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International Adoption

International adoptions are largely immigration cases, and they are complex. They involve international treaties, immigration law in the sending and the receiving countries, and adoption law in the sending country and the receiving state in the United States.

An American flag painted on the side of a barn

The Law Center has experience with all types of international adoptions, including agency matches, independent matches, relative adoptions, emergency placements after family tragedies, and adoptions of foreign-born children in state courts within the United States.

We guide adoptive parents through the entire international adoption process. We can talk to you about the different countries of origin, reputable international placing agencies, the treaties involved, and what the immigration process will look like for the child. Adopting the child is only one half of this process; the other half is getting the child into the United States and securing lawful status for them, if not U.S. citizenship.

Once the child is home, we can help you complete the final steps: adoption finalization, re-adoption, or registration of the adoption in Wisconsin; and finally, confirmation of U.S. citizenship with USCIS. Completing these steps immediately after the child enters the United States is highly recommended, so there are no problems when the child later applies for a job, driver’s license, U.S. passport, financial aid, or college.

We also handle changes in dates of birth, which is a common legal issue in international adoptions from certain countries of origin. One of our attorneys, Emily Dudak Leiter wrote federal legislation on this topic, making it easier for families to correct dates of birth for their foreign-born children. The legislation was called the Accuracy for Adoptees Act of 2013.

Let our team worry about all the legal forms and papers that need to be filed. We will make sure that your adoption complies with international treaties and high ethical standards, as well as federal and Wisconsin law. Also see our webpage, as international adoptions are largely immigration cases.

We also advise state and county agencies, judges, guardians ad litem, and adoption agencies on how to navigate this complex area of law.

Photos on this page are copyrighted by Todd Klassy Photography, All Rights Reserved, 2020.