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Honduras Adoption


I hope this is okay to post here.  I posted the same thing on 1 other board as well; and it is actually related to Honduras adoption, not Guatemala.  But there was no Honduras group, and I know the laws are similar in Guatemala, so I thought some of you may have similar experiences. 

Hello, my name is Megan and I am from the United States. I am in the process of pursuing an adoption of a precious nine year old girl in Honduras who I met multiple times while on mission trips and who calls me her mother after spending a few weeks together and exchanging frequent letters through a local ministry in her area that helps her.  Honduras adoption policy makes it pretty much impossible for me to actually adopt her from Honduras to the United States.  My only real options are to move there and adopt her domestically, move there and just unofficially help her current guardians to care for her, or bring her to the states on a student visa but not legally be her mother.  I am praying about which option is best for us, and am looking into everything to make sure that all 3 options are even possible and legal.  I am looking for anyone who has done something similar and may know what my options are and where to start.  My little girl is an orphan; both parents are deceased.  She lives with an aunt who doesn’t really care about her (no abuse or physical neglect that I know of; just indifference towards her and no love or emotional connection).  I will be visiting in January and want to talk with the family about everything, but need to know what to even discuss with them.  Legally, is it as easy as her aunt saying, “I am letting her stay with friends in the US to get a better education.” and then me getting her a visa/passport?  She is in the process of learning English, but will probably need another year of English classes before she could actually easily come here and attend school and such.

Also, does anyone have any insight on older children being adopted when they have distant relatives still living who they can live with?  How difficult is it for the child to leave those relatives?  Obviously moving overseas to a brand new place and having a new family is always a transition for a child.  But I want to make sure that while the transition may be a challenge, that it will be best for her in the long run, even though she still has distant biological family.  Even though they don’t really care about her, I’m sure she still has some comfort just in familiarity after living with them and their own children for 2 years. 

Disclaimer: I will be talking to actual agencies and officials about this and doing everything properly.  I just want to also get input from others who may have done something similar.  Thanks!

Replies

Please go to adoption.state.gov, the adoption website of the U.S. State Department.  Go to the country information drop down box and click on Honduras.  There, you can read all about the process of adoption from Honduras.

There are no laws stopping you from adopting from Honduras, as far as I can tell, though the Honduran government has been considering changes in its laws for years.  And your child is young enough to qualify for an adoption visa; she is also an orphan, which allows her to qualify.

Many families adopt older children, both domestically and internationally.  Some are lucky enough to get to know the children’s distant relatives, and maintain some contact with them.  That would be great, if you could do so.  It might help with your child’s adjustment.  However, do be aware that the older a child is at the time of adoption, the more likely it is that he/she has had negative life experience that will affect his/her behavior and adjustment.  As an example, the child you want to adopt has lost both parents, which is a huge trauma, and has been living with relatives that show no love or emotional support, which is also a huge trauma.  So you cannot expect her to behave like a normal child raised by loving bio parents.

Basically, you would first need a homestudy for international adoption.  You would also need to file the I-600A with the U.S. government, to be sure that you qualify to bring an orphan to the U.S.  You would then work with a placement agency in the U.S. that would help you prepare a dossier for the IHNFA, the branch of the Honduran government responsible for adoptions of children under age 14.

If the Honduran government chooses to allow it, you will then go through the adoption process . Once the adoption is final, you will obtain the child’s birth certificate, adoption decree, and Honduran passport, and go to the U.S. Embassy there to file the I-600, the companion piece to the I-600, which both determines whether the child qualifies for an adoption visa and does a final review of your eligibility to adopt.  At that point, it will issue an immigrant visa for the child to enter the U.S., and you can bring her home.

If you find that you cannot adopt, do NOT expect that you will get an education visa for the child easily.  In general, the U.S. wants to make sure that any child who comes to the U.S. for an education will not attempt to overstay his/her visa and remain permanently in the U.S., and that he/she will not wind up on welfare or any other form of public assistance.

In general, the U.S. government wants students coming to the U.S. for an education to have family in their home country to whom they will want to return.  They also like to see that the child will want to return home because there are assets in that country to which he will be entitled, such as property or an inheritance.  These are major reasons why people don’t try to overstay their visas.  As a result, it is unlikely that the girl you mentioned will qualify for an education visa, especially if it is known that you wanted to adopt her, because, no matter what you say, it will look as if you are trying to subvert the adoption visa process and find a way to keep her in the U.S. indefinitely.

