We tend to justify what works for us.

You say that there is "no benefit in non-citizens bringing over non-citizens" etc. How many children per year do you think we are talking about?

And how many permanent residents do you think would adopt internationally through certified agencies, were it legal? Do you think we talk about tens, hundreds or thousands of children?

If you did the math, assuming the permanent residents would adopt at a similar rate to citizens, you would discover that we talk about a highly marginal phenomenon here, a few isolated cases and nothing more. Certainly not a "massive invasion" by "aliens", LOL.

I will be citizen in two years but my opinions will not change. I will welcome (and help promote, God willing) a more adoption friendly immigration policy than what we currently have.
WizardofOz said...
You say that there is "no benefit in non-citizens bringing over non-citizens" etc. How many children per year do you think we are talking about?

Well, explain to me how allowing non-citizens to bring more non-citizens into this country will BENEFIT the United States?

And again, would Israel & Switzerland (countries you are a citizen of) allow me, a non-citizen living on a work visa, to bring other non-citizens into their countries in order to adopt?

You said you checked into international adoption in Switzerland. You should have checked the Swiss code. In Switzerland, the Swiss Civil code states that
at least ONE of the parents must be a Swiss citizen in order to bring an internationally adopted child into Switzerland. How is that different from the US?

As for Israel, in 1996, the ICA passed a law allowing Israeli CITIZENS to adopt from other countries and bring the children into the country. They do not allow non-citizens to adopt at all *even domestically

Again, why should the US bend over backwards to appease a handful of legal immigrants who want the benefits of citizenship without becoming a citizen? Or who want all the benefits of being a citizen for the purpose of adoption without having to wait until they are eligible for citizenship? Where is the benefit to the United States? There are no benefits to our country so why would they bother? The only one who would benefit would be the legal US immigrant adopting internationally because he/she could then take advantage of US citizenship visa & immigration policies that they were not intended to have access to.
Well, explain to me how allowing non-citizens to bring more non-citizens into this country will BENEFIT the United States?

Please explain to me how granting citizenship to every baby that is born in the United States BENEFITS the United States? Granting U.S. citizenship is obviously not based on benefiting hence your question is not relevant.

Notwithstanding, the United States would BENEFIT greatly if they ENFORCED the immigration laws but, as we know the laws are not REALLY enforced (that's why "immigrant" became a synonym to "illegal immigrant"). The government looks the other way when it comes to illegal immigrants, however the legal immigrants are treated overly strict - maybe to balance out the equation?

And again, would Israel & Switzerland (countries you are a citizen of) allow me, a non-citizen living on a work visa, to bring other non-citizens into their countries in order to adopt?

Not "in order to adopt" (makes no sense to me, LOL!) but in Switzerland it is legal.

In Switzerland, the Swiss Civil code states that
at least ONE of the parents must be a Swiss citizen in order to bring an internationally adopted child into Switzerland.

Not quite. Switzerland has signed and follows the Hague agreement. I have read the "ANAG Weisungen" by the Bundesamt fuer Migration which explain the rules. You can read it on

Paragraph 541.2 deals with adoption by foreigners. They differentiate between children adopted from countries which have signed the Hague agreement and countries which have not. In both case, the regulation is to treat the adoptive child as a biological child.

In the first case (541.21), since the adoptive child is to be treated as a biological child, the child gets the immigration status of the parents. In the second case, (541.22), they condition the acknowledgement of the adoption if the local Kanton police can verify that the child has been adopted legally by cooperating with the sending country.

Even if Switzerland does not acknowledge the adoption, it says in the document that the child is entitled to special visas so they have thought of those cases as well.

Israel is a special case because it is defined a Jewish state, i.e. there is no separation between religion and state. The reason why international adoption was an issue was because was because the foreign babies are not Jewish. I would not take Israel as a valid example because in the United States religion and state are separate.

Again, why should the US bend over backwards to appease a handful of legal immigrants who want the benefits of citizenship without becoming a citizen?

First of all, let me re-iterate that all we are saying is the LEGAL PERMANENT RESIDENTS (so-called LPRs or green card holders) should be able to adopt internationally.

