VICKIE LYNN COCHRAN attorney at law
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International adoption issues for Arkansas residents

Little Rock couples sometimes look beyond U.S. borders to expand their families. The adoption of children from other countries is significantly more complex and expensive than stateside adoptions. Prospective parents must deal with laws in two countries that are sometimes very different.

Commitment, patience and stamina are needed for every adoption, but an added reserve of these qualities may be required when the child you desire is foreign born. That's why individuals and couples who want to be parents are advised to discuss intercountry adoption goals at length with a family law attorney prior to initiating the process.

Some advice you can expect to receive is how to deal with the seemingly infinite paperwork required for adopting a child from another country. Depending upon foreign laws, some parents go through the adoption process in the country where a child is born. In other circumstances, the adoptee's country grants a guardianship and adoption is formalized upon the parents return to Arkansas.

Whether or not an adoption takes place on foreign soil, parents must apply for an immigrant visa for the child to enter the U.S. The type of visa you require depends upon whether the child was born in a Hague Convention country. U.S. citizens with adoptions or guardianships from Hague Convention countries are directed to apply for IH visas -- IR visas apply to adoptions and guardianships from non-Convention countries.

Foreign adoptions are recognized under Arkansas law, unlike some other states, where parents are required to go through a "readoption" process. Birth certificates may be obtained with a certification of adoption. Adoptive parents also must remember to follow federal immigration guidelines to secure eligibility for a child's U.S. citizenship.

The information here scratches the surface of legal matters for Arkansas residents seeking intercountry adoptions. Adoption providers and family law attorneys provide answers to your specific questions about adopting a child born outside the U.S.

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