General Information – Adoption Based Green Card

The Office of Children’s Issues

The Office of Children’s Issues in the Bureau of Consular Affairs provides brochures describing the adoption process in numerous countries.

If you have questions, you can call them at 202-736-9130. You may also fax them at 202-736-9080 or write to them at:

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520-2818

The State Department CAN:

  • Provide information about international adoption in foreign countries
  • Provide general information about U.S. visa requirements for international adoption
  • Make inquiries of the U.S. consular section abroad regarding the status of a specific adoption case and clarify documentation or other requirements
  • Ensure that U.S. citizens are not discriminated against by foreign authorities or courts

The State Department CANNOT:

  • Locate a child or children available for adoption
  • Become directly involved in the adoption process in another country
  • Act as an attorney or represent adoptive parents in court
  • Order that an adoption take place or that a visa be issued

General Adoption Information

The information provided below is designed to provide a sampling of the many organizations involved in adoption. The agencies listed are not placement agencies. The Department of State does not endorse or recommend any particular organization.

National Adoption Organizations and Parent Support Groups

National Adoption Information Clearinghouse (NAIC)
P.O. Box 1182
Washington, DC 20013-1182
Tel: 703-352-3488 / 888-251-0075
Fax: 703-385-3206
E-mail: [email protected]

*This organization was established by Congress to provide the general public with easily accessible information on all aspects of adoption. The NAIC publishes a variety of fact sheets on adoption issues, directories of adoption-related services, and a catalog of audiovisual materials on adoption. The NAIC does not place children for adoption or provide counseling. However, they do make referrals for such services.

Adoptive Families Magazine
P.O. Box 5159
Brentwood, TN 37024
Tel: 212-877-1839

Committee for Single Adoptive Parents, Inc.
P.O. Box 15084
Chevy Chase, MD 20825
Tel: 202-966-6367

International Concerns Committee for Children
911 Cypress Drive
Boulder, CO 80303
Tel: 303-494-8333

Joint Council on International Children’s Services
1320 19th St., NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: 202-429-0400

*North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC)
970 Raymond Avenue, Suite 106
St. Paul, MN 55114
Tel: 651-644-3036
Fax: 651-644-9848

*This organization can provide a list of parent support groups in a specific region of the United States.

National Council for Adoption
225 N. Washington Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Tel: 703-299-6633

Magazines and Books


Adoptive Families (formerly OURS magazine)

Complimentary copy available by calling the above number
ODS News
Open Door Society of Massachusetts

Single Parents With Adopted Kids
4108 Washington Rd. #101
Kenosha, WI 53144


General Information

  • Adamec, Christine and Pierce, William L. The Encyclopedia of Adoption. Facts on File, Inc.: June 1991.
  • Adamec, Christine. There Are Babies To Adopt. Windsor Publishing Corporation: 1991.
  • Alexander-Roberts, Colleen. The Essential Adoption Handbook. Taylor Publishing Co.:1993.
  • Erichsen, Heino and Nelson-Erichsen, Jean. How To Adopt Internationally: A Guide for Agency-Directed & Independent Adoption. Los Ninos International Adoption & Information Center: 1993.
  • Gilman, Lois. The Adoption Resource Book: All the Things You Need to Know & Ought to Know about Creating an Adoptive Family. Harper Collins Publishers, Inc.: 1987.
  • Independent Adoption Manual. Advocate Press: June 1993.
  • Knoll, Jean and Murphy, Mary-Kate. International Adoption: Sensitive Advice for Prospective Parents. Chicago Review Press: 1994.
  • Hicks, Randall B. ADOPTING IN AMERICA: How to Adopt Within One Year (revised 1996-97 edition). WordSlinger Press: 1995.
  • Hicks, Randall B. Adoption Stories for Young Children. WordSlinger Press: 1995.
  • Wirth, Eileen and Worden, Joan. How to Adopt a Child from Another Country. Abingdon Press: 1993.

Adoption of Older Children

  • Jewett, Claudia. Adopting the Older Child. Harvard Common Press: 1978.
  • Kadushin, Alfred. Adopting Older Children. Columbia University Press: 1970.
  • Mansfield, Gianforte and Waldmann. Don’t Touch My Heart – Healing the Pain of an Unattached Child. Pinon Press: 1994.

Children’s Literature

  • Bloom, Suzanne. A Family for Jamie: An Adoption Story. Crown Books for Young Readers: 1991.
  • Krementz, Jill. How It Feels to Be Adopted. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.: 1988.

Cultural and Racial Differences

  • Erichsen, Heino R. and Nelson, Erichsen, Jean. Butterflies in the Wind:
  • Spanish-Indian Children with White Parents. Los Ninos International Adoption & Information Center: 1992.

Single Parent Adoption

  • Marindin, Hope, ed. Handbook for Single Adoptive Parents. Committee for Single Adoptive Parents: 1992.

Parenting and Adjustment

  • Bartels-Rabb, Lisa and Van Gulden, Holly. Real Parents, Real Children:
  • Parenting The Adopted Child. Crossroad Publishing Co.: 1993.
  • Brodzinsky, David; Schechter, Marshall; and Henig, Robin. Being Adopted:
  • The Lifelong Search for Self. Doubleday & Company, Inc.: 1993.
  • Register, Cheri. Are Those Kids Yours?: American Families with Children Adopted from Other Countries. Free Press: 1990.

