How to Adopt from Jordan
Ministry of Social Development (MSD), Family Directorate
- Choose an adoption service provider
- Apply to be found eligible to adopt
- Be matched with a child
- Obtain guardianship of the child in Jordan
- Apply for the child to be found eligible for orphan status
- Bring your child home
- Adopt your child in the United States
1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
The recommended first step in adopting a child from Jordan is to decide whether or not to use a licensed adoption service provider in the United States that can help you with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. The Department of State provides information on selecting an adoption service provider on its website.
There are no adoption agencies in Jordan. Under Custody and Alternative Families, Jordan does not permit adoptions. In certain cases, the MSD will award guardianship of a child to people who are not the child’s parents. The Embassy maintains a list of attorneys practicing in Jordan, which can be found on the U.S. Embassy’s web site at jordan.usembassy.gov.
2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
In order to obtain legal guardianship of a child from Jordan, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Jordan and U.S. immigration law. You must submit an application to be found eligible for a guardianship with the Jordanian MSD.
There are two types of custody:
- Custody inside Jordan: For Jordanian or permanent resident families in Jordan, an application may be submitted to the Ministry of Social Development branch with jurisdiction in your place of residence, where all the procedures and required documents will be performed and given to the Ministry to make the decision according to the applicability of the conditions.
- Custody outside Jordan: Families living outside Jordan may submit a request to the Jordanian embassy in their country, where all the procedures and required documents will be performed and sent for the decision to be made by the MSD.
To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you may also file an I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition with U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to be found eligible and suitable to adopt.
3. Be Matched with a Child
If you are eligible and a child is available for guardianship with the goal of completing an intercountry adoption, the MSD in Jordan will provide you with a referral. Each family must decide for itself whether it will be able to meet the needs of and provide a permanent home for a particular child. The child must be eligible for guardianship according to Jordan’s requirements, as described in the Who Can Be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law.
- Role of Adoption Authority: MSD is the authority in Jordan for legal guardianship,and its role may be summarized in the following points:
- 1. Receives the legal guardianship application from the prospective guardian family.
- 2. Conducts home study for the family.
- 3. Sends the legal guardianship application and the pertaining documents to the foster department for Ministry approval.
- 4. Puts the family on the waiting list.
- 5. When an appropriate child is available, the MSD will contact the family and give them an official letter to come see the child in the orphanage.
- 6 Sends an official letter to the Juvenile Court to issue an order to grant the family legal guardianship of the child.
- 7. Contacts the Ministry’s directorates in Jordan and the Jordanian embassies and consulates abroad to provide the Ministry with periodical reports on the welfare of the children.
- Role of the Court: After receiving an official letter from MSD’s Family and Children Section stating that the family has been granted legal guardianship, the Juvenile Court issues an order to give custody of the child to the family to take care of as their foster child.
- Role of Adoption Agencies: There are no adoption agencies in Jordan. Families work directly with MSD or through a specialized lawyer.
- Adoption Application: Applications for legal guardianship are available at the Ministry itself or in the Jordanian embassies and consulates abroad. Unfortunately, the application is not yet available online.
- Time Frame: MSD reports that prospective guardianship parents can expect to wait an average of three months from the time they initiate contact with the MSD to when they are given custody of a child.
- Adoption Fees: The MSD does not charge any fees. However, prospective guardian parents can expect to pay fees for the baby’s birth certificate, passport, and Family Book issuance. The “Family Book,” issued by the Jordanian government, contains biographical information about each member of the family. In the case of an abandoned child, the Family Book only contains the child’s fictitious name. The fictitious name is explained below. The fee for obtaining a Jordanian passport for a child (under 16) is 10 JD, for the birth certificate is 1 JD, and for the Jordanian family book is 2 JD. More details about current fees and required documents can be found at the MSD website at cspd.gov.jo. (Please note that this website is currently only in Arabic.)
- Documents Required: The following documents are required:
- 1. Copies of the marriage certificate
- 2. Copies of each prospective guardian’s valid passport
- 3. Social (home) study (forms will be provided through the Jordanian embassy in Washington)
- 4. Employment letters with detailed information about prospective guardian’s income, employment status, etc.
