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CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 10221
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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I am an adoption social worker, age 56 and hubby and I have

Customer Question

Hello, I am an adoption social worker, age 56 and hubby and I have a 15 year old son. We have gone to an orphanage on Roatan in Honduras for the past 2 years to volunteer. We have fallen in love with a 15 year old (almost 16) teen who we would like to try to bring to this country to be part of our family and to give him a better life. The oprhanage he is in is very small and they are low in funds, and once the kids turn 18, they do not have many opportunities. He is an orphan and his parents abandoned him at the age of 5. He is a wonderful, loving teen who is way behind in school as he did not attend school for a year or two prior to living in the orphanage. He is bilingual though and is in 8th grade on the island. As an adoption social worker, I know how long it takes to adopt from Honduras and I am afraid he would be an adult by the time the adoption was complete. The orphanage director mentioned the possibility of getting him to the U.S. with a student visit and and then adopt him here. My husband, son and I love him and have a good relationship with him. We are close to the orphanage director who is in total support as he says that the education system there will not help him catch up. I would so appreciate your advice.
JA: Because education law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Wow, you sure read that fast! Yes, we are in Ojai, California.
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: No, we haven't. I am obviously trying to keep costs down but just wanted to find out what is possible first.
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: We are law abiding citizens and the teen would receive free college tuition down the road as I am also a professor.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Immigration Lawyer about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Immigration Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 4 months ago.

Dear Customer,
Thank you for using our forum. My name is ***** ***** I hope to assist you today.

I understand you are looking to save money, and are hoping to avoid retaining an attorney, but you are facing two significant hurdles here (and one is very time sensitive).

The first, is that there is a significant difference between adopting a child (less than 16) from overseas, and attempting to adopt someone who is over 16.

The child you are looking to adopt is very close to this threshold, you need an attorney that understands international adoption law to move very quickly through this process (as opposed to attempting to do this yourself while self educating along the way).

The other issue is you are attempting to do this by a non-traditional route. You are proposing getting the child a student visa (which in and of itself is not as easy as the orphanage director is making it out to be), and then plan to adopt the child while they are living in the U.S. Understand that living in the U.S. does not change the adoption procedures, the U.S. State Department still applies the same policies and procedures for children located in the U.S. as they would if they were still living in their native country.

(So the distinction between Hague Convention and Non-Hague Convention countries is still relevant).

I would suggest you find a lawyer who understands international adoption (if you cannot find an attorney local to you, look broader (there are many in the Los Angeles metro area), and find someone who actually specializes in this - you do not need a general practitioner, or someone who handles traditional U.S. adoptions, you need a specialist. I cannot promise that even with the help of a specialist they will be able to complete the adoption for you (I simply don't have all of the facts necessary), so when you meet with them, make sure to have a very blunt discussion with them (both tell the attorney what you would like to have happen, but also make sure that they tell you what they expect to have happen, and what the possible range of outcomes would be given the facts you provided them and the time frame (as I noted the child's age may be significant here).

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