Indeed, we permanent residents are only a "handful of legal immigrants". True, it's not a widespread phenomenon - we talk about allowing or not allowing at most ~2000 foreign born babies to be adopted by permanent residents per year (my raw estimate). I fail to see a massive immigration of "non-beneficial individuals" and why define internationally adopted babies/children "non-beneficial individuals" in the first place?!

Anyway, about the "who want the benefits of citizenship without becoming a citizen"?

I was almost rolling on the floor! As serious as the subject is and as much as the ignorance and lack of empathy around it annoys me, that argument was just too funny.

So why then are we permanent residents not citizens? It's not that we do not want the citizenship - we'd love to!!! But we have to wait five years until we can finally get it!!! As for me, I am counting the days ... two years to go ... arrghhh ... oh please grant me citizenship tomorrow, I'll take it! We would LOVE to adopt in the meantime instead of having to wait in limbo for five years!

I'll conclude by providing some information on the rights and duties of permanent residents. You can read more on [url][/url]
but the salient points are:

1. We have the right to work and live here and are entitled to social benefits. (Of course, we must pay taxes like everybody else, LOL).
2. We can request a visa for our spouse and unmarried children.
3. We can apply for citizenship after 5 years.
4. Males between the age of 18-26 have to register for the US armed forces.
5. We can leave the United States and return under restricted conditions.
6. We cannot vote.
7. We cannot adopt internationally (that's not explicitly written anywhere but is implicitly implied by the U.S. immigration laws).

I really hope to make things clearer and bring the topic to the awareness it deserves.

As for me, I had the dream to adopt a child from a poor country since I was about six years old. My wish to adopt comes out of a heartfelt desire to change a child's future and I have always felt that this was something I was called to do. I had three biological children and later adopted a beautiful boy domestically. But my vision to adopt a child from an orphanage in a poor country has not changed and the feeling of an unfulfilled duty has remained. It is hard to explain how intense the sense of having a vocation of this kind can be but this is the cause behind my actions.
Please understand that I am not anti-immigration, and I am not a supporter of the current Administration's policies in many areas.

I definitely would like to see a truly comprehensive overhaul of the U.S. immigration system, not just with regard to adoption, but with regard to many aspects of the current situation.

With regard to adoption, there are a couple of things I'd like to see:

1. A review of the rationale for the distinction between the IR-3 and IR-4 visas, in the case of children who receive a final decree of adoption overseas.

I believe that the IR-4 visa is appropriate for a child who comes to the U.S. under a decree of guardianship, for adoption in this country. Such a child has not had a full and final adoption overseas, and should be adopted legally in this country before being eligible for citizenship and so on. The IR-4 helps to ensure that families will actually go ahead with their adoption, and won't forget about it, leaving the child in a stateless condition.

However, I do NOT believe that there is a justification for the IR-4 visa's use in the case of children who receive a final decree of adoption abroad, but who are not seen by all relevant parents prior to the issuance of that decree. I have not seen any evidence that the likelihood of adoption disruption is greater in such cases, or that there is more likelihood of any sort of adoption fraud in any such cases, or anything else that would lead me to believe that it's in the U.S.'s interest to treat these children differently from IR-3 children.

In short, I believe that a child who has had a properly conducted, ethical adoption overseas should have the adoption acknowledged by the U.S. government, regardless of whether all relevant parents saw him/her ahead of time. I believe that such a child should be granted an IR-3 visa, and should become a U.S. citizen upon entering the U.S.

2. A review of the "orphan definition". At present, it is not possible to get an adoption visa (IR-3 or IR-4) for a foreign-born child who has been living with married birthparents or birthparents living together in a common law arrangement recognized by the foreign country. The child must:

a) Have been living with a single birthparent who cannot support him/her at a level considered normal in the foreign country; or,
b) Have lost both biological parents to death; or,
c) Have been abandoned, with birthparent whereabouts unknown; or,
d) Have been removed from the biological parent(s) by a legitimate court, for cause (e.g., abuse or neglect); or,
e) Have been legally and permanently relinquished by the biological parent(s), and have no contact with the parent(s).