- 5. Original doctor’s reports about the health of both prospective guardians’ must also be provided, including medical proof of their infertility.
If a U. S. citizen is resident in Jordan, then these documents must be translated into Arabic and certified directly by the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ (MFA) Authentication Department, located in Jabal Amman, 3rd Circle, Amman. The current fee for certifying documents is between 1-5 JD. If either or both prospective guardians convert to Islam, a copy of the conversion certificate must be provided. All of these documents must be translated into Arabic and certified by the Jordanian embassy in Washington, which will forward them to the MSD (through the Foreign Ministry).
Once received, an MSD committee reviews the request to foster a child. If all conditions are met, the Minister of Social Development issues his/her approval or denial. Foster parents are notified by mail that they are approved and invited to travel to Jordan to locate a child. Couples who are approved will then be escorted to a government-run orphanage to choose from children whose parents are unknown.
The MSD is the only entity authorized to grant guardianship through the Juvenile Court. According to the precepts of Islam and the laws of Jordan governing the guardianship of infants of unknown parentage, the guardian parents are permitted to choose the first name of the child. The Ministry of Interior’s Department of Civil Status chooses fictitious first and last names for the unknown mother and father, which along with the child's first name, are placed on the Jordanian birth certificate. These “fictitious names,” which are chosen at random and do not identify with any common Jordanian family or tribal names, are required for issuance of a Jordanian birth certificate. The child, per Jordanian law, will carry the names of the fictitious father. Once a birth certificate has been issued, the child is also issued a Jordanian Family Book and a Jordanian passport. At this point, the guardian parents may petition for an immigrant visa for their child at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan.
Regardless of nationality, all couples are required to apply to the MSD to qualify to become guardians. The pre-qualification process is similar to that in most U.S. states. To begin this process, prospective adoptive parents are asked to submit a fostering request to the appropriate authorities, based on the criteria below:
- Custody inside Jordan: For Jordanians or permanent resident families in Jordan, an application may be submitted to the MSD branch with jurisdiction of their place of residence, where all the procedures and required documents will be completed and given to the MSD to make a decision.
- Custody outside Jordan: Families living outside Jordan may submit a request to the Jordanian Embassy in their country, where all the procedures and required documents will be completed and sent to the MSD to make a decision.
This request should include the following information: name, age, profession, and religion of both parents, plus their contact information, including full mailing address. Once the MSD has received and processed the request, it will direct the Jordanian Embassy in Washington (through the Foreign Ministry) to request additional documentation from the prospective foster parents. NOTE: Additional documents may be requested.
- Authentication of Documents: You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic. If so, the Department of State, Authentications Office may be able to assist.
5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Orphan Status
After you gain legal custody in Jordan, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must determine whether the child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law. You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative. Contact Amman’s USCIS Field Office directly at email@example.com.
6. Bring Your Child Home
Once you gain legal custody of the child, you need to apply for several documents for the child before you can apply for a U.S. immigrant visa to bring your child home to the United States to finalize the adoption:
- 1. Birth Certificate
If you have been granted custody for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States, the birth certificate you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name. You must obtain the new Jordanian birth certificate and Family Book from the Civil Status Department, Ministry of Interior.
- 2. Jordanian Passport
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Jordan. Use the birth certificate and Family Book to obtain a Jordanian passport for your child from the Civil Status and Passport Department. The passport is usually issued the same day and costs 10 JD. How to obtain a Passport for your child in Jordan:
Civil Status and Passport Department Ministry of Interior Jabal Amman, First Circle Zahran Street (behind Iraqi Embassy), Amman, Jordan Tel: 962-6-463-6378 (or 463-6370, 463-6379 or 464-4496
Mailing address: Civil Status and Passport Department P.O. Box 3102 Amman, Jordan
- 3. U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child and you have filed Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, you then need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Amman. 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. You can find instructions for applying for an immigrant visa on the U.S. Embassy in Amman’s website, Amman-IV@state.gov.
To learn more about the Child Citizenship Act please read The Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
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