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This blog is a place for information, answers and support for families who are considering international adoption, waiting or are home with their children. My name is Kimberley and I am the coordinator of this site. This blog is truly a network of families who are willing to support others along their journey to their child. The blogs listed on my sidebar are arranged by country and these families have volunteered to act as a resource to anyone who needs one. These are amazing people who are dedicated to helping families who are on the journey to their children in another country. If you are looking for someone to talk with or if you have a blog and would like to be available to help others, please feel free to e-mail me at timnkim@gmail.com.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

US Department of State Regarding Adoption from India

INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION


INDIA


April 2008


DISCLAIMER
: The following is intended as a general guide to assist U.S. citizens who plan to adopt a child from a foreign country. Three sets of laws are particularly relevant: 1) the laws of the child’s country of birth govern all activity in that country including the eligibility of individual children for adoption, as well as the adoption of children in that country in general; 2) the laws of the adoptive parents’ state of residence establish qualifications they must meet in order to adopt; and 3) U.S. immigration law governs the immigration of the child to the United States. In addition, the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, to which the United States became a party on April 1, 2008, establishes legal and regulatory requirements for intercountry adoption.

The adoption of children from countries that are party to the Hague Convention must follow the procedures outlined by the Convention, and its U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA). More information on the IAA and the Convention can be found at travel.state.gov on the Children and Family pages on intercounry adoption.

The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and our current understanding. It does not necessarily reflect the actual state of the laws of a child’s country of birth and is provided for general information only. Moreover, U.S. immigration law, including regulations and interpretation, changes from time to time. This flyer reflects our current understanding of the law as of this date and is not legally authoritative. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.


THE HAGUE CONVENTION ON INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION:

India is a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Convention) and with which the Convention is in force for the United States .


TRANSITION CASES:
Under U.S. law, an adoption case involving a Convention country already in process on April 1, 2008 when the Convention entered into force with respect to the U.S. did not/not change into a Hague case on that date. These transition cases will continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for orphan adoptions which were in effect at the time the case was filed, explained in the State Department Flyer “How Can Adopted Children Come to the United States ”.

If the Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition (I-600A) or Petition to Classify an Orphan as an Immediate Relative (I-600) was filed before April 1, 2008, then the Convention and the IAA will not apply to that case. The Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) considers a case properly filed when USCIS receives an application or petition along with any required filing fee. The filing date is stamped on the application or petition to show the time and date of actual receipt. For further information on transition cases, please see the FAQs: Transition Cases and the Hague Adoption Convention .


PLEASE NOTE:
Under Indian law, foreign prospective adoptive parents considering adoption of a child from India are required to use an adoption agency that is “enlisted” with the Indian Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA). Further details on enlisted agencies may be found on the CARA web site at http://www.adoptionindia.nic.in/carahome.html

It is important to note that Indian law does not permit foreigners to adopt Indian children, but rather to receive guardianship (custody) that allows the prospective adoptive parents to depart India and to adopt the child in the parents home country.


IMMIGRATION OF INDIAN ORPHANS TO THE U.S. :
Recent U.S. immigrant visa statistics reflect the following pattern for issuance of immigrant visas to Indian orphans:

Fiscal Year

Number of Immigrant Visas Issued

FY 2007

416

FY 2006

320

FY 2005

324

FY 2004

406

FY 2003

472





ADOPTION AUTHORITY IN INDIA : The official national agency that oversees the intercountry adoptions in India is the Central Adoption Resource Agency. Its contact information is:

Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA)
Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
West Block VIII, Wing II
2nd Floor, R.K. Puram
New Delhi - 110 066
Tel: 91-011 618-0194
Fax: 91-011 618-0198
Web site: www.adoptionindia.nic.in
E-Mail: CARA@bol.net.in


ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR PROSPECTIVE GUARDIANS:
Couples with a composite age of 90 or less, or single persons up to age 45 can adopt; parents should be at least 21 years older than the child; in no case can a prospective adoptive parent be less than 30 or more than 55. Please refer them to the CARA website for specific details.


RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS:
There are no residency requirements in order to obtain legal custody of an Indian orphan.


TIME FRAME:
Once prospective adoptive parents have received approval from the U.S. Department of Homeland
Security to adopt abroad (approval of their I-600A petition) and arrive in India, they should anticipate needing 2-3 months to complete all formalities in India, barring any unforeseen delays


ADOPTION AGENCIES AND ATTORNEYS:
Because India is a Convention country, adoption services must be provided by an accredited agency, temporarily accredited agency, approved person, supervised provider, or exempted provider. These terms are defined in 22 CFR Part 96 and explained in the Department’s website Brochure for Prospective Adoptive Parent(s) at http://travel.state.gov/pdf/Prospective_Adoptive_Parents_Guide.pdf. For purposes of this document, accredited agencies, temporarily accredited agencies, and approved persons are referred to with the shorthand term “accredited adoption service providers.”

