Lebanon and the Hague Convention
Lebanon is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore, when the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008, intercountry adoption processing for Lebanon did not change.
There is no civil procedure for adoption. The Government of Lebanon recognizes 19 religious confessions, each with its own court structure and laws. Because adoption is a religious procedure in Lebanon, it is supervised by authorized religious authorities and must be approved by the relevant religious court.
Islamic Shari'a law does not allow for full adoptions as generally understood in the United States. However, immigrant visas can be issued in cases where the Islamic court that grants the guardianship of an orphan and where that court understands that the parents intend to obtain a full and final adoption of the child once that child is in the United States and expressly signals that agreement. For more information on this issue please refer to the Department of State's FAQ on "Adoption of Children from Countries in which Islamic Shari'a law is observed."
In Lebanon, only Christian institutions recognize adoptions as a legal convention and define the conditions, rights, and duties thereof. For the Catholic religious community, the relevant authorities are those of the rite of the minor child; while for the Orthodox religious communities, the forum is the court of the church of the prospective adoptive parent(s). If a child is a foundling, the child assumes the religious affiliation of the orphanage that takes accepts him/her.
NOTE: The Lebanese Sûreté Général requires that both U.S. adoptive parents travel to Lebanon to complete the adoption procedures and accompany the child out of Lebanon. The U.S. Embassy in Beirut will be unable to obtain exceptions to this legal requirement. Parents adopting a child from Lebanon must apply for the child's U.S. immigrant visa from the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.
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