It is my understanding that the "orphan definition" was put in place to prevent situations where couples wanted their child to have the advantages of growing up in the U.S., and created a sham adoption that would entitle him/her to a visa. They had no intent to relinquish the child irrevocably, and planned either to get a visa to join their child in the U.S. eventually, or to bring the child home after he/she was educated.

I have not seen proof that married couples are any more likely to arrange such sham adoptions than single people are. I also have not seen proof that sham adoptions occur in significant numbers, and could not be prevented by a careful review of I-600 applications. What I have seen is plenty of kids living in impoverished two parent homes, where the living conditions are just as bad as they are in single parent homes.

3. A clarification of the automatic citizenship process, once and for all. The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 seems to have made it clear that the intent of Congress was to grant all children, internationally adopted by Americans, automatic U.S. citizenship as long as certain basic conditions were met. Unfortunately, the USCIS is still having some difficulty with this law. Although it has FINALLY agreed -- after much discussion -- to issue a certificate of citizenship automatically to IR-3 kids coming home now, it still wants to go through yet another review of documents for all other kids, even AFTER they have gone through readoption/recognition in their home state.

4. A review of the citizenship process for children adopted by American citizens living overseas, with at least the possibility that such children will NOT have to make a trip to the U.S. in order to qualify for automatic citizenship.

5. A review of the decision NOT to extend automatic citizenship to children who had reached the age of 18 by February, 2001. There are still young adults whose parents failed to naturalize them, mainly through ignorance, and who, although American in every way, would be subject to deportation if they committed a crime. These young adults often do not realize that they are not citizens, and have never seen their birthland except as babies. Yet such young adults have actually been deported after commission of a crime and completion of a prison sentence, just like any other non-citizen.

6. Obviously, a change in the Constitution that would allow internationally adopted children to become President when they attain the appropriate age. More broadly, I think that the law should allow anyone who has been a U.S. citizen for at least 20 years to become President.

7. I would like to open a new dialogue between Western and Islamic countries, with regard to the definition of adoption for immigration purposes. Islamic law defines adoption in a totally different way from Western law. It does not permit the severance of the legal relationship between birthparent and child, for example. The child keeps the biological parent's name and inheritance rights, for example. The biological parent is encouraged to have a voice in the religious education of the child. And the child may return to the biological parent, if it becomes possible and if the child desires to do so.

Current U.S. immigration laws make it difficult for U.S. citizens, who happen to be Orthodox Muslims, to adopt, unless they adopt from a country that is fairly liberal in its interpretation of Shaaria and will create paperwork that satisfies U.S. immigration requirements.

When religious Muslim Americans take in a child in THIS country, they do so as foster parents, meeting all state foster parent requirements, but they do not go through a formal adoption. This satisfies both the requirements of their state and of Shaaria, Islamic law.

But, as a result of the definition of adoption, a child from a strict Islamic country generally is NOT eligible for an adoption visa by American Muslims. If the relationship with the Biological parents may not be severed, then from the standpoint of Western law, there is foster care or guardianship, not adoption; thus, the child does not meet the requirements for an adoption visa, which requires the total relinquishment of the rights of the birthparents and the treatment of the adopted child exactly like a biological child.

While I fully support the Western definition of adoption, I also support religious freedom. I believe that, for humanitarian reasons, the U.S. should consider allowing an exemption to the current visa requirements for a child from an Islamic country being adopted by Orthodox Muslim American citizens, if the country in which the child lives has faced a natural or manmade disaster.

Finally, I would see no harm in a review of the current legal barriers to immigration of a child adopted by legal permanent residents, although not by other non-citizens. HOWEVER, I would want to see clear proof that such adoptions were no more likely to involve fraud than any other adoptions, and I would want to see a new tightening of the review process of I-600s to ensure that fraudulent adoptions do not occur.

On that theme, I believe that there should be strict standards for the issuance of adoption visas, so that people cannot misuse the visas on behalf of folks who do not qualify for them. That being said, I believe that the visa issuance process, as it currently occurs, is very flawed, not just in adoption, but in other areas. People are being denied visas who clearly deserve them, and people are successfully entering this country who do not belong here. Look at the 9/11 terrorists!