It is essential that prospective adoptive parent(s) seeking to adopt from a Convention country use an accredited adoption service provider. The Department maintains a current list of accredited adoption service providers . The list of accredited adoption service providers is also provided on the website of the Hague Permanent Bureau at www.hcch.net.

In addition, all recognized adoption agencies (or, as they are referred to in India, placement agencies) in India are local and must be registered with their Indian state Voluntary Coordinating Agency (VCA). No placement agencies provide national coverage, so prospective adoptive parents must determine the Indian state from which they propose to adopt. The Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA), established in 1990, licenses all the VCAs and all Indian placement agencies. CARA also, to some extent, regulates the agencies and enforces laws pertaining to adoption. CARA also serves as India ’s Central Authority under the 1993 Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention.

Foreign agencies that wish to sponsor applications of prospective parents to adopt an Indian child must apply for “enlistment” with CARA through the Indian embassy in their country. The CARA web site lists U.S. adoption service providers (agencies) approved by CARA. Prospective parents must work through one of these agencies in order to adopt in India . These agencies then work with a local placement agency to complete the custody process in India on behalf of the prospective parents. Only an Indian agency recognized and listed by the Indian Government may make children available for adoption by foreigners.

To find the current list of authorized Indian and U.S. agencies, prospective adoptive parents should visit CARA's web site at: http://www.adoptionindia.nic.in/carahome.html and go to "Indian Placement Agencies” and “Enlisted Foreign Agencies." The Indian Placement Agencies page lists authorized Indian agencies and, among other things, provides the status of the agency's license. The Indian placement agency usually files the paperwork with the court, minimizing the need for a private attorney. However, links to attorneys lists maintained by the U.S. Embassy and three consulates in India are provided below.

New Delhi - http://newdelhi.usembassy.gov/judicial_assistance.html
Chennai - http://chennai.usconsulate.gov/uploads/images/ia8t6wtgvUD1ip1tJSW4jg/wwwflawyer.pdf
Mumbai -
http://mumbai.usconsulate.gov/judicial_assistance.html
Calcutta -
http://calcutta.usconsulate.gov/list_of_attorneys.html


ADOPTION FEES IN INDIA:
The fee in India for obtaining legal guardianship of an Indian child under this procedure is approximately U.S. $3,500, not including any U.S.-based expenses (such as the home study, application or petition filing costs, etc.). Prospective adoptive parents can expect to pay a total of between U.S. $12,000 to $15,000 for adoption services. The U.S. Embassy in India 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 India at risk.


ADOPTION AND GUARDIANSHIP PROCEDURES: All persons or organizations contemplating guardianship/adoption of an Indian child should visit the CARA web site and also review the recently revised “Guidelines for Adoption from India 2006” released by CARA in March 2006, updating the 1995 guidelines.

Indian law only allows Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists to complete full adoptions of Indian children. However, Under the Guardian and Wards Act of 1890, foreigners may petition an Indian District Court (or Family Court in larger urban areas) for legal custody (guardianship) of a child for the purpose of taking the child abroad to conclude a full and final adoption. Please Note: The recently enacted Juvenile Justice Act does not appear to have an effect on the intercountry adoption process in India . The U.S. Embassy will continue to monitor the implementation of this legislation, however, and modify this flyer as the situation warrants.

India makes an effort to place all abandoned or relinquished children with an Indian family in India first. If that is not possible, then they prefer that an Indian family abroad be found. Finally, if no Indian family can be found, then the child can be placed with a non-NRI family. Typically NRI couples adopting from India will find the process goes much more quickly and smoothly than for a non-NRI couple. And there may be more options for the NRI couple as well. An NRI couple may adopt a young healthy infant, whereas a non-NRI couple may find it difficult to locate an agency with such a program.

A "No Objection Certificate" (NOC) must be issued for every child processed for an intercountry adoption and only CARA is authorized to do this. The court will normally require, at a minimum the NOC, a birth certificate or affidavit of birth, and evidence of abandonment, prior to granting the custody order. Once the court has granted the order, an Indian passport must also be obtained in order for the child to leave India .

Important Note Concerning Indian Passports: Licenses held by Indian adoption agencies are generally valid for three years, and are renewable provided the agency is reviewed and approved for renewal. Not infrequently, the license renewal process can extend beyond the expiration of the license, leaving the agency temporarily without a license. Because of fraud concerns, regional passport offices (RPOs) in some parts of India, particularly southern India , will not issue passports to children in cases where an agency's license is in the process of being renewed or if it has been suspended or lapsed. Each RPO is free to make its own determination on issuance policy, and if the RPO determines not to issue a passport to the child, neither CARA nor the U.S. Embassy/Consulate nor the Central Passport Office can intervene to alter that determination, no matter how much of the adoption process may have been completed when the license lapsed.


DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR ADOPTION/GUARDIANSHIP IN INDIA : All prospective adoptive parents must provide the following documents to the Indian District Court when applying for guardianship of an Indian child:

  1. Approved I-600A;
  2. Birth certificate for the child;
  3. Abandonment certificate for the child from an approved adoption agency;
  4. No Objection Certificate from CARA;
  5. Child’s Indian Passport.

