How to Adopt from the Federated States of Micronesia
FSM Adoption Authority
There is no central (federal) FSM government office responsible for adoptions. Each state (Yap, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Chuuk) has its own court system in which adoptions take place, and prospective adoptive parents should contact the appropriate court regarding a possible adoption in that jurisdiction.
The process for adopting a child from FSM 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 FSM
- Apply for the child to be found eligible for orphan status
- Bring your child home
1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
The recommended first step in adopting a child from FSM 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.
NOTE: There are no adoption agencies in the FSM; however, the U.S. Embassy in Kolonia has a list of lawyers who have identified themselves as willing to assist U.S. citizen clients. Send an email request to: USEmbassy@Mail.FM
2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
In order to adopt a child from the FSM you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of FSM and U.S. immigration law. You must submit an application to be found eligible to adopt with the FSM.
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 to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the individual state court 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 and provide a permanent home for a particular child.
- Role of the Court: Each state has its own court system and these courts are responsible for making the first and final determinations related to intercountry adoption. Since each court is independent, prospective adoptive parents should contact the appropriate court regarding a possible adoption in that jurisdiction. In Pohnpei, typically both the child and the adopting parents must be present at the court. In Kosrae, Chuuk, and Yap the parents do not necessarily have to be present to complete the adoption at the discretion of the court.
- Adoption Application: The application process may vary depending on the jurisdiction in which the adoption is taking place.
- Time Frame: There are no specific time frames provided by the FSM.
- Adoption Fees: Attorneys' fees vary. The adoptive parents' local attorney can advise on any FSM or local court fees.
- Documents Required: There are no special documentary requirements published for any of the local courts. Certain documents are required, however, including adoptive child's birth certificate and legal status, adoptive parents' marriage certificate, proof of identity, and proof of nationality (passport). The adoptive parents' attorney would address the required documents on a case-by-case basis. 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 finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in the FSM, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must determine whether the child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. law. You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative.
6. Bring Your Child Home
Once your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), you need to apply for several documents for your child before you can apply for a U.S. immigrant visa to bring your child home to the United States:
- 1. Birth Certificate
If you have finalized the adoption in the FSM you will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child. Your name will be added to the new 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.
- 2. FSM Passport
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from the FSM.
- 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 United States Embassy in Manila, the Philippines. 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.
Specific questions about adoption in the Federated States of Micronesia may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Kolonia. Questions about the process of obtaining an immigrant visa for an adopted FSM child should be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Manila, the Philippines.
NOTE: Visa issuance after the final interview now generally takes a minimum of 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 carefully check the list of local Philippine holidays when arranging their travel plans to avoid unanticipated delays.
To learn more about the Child Citizenship Act please read The Child Citizenship Act of 2000.