Looking to possibly adopt a baby boy from American Samoa. My first question is; it still possible and if so could you please direct me to a reliable site on the subject matter. Also if anybody knows the approximate costs with adopting a child from Samoa, assuming its even possible this would also be very helpful. Thanks in advance.
I'm also interested in adopting from a country in the Pacific. Were you or anyone else able to adopt from Samoa? Could anyone direct me to an agency that works there? Thank you.
I am currently in the finalization stage of adoption for my 10month old niece who was born in Apia, Samoa. I am a U.S. Citizen now residing in the Territory of American Samoa. My baby is currently with me in American Samoa. After reading all the post previously. I'm quite confused at this point. I was told and i thought that once i contacted a adoption lawyer in apia to do the adoption, and once everything is approved throught the court, etc.... that the adoption is final and my niece would be my daughter. Now i read earlier post that after i go through adoption in Apia, then i would have to do more on the U.S. Side. I have no intenstion of moving back to the States, but the only reason that i might want a Travel Visa for my child is ONLY for medical treatment ONLY! I am for one DO NOT TRUST the Hospital in American Samoa, and so for this i would want my child to be treated off island. What can i do to be able to get a visa for my child or passport for my child to travel only in Medical Emergencies only. PLEASE HELP any suggestions or advise would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, AnxiouSarah
AnxioiuSarah: As you know well, there are two Samoas. American Samoa, where you currently live, is a U.S. territory. However, Samoa, where you adopted your child, is an independent foreign country, and I am assuming that the child you adopted is a citizen of that country, and not of the U.S, since you adopted under Samoan law. Adoption requires, primarily, compliance with the laws of the child's country of citizenship. But getting your child citizenship in your own country of citizenship, and/or getting your child permission to enter the U.S., requires complying with U.S. laws regarding adoption and citizenship. A lot of Americans don't realize that, just because THEY are U.S. citizens, the children they adopt will not necessarily become citizens automatically. As a result, to be able to make your daughter a U.S. citizen, get her a passport to travel to the U.S., and so on, you should have followed the rules that Americans must obey when adopting, and the rules that Americans living overseas must follow in terms of getting citizenship and other benefits for your child. At the present time, you have a child who is yours under Samoan law, but who may or may not have had a full and final adoption under U.S. definitions. Moreover, you have a child who may or may not meet U.S. requirements for citizenship. Your child is NOT a U.S. citizen; she is a Samoan citizen, at this time. As a result, she cannot get a U.S. passport, which is granted only to citizens. She also cannot get a U.S. certificate of citizenship unless you and she meet certain requirements. While she "might" be able to get a tourist visa in her Samoan passport to visit the U.S., your child would be strictly limited in terms of staying there, and the same is true with a medical visa. Moreover, you might have trouble getting a visa for her, since the U.S. does not necessarily recognize her as your daughter. U.S. medical care is expensive, and you would probably have to pay out of pocket for her care, since she is neither a citizen nor a legal permanent resident of the U.S. What you should have done was gone through the I-600A and I-600 process, which would have determined that you were qualified to bring a child into the U.S. as an immediate relative, and that your child met requirements for an adoption visa. Adoption visas have very specific requirements, one of which is that a child must be considered an "eligible orphan" under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act; if you adopted your child directly from a two parent family, she would not qualify. I'm not an expert on adoption by expats, but you probably would have had to go to Aukland, New Zealand to get your child's visa, even if you filed the I-600 in the U.S., since the visa has to be issued by the U.S. Embassy issuing visas for the child's country of citizenship. And at that point, you could have gone to an American state with your child -- most expats in your part of the world go to Hawaii because it's closest and has the most familiarity with citizenship issues for expats -- and obtained her citizenship. Since you did not do any of these things, I'd suggest that you talk to the people at the U.S. Embassy in New Zealand, and/or to a U.S. adoption/immigration lawyer, to see how you should proceed. Most likely, they will tell you that since you didn't go through the normal process, you will not be able to get a visa for your chld to enter the U.S. as your immediate relative until she has been in your care for two years. There is a law called the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 that grants citizenship automatically to internationally adopted children whose parents LIVE IN THE U.S., who have had a "full and final adoption" as defined by the USCIS, and who have met the tests for obtaining an adoption visa. It does not apply in the same way to the children of expats, and to children who have not met the tests for obtaining an adoption visa. There are ways to go about getting your child citizenship, but you will have a harder time doing so. One thing you might do, for simple emotional support, as well as for good advice, is to go onto some websites frequented by internationally adoptive Americans who are expats. They can give you some good advice on lawyers to call, people to contact, etc. Sharon
I am also looking into adoption from Somoa. Did you find any information on agencies or anything for this?Info seems scarce for Somoa...Thanks!Amy
MLJ Adoptions just started adopting with Samoa. They are going to Western Samoa, not American. The agency is out of Indianapolis, Indiana but they can do everything online so if you are out of state is won't be an issue.