The abandonment certificate can also serve as birth certificate if no formal birth certificate has been filed for the child. The above documents are obtained during the course of the adoption process in India , but must all be ready by the time of the court hearing on guardianship. Once the court has granted guardianship, all the above documents, plus the court order will need to presented to the USCIS office in New Delhi at the time of filing the I-600 petition.


AUTHENTICATING U.S. DOCUMENTS TO BE USED ABROAD:
For more information on authenticating U.S. documents to be used abroad, please see the Judicial Assistance section of our website.


INDIAN EMBASSY AND CONSULATES IN THE UNITED STATES:


Embassy of India
2107 Massachusetts Ave, N.W.
Washington, D.C.
20008
Phone: (202) 939-7000
Fax: (202) 265-4351
Web site: http://www.indianembassy.org/newsite/embassy.asp

India also has consulates in Chicago, Houston, New York and San Francisco .


U.S.
IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS: As of April 1, 2008, U.S. citizens wishing to adopt in a Convention country must begin the process by filing with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) a form I-800A Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country. Prospective adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of Homeland Security, USCIS website (www.uscis.gov) to download forms and filing instructions.


U.S.
EMBASSY AND CONSULATES GENERAL IN INDIA : Americans living or traveling abroad are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate via the State Department’s travel registration website, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within the country of travel. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The Consular Sections of the Embassy and Consulates General are located at:

U.S. Embassy, New Delhi
Shantipath, Chanakyapuri
New Delhi - 110021
Tel: 011-2419-8000
Fax: +91-11-2419-0017
Email: IVND@state.gov
Website: http://newdelhi.usembassy.gov/

U.S. Consulate General, Kolkata
5/1, Ho Chi Minh Sarani
Calcutta- 700071
Tel: 033-3984-2400
Fax: +91-33-2282-2335
Email: pascal@state.gov
Website: http://calcutta.usconsulate.gov

U.S. Consulate General, Chennai
No. 220, Anna Salai
Chennai - 600006
Tel: 044-2811-2000
Email: chennaic@state.gov
Website: http://chennai.usconsulate.gov

U.S. Consulate General, Mumbai
Lincoln House
78, Bhulabhai Desai Road
Mumbai - 400026
Tel: 022-2363-3611
Email: webmastermumbai@state.gov
Website: http://mumbai.usconsulate.gov

APPLYING FOR A VISA AT THE U.S. EMBASSY AND CONSULATES GENERAL IN INDIA : Procedures for applying for an immigrant visa are similar among the four U.S consular posts in India , but there are variations at each, so prospective adopting parents should contact the specific post for exact details on scheduling an appointment, etc.

NOTE: Due to workload constraints and other factors, it is rarely possible to issue a visa on the same day as the interview. Parents should plan on 1-2 days for processing and issuing the visa.


ACQUIRING U.S. CITIZENSHIP:
Please see the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 for further information on acquisition of U.S. citizenship for adopted children.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

  • U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Citizens Services - For information on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction, and security information for U.S. citizens traveling abroad, call Toll Free 1-888-407-4747. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST/EDT, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-202-501-4444.
  • U.S. Department of State Visa Office - For information on immigrant visas for adopted orphans, call (202) 663-1225. Press 1 for additional information on visas, and press 0 to speak to a Visa Information Officer, available 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST/EDT, Monday through Friday (except Wednesdays 11 a.m. - 12:00 noon)
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) - recorded information for requesting immigrant visa application forms, 1-800-870-FORM (3676).
  • National Visa Center (NVC) Public Inquiries (603) 334-0700, Email: nvcinquiry@state.gov.
  • Country Specific Information - The State Department has general information about hiring a foreign attorney and authenticating documents that may supplement the country-specific information provided in this flyer. In addition, the State Department publishes Country Specific Information for every country in the world, providing information such as location of the U.S. Embassy, health conditions, political situations, and crime reports. If the situation in a country poses a specific threat to the safety and security of American citizens that is not addressed in the CSI for that country, the State Department may issue a Travel Alert alerting U.S. citizens to local security situations. If conditions in a country are sufficiently serious, the State Department may issue a Travel Warning recommending that U.S. citizens avoid traveling to that country. These documents are available on the Internet at travel.state.gov or by calling the State Department's Office of Overseas Citizen Services Toll Free at 1-888-407-4747. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours.
  • USCIS web site

3 comments:

Steffie B. said...

I'm praying to bring a daughter home form here.....sending my HS to an agency today which will then be sent to several orphanages in India....

Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

This was actually the first country I looked at before China... but I just guess we weren't meant to go here...

jerry said...

This is a great post. I just had one of the ‘Doh!’ moments and ran back to correct my own site before publishing my comment. You see my own comment form did not match what I’m about to advice. I get less comment than you, so never noticed any problem. I’ve changed it now anyway so here goes.

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