There are several reasons families choose to adopt from overseas. Families may want a child of a certain age and may struggle to find children in these age groups within their area. Some immigrants may wish to provide a home to someone from their country of birth. American-born citizens may want to provide a better standard of living to someone from a poorer country.

Whatever the reason, the International Adoption Simplification Act of 2010 is one law these families should become familiar with. Here is some of the basic information provided by USCIS.

Adopting a birth sibling between the ages of 16 and 18

The 2010 amendment allows birth siblings of an already-adopted child to qualify as a Hague Convention adoptee. This becomes possible after the child who is not yet adopted turns 16 but before their 18th birthday. There are several restrictions to keep in mind and a lot of paperwork to file, but the option is available.

Adopting birth siblings after they turn 18 years old

Many people are devastated to learn of a birth sibling they could have adopted after the child already turns 18. However, there are provisions in place for this. The rules are just different, and in some cases, a little tougher. If the person meets several requirements, then an American citizen may file a petition for them. Here are a few of these:

  • The person turned 18 on or after April 1, 2008.
  • The petitioner intends to adopt the person or already has.
  • The person is from a country that is a part of the Hague Convention.
  • The birth sibling of this person has been adopted by the same adoptive parents who are petitioning, and either has migrated or will migrate to the U.S. to be with them.

USCIS also reminds parents that when they adopt children from overseas, the children go through the immigration process as well as an adoption process. For people who have never filed an immigration petition with USCIS before, they may be surprised by all the steps involved and begin to feel discouraged.

This is why it is so important to work with knowledgeable professionals from the onset. This helps to steer people in the right direction and increases the likelihood of success.