In addition, the sponsor, whether you or her overseas relatives, will have to demonstrate that you can afford and will commit to paying the entire costs of her stay in the U.S., including the costs of her schooling.  Remember that you will NOT be allowed to enroll her in a public school, unless you are willing to pay the full costs that your county or state estimates that a K-12 type education costs each year (several thousand dollars), and unless the school system is willing to take her and meet her needs.  (Many school systems won’t, as they are already overcrowded and are struggling to meet English as a Second Language needs.)

Most students below college age who come to the U.S. on a student visa will need to attend a private school that is certified by the USCIS as eligible to accept students on education visas.  The sponsor must demonstrate that the school has agreed to accept the child, and that either he/she or the school will pay the full costs of attending.  Most of the schools will expect the child to test at a level of English proficiency that is close to the typical level for a child of that age who is already at the school, and also a level of general knowledge that will be close to the typical level for a child of that age.  If the sponsor cannot find a school that will accept the child, or does not have a way to guarantee that all of his/her costs will be met, the child cannot get a visa.

I know a good deal about visas for children below college age, because my daughter had a friend who was here from China on a student visa to attend high school.  She had well-off, modern parents in China, who could pay her fees, and also an uncle in the U.S. who could serve as sponsor and pay her fees.  She was accepted to a Baptist private school that her uncle selected—although she was not Christian and was horrified by all the rules and restrictions and compulsory prayers. 

The school said that her level of English was not quite as good as it expected, and refused to allow her to live with her uncle’s family, although they were Christian, as they spoke Chinese at home.  Instead, the school made her live with one of the school’s teachers, who spoke only English and practiced the same strict sort of Christianity as the school did. 

Even though her parents in China were fairly strict with her, as Chinese parents often are, they did permit her to go shopping in mixed groups of boys and girls, did let her wear Western fashions, and did let her attend chaperoned parties. Unfortunately, her school and the teacher with whom she lived wouldn’t allow any of these things.  And her uncle once followed her when she was at the mall with my daughter, to make sure she wasn’t violating the rules and going there to see boys.  While her uncle was delighted that she was with a nice Chinese girl (I adopted my daughter from China), the girl and my daughter felt really uncomfortable to have been “stalked” in this way.

It was rather awful for this sweet girl.  The school said she could live with another family, but they had to be English speaking and Baptist or Evangelical Christian. That made us ineligible to take her in, as we are a Jewish family and could not reinforce her school’s Christian beliefs.

Needless to say, if the child you are trying to help gets a student visa, he/she will have to go home when his/her education is complete or when he/she drops out of or is expelled from the school.  You will NOT be able to pursue an adoption of the child in the U.S. while he/she is on a student visa.

If you can’t adopt and can’t get an education visa for the girl, you can always sponsor her by sending money to a trustworthy relative for her care, or by moving there and either adopting her or simply taking care of her.  But moving there won’t be so easy, as you won’t necessarily be able to get a job there, buy a home there, etc., as a foreigner.  You will have to support yourself as well as a child if you stay there with her.

Sharon

Posted by sak9645 on Nov 22, 2015 at 9:16pm

Sak9645 has given you an excellent, thoughtful, careful response. I’d also suggest you go on rainbow kids.com and contact some of the agencies that adopt thru Honduras to read and or ask about the process. Children of all Nations has an informative page for one.

If it were me I’d try to find an agency that has been in existence a while with good references who could handle it. Doing an international adoption independently i.e. on your own contacting lawyers is a hugely risky operation. I don’t understand why you feel you can not adopt her legally from the US.There is nothing I read that says as much.  I would suspect, you would need the aunts permission. Either way, I would work thru a reputable agency.

Sak is right that there is much more to an adoption than at first might meet the eye. It sounds like you have a good connection and are willing to put the child’s needs first which is a good sign. I was disturbed to read on one website that the process could take 4 years, but hoping that with a waiting child with a relationship with you it might be faster. Good luck.

Posted by Happy Camper on Nov 23, 2015 at 5:03am

Go talk to an adoption counselor at an agency which still does international adoption. Sounds like what you have is an ‘identified adoption,’ which is where you locate the child, not the agency. We did this domestically, years ago. Go talk to agency—also, they’ll do your home study and other required items—first, then follow up with an immigration attorney. Good Luck!

Posted by SST on Nov 26, 2015 at 1:47pm

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