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China To Impose Tighter Restrictions For Adoptions By Americans And Other Foreigners

China, the number one source of international adoptions by Americans says it will tighten its rules on foreign adoptions. People who are single, older than 50, obese, or fail to meet certain physical, psychological, or emotional benchmarks will not be allowed to adopt Chinese babies.

The new rules are a result of the increase in adoptions by foreign-born parents-the number of applicants are far larger than the amount of available babies. In the fiscal year of 2006, the U.S. State Department granted 6,493 visas to Chinese orphans adopted by American parents. The new regulations, to be officially announced by the Chinese Center of Adoption Affairs, will take effect on May 1, 2007.

According to U.S. adoption agencies, the guidelines are intended to have Chinese babies adopted by families that they believe possess the qualities and values essential to making sure that the babies are raised in stable, healthy environments. Adoption agencies are having to turn down applications who don’t fit the criteria.

Criteria for applicants include:

· A body-mass index of less than 40.
· No criminal record.
· A high school diploma.
· Being free of certain health problems.
· Being married for at least two years.
· Having no more than two divorces between a couple; a couple with a divorce in their history must be married for at least five years.
· A combined net worth of at least $80,000.

Since 1991, American have adopted over 55,000 Chinese babies.

The Foreign Adoption Process (The U.S. State Department):
Although adoption procedures vary from country to country, most countries require that prior to any court action, a child placed for adoption be legally recognized as an orphan or, in the case where a parent is living, be legally and irrevocably released for adoption in a manner provided for under local foreign law. In addition, the adoption laws in most countries require the full adoption of the child in the foreign court after the child has been declared an orphan or released by the living parent to an appropriate foreign authority.

Some countries do allow simple adoption, which means that the adopting parent(s) can be granted guardianship of the child by the foreign court. This will permit the child to leave the foreign country to be adopted in the country of the adopting parent(s). A few countries do allow adoptive parents to adopt through a third party without actually traveling to that country.

It is important to note that a foreign country’s determination that the child is an orphan does not guarantee that the child will be considered an orphan under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, since the foreign country may use different standards. Questions, which involve interpretation of specific foreign laws, should be addressed to a foreign attorney operating in the country where the adoption will take place.

Some countries accept the properly authenticated home study of the prospective adoptive parent(s) at face value, while other countries also require a personal appearance by the adoptive parent(s) before the foreign court. Sometimes, countries require a period of residence by one or both adoptive parents. In these cases, prospective adoptive parents may find it necessary to spend an extended period in the foreign country awaiting the completion of the foreign adoption documents. Additionally, several countries require a post-adoption follow-up conducted by the adoption agency or the foreign country’s consul in the United States.

Validity of Foreign Adoptions in the United States
In most cases, the formal adoption of a child in a foreign court is legally acceptable in the United States. A U.S. state court, however, is not required to automatically recognize a foreign adoption decree. This does not suggest that the United States does not respect foreign procedures or recognize the authority of the foreign country in relation to the child.

Nonetheless, the status of the involved child may be subject to challenge in state court unless an adoption decree is entered in a state in the United States. Many adoption practitioners recommend that the child adopted abroad be re-adopted in a court of his/her state of residence in the United States as a precautionary measure. Following a re-adoption in the state court, parents can request that a state birth certificate be issued. This should be recognized in all other U.S. states.

In some instances, re-adoption of the child in the United States is required. This often occurs if the adoptive parent (or only one of a married couple) did not see the child prior to or during the adoption proceedings abroad. The child must be re-adopted in the U.S. in such circumstances, even if a full final adoption decree has been issued in the foreign country.

If you live in Northern California and you would like to adopt a child from abroad and you need the help of a family law attorney, contact Sagaria Law, P.C. today. We help clients in Santa Clara County, Monterey County, Alameda County, and the surrounding areas to adopt children in the United States and from abroad. Contact Sagaria Law, P.C. to schedule a free consultation.

China Tightens Adoption Rules for Foreigners, The New York Times, December 20, 2006
International Adoptions, U.S. Department of State

Related Web Resource:

International Adoption Facts, Adoption Institute

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