Whatever laws the U.S. makes concerning who is eligible for a visa should be subject to appropriate enforcement. As an example, any I-600 petition to bring a child into the U.S. on an adoption visa ought to be investigated in a way that, virtually 100% of the time, will allow eligible children to immigrate, while denying visas to ineligible children.

Unfortunately, at this time, I believe that this is not happening. Many, many adoptive parents have faced denials of IR-3 or IR-4 visas to children, when subsequent investigations turned up no evidence that the children were inadmissible. And in many cases, the birthparents of these children were subject to investigations that made no sense and only served to stigmatize them in their local communities.

As an example, during the events leading up to the first closure of Vietnam and the closure of Cambodia, a child was denied an adoption visa, because it was alleged that the child had been living with two parents, including the biological father. In fact, because of shoddy investigation, it turned out that the child had actually been living with his biological mother and another woman, whose name simply rhymed with the name of the biological father; this other woman was most definitely NOT the biological father of the child!

The people adjudicating orphan petitions must be able to do an investigation fully and fairly AND with sensitivity to the local culture. In many cultures, it is shameful if a woman becomes pregnant outside of marriage, for example. If an investigator goes blundering around her village, asking about her relinquishment of a child, it could bring stigma not only to her, but also to her whole family.

In terms of the processing of non-adoption visas, I believe that with a combination of American technology and the American work ethic, we COULD speed up the processing of visas, without any sacrifice in the accuracy of visa processing. There is no reason why some families need to wait six months for a 171-H, for example.

All in all, I have given a lot of thought to the issue of adopting and immigrating foreign born children., as well as to the issue of immigrating foreign born people of all sorts. I am actually FOR expanded immigration and a process that speeds immigration applications, as long as these things are done in the context of more rational immigration laws, better enforcement, speedier prosecution of illegal immigrants and people who overstay their visas, a better system for integrating immigrants into our country's culture, and so on.

With regard to non-adoption immigration issues, I would like to see ALL immigration occur in the context of services to help people integrate into American society. While I have no doubt that it would be expensive, I believe, for example, that there should be MANDATORY, FREE language and culture classes for all adult immigrants under age 65 or 70 -- on the model of the Israeli "ulpan" system.

To make sense and reduce costs, the requirements should be based on the immigrant's circumstances. A person from an English speaking country, with at least a high school education, should have to take only courses specifically related to U.S. laws and customs, for a brief period of time.

A person who is illiterate in his/her own language, or who comes from a culture that does not have a written language, might have to enroll in up to 4-years of part-time courses focused not only on spoken English, literacy, and basic education, but also on fundamentals like using a bank, applying for a job, obtaining the right to drive, getting a Social Security card that allows him/her to work, choosing from the unfamiliar foods in the market, using laundry machines, and so on.

I believe that, if we truly made a commitment to helping each and every legal immigrant integrate into U.S. society, the benefits would be enormous in terms of an increased standard of living, increased work productivity, reduced crime, improved relations among the cultural groups, etc.

If we really put forth efforts to help legal immigrants assimilate into American society, I believe that we would recognize that we have increased ability to absorb immigrants, and could raise current quotas. And if we really put forth efforts to help legal immigrants assimilate into American society, I believe that more foreign-born people would choose to try to immigrate legally, rather than to come to the U.S. illegally.

I am grateful to foreign born people who come to the U.S. on various non-immigrant visas, in order to do the jobs that Americans won't do, or to bring skills that are in short supply in the U.S. I have the greatest respect for the foreign workers who pick our crops, tend to the needs of frail elderly people, provide medical and nursing care in underserved areas, strengthen our computer industry, and so on.

I know that some of those people would like to come to the U.S. permanently. And perhaps, if we could reform our immigration system, it would be possible. Still, while these people are guest workers, I do believe that they need to understand that they cannot have all of the privileges of citizens, or even of permanent residents.

Dear Sharon,

As you say yourself given a lot of thought to the adoption/immigration process and I read your post several times as it contained a wealth of ideas/thoughts.

In summary, all that you wrote makes sense to me and you have brought up very good points. I am all hope that adoption and immigration will move along this path.

