Wednesday, January 20, 2010

International Adoption from Haiti

In the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, as many as a million children may have been orphaned. The images of orphaned children in the news has led many Americans to inquire about adopting one (or more) of these children. While many Americans may intend to adopt a child unknown to them, there are also many US citizens and lawful permanent resident with ties to Haiti who wish to adopt the child or children of a relative who may have perished. International adoption can be a viable option for many children, but given the chaotic circumstances in Haiti it is important to be absolutely certain that children are not shipped overseas without proper checks to see if there may be parents or extended family members alive. For this reason, Secretary Napolitano recently announced humanitarian parole, but only for certain Haitian orphans. Humanitarian parole will permit orphaned children from Haiti to enter the US to be united with American adoptive parents. To be eligible for humanitarian parole, children must fall within one of two categories: 1) children who have been legally confirmed as orphans eligible for intercountry adoption by the Government of Haiti and were in the process of being adopted prior to 1/12/2010, or 2) children who have been identified by an adoption service provider or facilitator as eligible for intercountry adoption and were matched with prospective parents prior to 1/12/2010. In either case, specific addition criteria must be met. Because those who enter under humanitarian parole status will need to have their immigration status resolved after arrival, it is important to consult with an immigration attorney knowledgeable in this area. While the eligibility is limited, it should be noted that Secretary Napolitano will continue to evaluate circumstances and provide additional information over the coming weeks.

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