Adoption is an intrinsically noble thing to do, however this has not prevented people from corrupting the process and in effect making it rather difficult to adopt from a foreign country. The Hague Adoption Convention which was drafted and put into effect in the early 1990s with the primary goal of preventing the international exploitation of children. Because, though it is an unpleasant fact, it is a persistent issue where children may be bought and sold for monetary gain in black market adoptions without any consideration for the child’s well-being. In an effort to curtail this particularly despicable trend, countries all around the world enforce strict regulations regarding the migration of adoptees.
People who wish to adopt children from one of the 88 participating countries of The Hague Convention they must adhere to that convention’s regulations. When adopting from outside the coalition created by The Hague Convention adoptive parents must follow the migration laws enforced by that particular country as well as those of the United States. This can be a somewhat arduous and difficult process.
Hague Convention Adoptions
For countries that adhere to The Hague Convention children will be issued one of two different visa varieties. An IH-3 visa is for children whose adoption process was completed in their country of origin; IH-4 visas are for children whose adoptions will be completed in the United States.
Children from countries that do not participate in The Hague’s regulations are granted a different set of visas with certain restrictions added. The IR-3 visa is granted to orphans who were adopted in their country of origin by their United States parents. As a condition of the visa the parents must see the child in his or her home country before they leave for the United States. The IR-4 visa is available for those children whose adoption is to be completed in the United States, are to be adopted by only one parent or if the parents are adopting the child sight-unseen.
Naturalization of Adoptees
The children of United States citizens, regardless of their country of birth, are instantly eligible to be citizens and are easily naturalized. This is also true for adopted children, though it is slightly different with their visas. With an IH-3 or IR-3 visa, adopted children will be able to instantaneously and automatically become United States citizens when they enter the country. The United States government will mail their certificates of citizenship to them once they have moved to America. Adoptees with IH-4 or IR-4 visas, however, are granted permanent resident cards when they enter the United States and will automatically be granted citizenship when their adoption has been finalized.
It is hoped that through these strict regulations the incidence of the exploitation of children is greatly reduced. But these regulations do not solely exist as a preventative to atrocious behaviors. Rather, the United States is very much interested in creating cohesive and healthy family relationships and it is the intent of these regulations to accomplish this.