International Adoption Lawyers Tennessee

Trusted Maryville Attorneys Representing Clients in International Adoptions

Protecting the best interests of children in international adoptions throughout East Tennessee

Whether you are working with an agency to adopt a child from another country or have already adopted a child from another country and need to “re-adopt” the child in the United States, we can help. At the law firm of Shepherd & Long, P.C., our adoption attorneys guide you every step of the way through the process of adopting a child from another country to make your family feel complete.

How does international adoption work?

In international adoption, you travel to another country to adopt a child and bring that child home to live with you permanently as your child. With international adoptions, there is an additional layer of potential complications because you must deal with challenges from government officials in the child’s country of origin, and with the U.S. immigration process.

There are some exceptions to the rules, but here is the gist of how it works:

  1. You select an adoption service provider.
  2. You undergo a home study.
  3. You submit your application and home study to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  4. You either adopt the child in his or her own home country, or are granted guardianship of the child by the home country.
  5. After 6 months living with your child, you attend a court hearing to finalize the adoption process.

What if the mother or father wants the child back?

In most international adoption cases, the parental rights of the birth parents have already been terminated prior to the child’s placement with an adoptive family. Once their rights have been terminated, you can legally adopt the child.

What is the Hague Convention?

The Hague Convention is an international agreement between countries that is designed to protect children adopted across national boundaries with the goal of protecting the best interests of children in intercountry adoptions and to prevent the abduction, exploitation sale or trafficking of children. (Children of all Nations)

The Hague Convention applies to intercountry adoptions, and requires that such adoptions may take place only if the child’s country of origin has declared that the child is adoptable.

What is re-adoption?

If a child’s adoption was in fact finalized in his or her home country, then only a “re-adoption” may be necessary when the child and the adoptive parents return to the U.S. This will allow the adoptive parents to obtain a final decree of adoption from a U.S. court, and will allow the child to obtain a Certificate of Foreign Birth from the Tennessee Office of Vital Records. Depending on the child’s visa status when entering the U.S., re-adoption may not be required, but many parents elect to proceed with a re-adoption to gain the peace of mind of having an adoption decree from a U.S. court.

Am I eligible to adopt a child from another country?

In order to adopt internationally, at least one member of the couple must be an American citizen. Other than that, eligibility can vary depending on the requirements of the child’s country of origin and the requirements of the adoption agency that you are going to be working with. There are some requirements, like age, income, length of marriage and difference of the age between the child and the prospective adoptive couple, that will vary by country and agency.

How long does an international adoption take?

Of course, there is no way to give a definitive answer to this question, but a general estimate is anywhere between 18 months and 3 years.

How much does an international adoption cost?

Fees for international adoptions will vary and it is impossible to give any meaningful estimate because there are so many variables. Your adoption attorney, who will be thoroughly familiar with your case, will give you a better estimate of what if might cost for an international adoption, but the average is about $25,000 to $50,000, depending on the country. It may actually cost you less money to work with an attorney as opposed to just with an agency, so that’s another good reason to give us a call.

When you are considering an international adoption, we advise you to work with an experienced adoption attorney as early in the process as possible. Be sure to work with a lawyer who has handled international adoptions – even better if they have handled adoptions from the child’s country of origin. Ask for references from other parents who have worked with them and ask as many questions as you can think of at the outset.

At Shepherd & Long, P.C., we are here to protect your interests as you seek to adopt a child from another country. We find it incredibly rewarding to help families successfully grow their families through adoption.

Consult with a compassionate Maryville adoption lawyer

There are children all around the world who could benefit from the loving support of a forever family in Tennessee. If you are ready to open your heart and your home to a child through adoption, you are welcome to call and schedule a consultation with an experienced adoption attorney from Shepherd & Long, P.C. at 865-982-8060 or fill out our contact form.