First of all, I agree with your comment that a review is needed on the current law not to extend automatic citizenship to children who had reached the age of 18 by February, 2001. Every now and then you hear about cases where these children find out that they are out of statusӔ and supposed to leave the United States. Makes no sense to me at all, how is this even possible! I am generally negatively surprised on all you wrote in your point #3 on the process of automatic citizenship, especially when I read USCIS is still having some difficulty with this lawӔ. It is hard to believe that the situation is as it is and I find it unacceptable.

The orphan definitionӔ is another point you brought up. I agree with you and I think that the current situation is an overkill. I understand and support the need to prevent scam adoptions and, as you say as well, the solution to this problem is a careful review of I-600 applications and a case-by-case consideration as needed.

About children adopted by American citizens living overseas having to travel to the U.S. to get their citizenship agree. It beats me why an American embassy cannot do the process of granting the citizenship. Another issue in the current immigration system that I find non-sensical. I cannot even come up with a possible rational reason behind it.

To allow internationally adopted children to become president makes perfect sense to me, too. Where you are born is something over which you have no control. It֒s a random draw in the lottery, you get what you get. But if you grow up in the United States and are loyal to the United States indeed, why shouldn֒t you become president?

Since I am especially familiar with permanent residency, I do think that the current legal barriers to immigration of a child adopted by LPRs (legal permanent residents) should be lifted. Personally, I would not mind if international adoptions by LPRs were more restricted than adoptions by U.S. citizens but to prohibit it altogether is an overkill (yet another one). While it DOES make sense that other non-citizens should not be allowed to adopt internationally, in the case LPRs I fail to see the prohibitive reason. International adoption by LPRs is and will not be a root cause of Americas immigration woes!

I do not think that the risk for fraudulent adoption is higher than with U.S. citizens. I think of us permanent residents as ғde facto U.S. citizens who cannot vote. (What are we not U.S. citizens, then? Possible reasons include: Because we are in the process of waiting to be naturalized, because we have to give up or native citizenship if we get naturalized etc). In any case, I agree 100% that a proper process to prevent fraudulent adoptions has to be in place and again, careful reviews of I-600s is the answer to ensure that fraudulent adoptions do not occur.

You have mentioned adoption by American Muslims and the ShariԒa laws. Having lived most of my life in Israel which is a state tied to religious laws, I am aware of how non-negotiable such laws can be on one hand but I have also seen also how conflicts between religion and a modern state have been resolved by compromises and good will. Your proposed solution to allow an exemption to the current visa requirements for a child from an Islamic country being adopted by Orthodox Muslim U.S. citizens falls into the category of good will and it makes sense to me because it addresses the humanitarian aspect.

About non-adoption immigration: I would like to see immigration REFORMED and ENFORCED. In my eyes, the root cause of America֒s immigration problem is an immigration reality which is punitive towards those the laws and lets those get away who dont.

To my sadness, I have experienced that Americans does not seem to distinguish between ғlegal and ԓillegal, leave alone the general lack of knowledge what an immigration process is and what each status means. I remember clearly an incident where I referred to myself as an ԓimmigrant and the person that I spoke with reacted as if I had suddenly become leprous, LOL ԅ

In Israel, we have an immigration absorption system in place (the Ulpan which are language classes, job training, cultural education etc.) that has proven itself and has been in place for many years. However, as you mention, that comes at a financial cost and I do not know how easy it would be to convince the public to implement such a system in the United States.

I agree that there should be efforts to help legal immigrants (its sad that we have to say ғlegal immigrants as the word ԓimmigrant should imply ԓlegal by default!) assimilate into American society and I am convinced that reformed immigration policies that are properly enforced will result in less illegal immigration.
I'm an Indian citizen working in US on H1 visa. Me and my wife want to adopt a child from India and recently started the process. While trying to research on the process, I came across this blog thread and realized that it may not be possible to adopt a child from India. I'm not a permanent resident of US and do not intend to apply for permanent residency. I want to work here for 3-4 years to pay off the loans that I took for completing my Masters in US, and then I want to head back home (India). So, it makes sense for me to adopt a child from India rather than going for a domestic adoption.