The Foreign Adoption Process

Although adoption procedures vary from country to country, most countries require that prior to any court action, a child placed for adoption be legally recognized as an orphan or, in the case where a parent is living, be legally and irrevocably released for adoption in a manner provided for under local foreign law. In addition, the adoption laws in most countries require the full adoption of the child in the foreign court after the child has been declared an orphan or released by the living parent to an appropriate foreign authority. Some countries do allow simple adoption. This means that the adopting parent(s) can be granted guardianship of the child by the foreign court. This will permit the child to leave the foreign country to be adopted in the country of the adopting parent(s). A few countries do allow adoptive parents to adopt through a third party without actually traveling to that country. It is important to note that a foreign country’s determination that the child is an orphan does not guarantee that the child will be considered an orphan under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act since the foreign country may use different standards. Questions, which involve interpretation of specific foreign laws, should be addressed to a foreign attorney operating in the country where the adoption will take place.

Some countries accept an authenticated home study of the prospective adoptive parent(s) at face value, while other countries also require a personal appearance by the adoptive parent(s) before the foreign court. Sometimes, countries require a period of residence by one or both adoptive parents. In these cases, prospective adoptive parents may find it necessary to spend an extended period in the foreign country awaiting the completion of the foreign adoption documents. Additionally, several countries require a post-adoption follow-up conducted by the adoption agency or the foreign country’s consul in the United States.

In most cases, the formal adoption of a child in a foreign court is legally acceptable in the United States. A U.S. state court, however, is not required to automatically recognize a foreign adoption decree. This does not suggest that the United States does not respect foreign procedures or recognize the authority of the foreign country in relation to the child. Nonetheless, the status of the involved child may be subject to challenge in state court unless an adoption decree is entered in a state in the United States. Many adoption practitioners recommend that the child adopted abroad be re-adopted in a court of his/her state of residence in the United States as a precautionary measure. Following a re-adoption in a state court, parents can request that a state birth certificate be issued. This should be recognized in all other U.S. states. In some instances, re-adoption of the child in the United States is required. This often occurs if the adoptive parent (or only one of a married couple) did not see the child prior to or during the adoption proceedings abroad. The child must be re-adopted in the U.S. in such circumstances even if a full final adoption decree has been issued in the foreign country.

Adoption in India

Historically, adoption has not been a popular or traditional concept in India, and the few adoptions that were permitted were limited to a child within the extended family. These adoptions were governed by the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act of 1956. The Act prohibited non-Hindus (including foreigners) from adopting Indian children within India. While foreign nationals are not permitted to adopt Indian children in India, in the late 1970’s the government of India introduced a provision for legal guardianship. A foreign national is now permitted to apply for and obtain legal guardianship of a child who is declared by the courts to be destitute and abandoned. The child may then be taken out of India to be adopted within two years.

The standard procedure, therefore, is for an American citizen interested in adopting an Indian orphan to (a) select an Indian orphan child using the services of a U.S. adoption agency recognized in India; (b) apply for guardianship or adoption of the orphan, and once this is granted by the Indian court, (c) apply for an orphan immigrant visa for the child to come to the U.S.

Indian adoption agencies

Additional Information on Adoptions and Foreign Travel

Section 1: Government Information

Mail In Requests

All of the flyers available on the automated fax service are also available in printed form. The order form can be used to obtain these flyers (section two below). Simply circle the flyer(s) that you want and send the order form to:

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520-28181
Phone: 1-888-407-4747
Fax: (202) 312-9743

Please enclose a large stamped, self-addressed envelope.

For printed copies of Travel Warnings, Public Announcements, Consular Information Sheets, and other general travel-related information, send a 8 1/2 X 11 inch self-addressed stamped envelope with $3 in stamps attached to the Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20520-2818.

Section II: Country-Specific Adoption Information Flyers

Currently not available.


Countries of Nationality Ranked by Number of U. S. Adoption Visas Issued*

S. Korea1,654

*Statistics compiled from the U.S. Department of State Report of Immediate Relative Visas Issued. For up-to-date information on the number of visas issued by country please visit the web site at

Section IV: Document Checklist

The adoption agency, attorney, U.S. embassy, USCIS, or the state may require some or all of the following items.

  • Birth Certificate
  • Child Abuse Clearance
  • Divorce/Death Certificate
  • Financial Statement
  • Foreign Adoption/Custody Decree
  • Foreign Birth Certificate for the Child
  • Foreign Passport for the Child
  • Home Study
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • “Orphan” Status Document
  • Photographs of the Family
  • Photographs of the Child
  • Physician’s Report
  • Physician’s Report of the Child
  • Police Certificate
  • Power of Attorney
  • Verification of Employment
  • 1040- Front Two Pages

Some countries require legalization of documents. This process is called authentication. Generally, U.S. civil records, such as a birth, death, and marriage certificate must bear the seal of the issuing office, state capitol, then by the U.S. Department of State Authentication’s Office. The U.S. Department of State Authentication’s Office is located at 518 23rd Street, NW, State Annex 1, Washington, DC 20520, Tel: 202-647-5002. Walk-in service is available from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., Monday-Friday, except holidays. The Department charges a $5.00 per document fee for this service, payable in the form of a check drawn on a U.S. bank or money order made payable to the U.S. Department of State.

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For visitors, travel, student and other international travel medical insurance.

Visit or call +1 (866) INSUBUY or +1 (972) 985-4400