How to Adopt from Bahamas, The
The Department of Social Services in the Ministry of Social Services and Community Development is the adoption authority in The Bahamas.
The process for adopting a child from The Bahamas generally includes the following steps:
- Choose an Adoption Service Provider
- Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
- Be Matched with a Child
- Adopt the Child in The Bahamas
- Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
- Bring Your Child Home
1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
The first step in adopting a child from The Bahamas is usually to select a licensed agency in the United States that can help with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. Learn more about choosing the right adoption service provider.
2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
To bring an adopted child from The Bahamas to the United States, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-600A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.
In addition to meeting the U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, you need to meet the requirements of The Bahamas as described in the Who Can Adopt section.
3.Be Matched with a Child
If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in The Bahamas will provide you with a referral to a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of a particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.
The child must be eligible to be adopted according to The Bahamas requirements, as described in the Who Can be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law. Learn more.
4. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in The Bahamas
The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in The Bahamas generally includes the following:
- ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: The Department of Social Services acts as the representative of the child's interests and a lawyer is required to guide the process through the Supreme Court.
- TIME FRAME: The Bahamian adoption process typically takes a minimum of three months to complete, though can take longer.
- ADOPTION FEES: The U.S. Embassy in The Bahamas discourages the payment of any fees that are not properly receipted, "donations," or "expediting" fees, that may be requested from prospective adoptive parents. Such fees have the appearance of "buying" a baby and put all future adoptions in The Bahamas in jeopardy. The Bahamian government does not charge fees for adoptions. Attorneys will charge fees ranging from $1,500 to $2,000 which covers the work involved and the filing fees. The prospective adoptive parent (s) will also have to pay the costs of the guardian ad litem.
- DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: Prospective adoptive parents must provide the following list of documents, through a Bahamian attorney, to the Supreme Court:
- 1. Originating Summons
- 2. Notice of Hearing of the Originating Summons
- 3. Consent to Act as the Guardian Ad Litem
- 4. Consent of the birth mother and/or father or legal Guardian
- 5. Child's Birth Certificate
- 6. Affidavit of Applicants -the truth of the Statement in Support of the Application
- 7. Annex to Statement in Support of Application
- 8. Statement in Support of Application -- exhibits - birth certificate of applicant(s) Marriage certificate of the prospective adoptive parent(s)
- 9. First 5 pages of passport applicant(s)
- 10. Undertaking to pay costs of the Guardian Ad Litem
- 11. Appearance Report that is prepared by the Guardian Ad Litem
- 12. Letter of listing officer with Notice of Hearing for an Adoption Summons to go before the Judge on the AdoptionThe documents number 1 - 8 are filed and within fourteen (14) days of the date of the Originating Summons.
NOTE: Additional documents may be requested.
5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in The Bahamas, the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) MUST determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted (Form I-600). Learn how.
6. Bring Your Child Home Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for several documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:
- 1. Birth Certificate
You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.
- 2. The Bahamas Passport
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from The Bahamas
- 3. U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy for your child. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S. Embassy for final review and approval of the child's I-600 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the Panel Physician's medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Learn more.
NOTE: Visa issuance after the final interview now generally takes at least 24 hours and it will not normally be possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the day of the interview. Adoptive parents should verify current processing times at the appropriate consulate or embassy before making final travel arrangements.
Child Citizenship Act
For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents.
For adoptions finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when the court in the United States issues the final adoption decree.
Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.
Learn more about the Child Citizenship Act.
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