Can someone help me understand whether I can adopt a child from India and then bring him/her here on a dependent visa (H4) just like any person on H1 can do for their biological child? I understand that US government might have issues in allowing me to bring a child on IR3 or IR4 visa while I am on H1 visa. But why can't my adopted child come on H4 visa? It would be possible if I had a biological child.

Is it impossible for me to adopt a child from India and bring him/her on H4?

Dear Rajmoon,

you ask a very good question: Why can't you, as an H1B visa holder, bring an adopted child here on a dependent visa (H4) just like your biological child???

And I will add to that my own question: Why can't I, as agreen card holder, bring an adopted child here on a dependent visa (H4) or on a permanent residence visa (green card)???

The United States has signed the Hague Agreements in which it says that the United States will not discriminate between adopted and biological children. So how can it be that U.S. immigration refuses to issue dependent visas for adopted children but will do so for biological children?
Isn't this in contradiction to the Hague Agreements?

Since I thought it clearly was and since I thought that this distortion is not tolerable, I decided to first look at immigration laws in Switzerland. I am Swiss citizen and Switzerland has also signed the Hague agreements and in general, the two countries have a similar legislative system. I called up the Swiss embassy in Atlanta and inquired how Switzerland deals with immigration of adopted children by non-citizens.

As I expected, Switzerland does not discriminate between biological and adopted children and non-citizen residents can get a dependent visa for the adopted child provided that the adopted child has another foreign citizenship. When I told the Swiss official about the situation in the United States, he was quite amazed since it is so obviously in violation with the Hague agreements.

Then , I called up USCIS and asked them why U.S. immigration discriminates when they issue dependent visas.

The official who answered my call was very nice. In the beginning, he tried to feed me some scripted cliches like "what do you think? The whole world wants to immigrate to the United States!! A survey has shown that 50% of all the Chinese want to live in the United States!".

After he realized that I won't be satisfied with such scripted statements (of which I don't believe a word, by the way!), he started to help me analyze the situation. After he heard me out patiently, he said that indeed I do have a valid case here and gave me some resources that I can turn to try to change the current laws.

As for myself, I was forced into domestic adoption because of U.S. immgration and right now, I have started a domestic process again - being forced by U.S. immigration laws, not because this is what I really want.

What I really wanted what to adopt an orphan for humanitarian reasons. Domestic adoption has some humanitarian aspect, too, but my heart is with international adoption.

For people like yourself, domestic adoption which is based on the concept of American pregnant women choosing you, is de facto out of question and that for two reasons:
1. You want to return to Indian. Most birthmothers won't like that and will not select you.
2. Most birthmothers choose Christian adoptive parents. As a Jew, I got barely selected. I can only imagine how little the chances are that a Hindu would get chosen.

Although I will not benefit form a change in policies myself, I decided that I will not let go. We have a saying in Jewish culture: "The one who saves one soul is saving a whole world". The thought that by correcting the immigration laws lives of orphaned children will be profoundly improved is so important to me that I will do all it takes to make it happen. So in practice it means that my next steps are local congressman and some more institutions that the USCIS official referred me to.

As for yourself, the only choice that you have is to wait until you are back in India. I PM-ed you some more on that.
I don't think that something will change while you are in the United States.

The more I look into the topic, the more it is my impression that the current laws result from a lack of understanding on what adoption is and what immigration is and how the two are related to each other. This lack of understanding is not only prevalent in the American public who is largely ignorant on how (legal!) immigration works but it percolates up to USCIS itself! The good news is that I expect a change to happen but it will take a long time. The bad news is that you and I will probably not benefit from it.

I adopted domestically
I was on a H1B visa and had applied for a Green card. After facing these awfull roadblock and yes discrimination against the child i would adopt i adopted a Hispanic baby in the U.S.
We wanted our baby to blend if we ever returned to India and look like us too. I think it was our destiny to face these road blocks/ karma as we had to be parents to our beautifull baby who is of Hispanic origin.:love:

People, those who know and other who don't know of the adoption think she looks just like us. Same complexion, hair colour, eyes and even a few features like my grand mother in-law.:love:
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