Adoption Update

The most up-to-date adoption news

Thailand

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR ADOPTIVE PARENTS:  Thai law (Adoption Act, April 1979) stipulates strict requirements and procedures for adoption of children in Thailand.  Consequently, American prospective adoptive parents who do not meet the following criteria should contact DSDW before pursuing the matter further.  The basic criteria for adoptive parent(s) are:

  1. Being at least 25 years of age;
  2. Being at least 15 years older than the child to be adopted;
  3. Being legally qualified under your U.S. law to adopt a child; and
  4. Having a legitimate spouse (if applying as a couple).

THAI REGULATIONS REGARDING ADOPTIVE CHILDREN:  It is not possible to apply for more than one child at a time, except for twins, siblings, or in cases of adoption of the children of the applicant’s Thai spouse.   DSDW advises that it is extremely unlikely that an abandoned child under the age of one year would be available for foreign adoption.

PROCEDURES TO ADOPT A THAI CHILD (General Overview Table with Estimated Timeframes):

The following summary of the adoption process is intended as a general guideline only.  Processing times may vary considerably depending on individual circumstances. Incomplete or incorrect applications and documents will significantly delay processing time.  PLEASE NOTE: There is no guarantee that an application will be accepted by the Child Adoption Board or that a child will be matched. 

**6-12 months for referral after I600 or 1600A is approved

PROCEDURES TO ADOPT A THAI CHILD (Step by Step Outline):

  1. Prospective adoptive parent(s) obtain official DSDW application forms (these forms may be obtained from DSDW or from one of the above NGOs). These forms elicit biographic, health, and financial information about the prospective adoptive parent(s).
  2. Prospective adoptive parent(s) engage an adoption agency or child welfare organization licensed by their state of U.S. residence to perform a home study (this agency must also be recognized by DSDW–a list of recognized agencies is available from DSDW). 
  3. The licensed agency or organization in the United States assembles the application forms and supporting documents for submission to DSDW.  The application must be accompanied by the following:

    • Completed home study – All homestudies MUST be conducted or endorsed by one of the agencies approved by the DSDW.  Therefore, home studies conducted by a non-DSDW agency (eg homestudies done for the I-600A procedure) must obtain an endorsement from a DSDW approved agency agreeing to supervise the pre-adoption placement.
    • Confirmation Statement – the adoption agency supervising the pre-adoption placement must confirm that after the adoption is finalized under Thai law, it will also be legalized under the laws of the applicant’s state of residence, as applicable.    
    • Formal Commitment Statement – If the prospective adopting parents reside in Thailand, DSDW’s social workers will conduct three bi-monthly home visits and supervise the pre-adoption placement of the child.  If and when DSDW is satisfied with the pre-adoption placement, DSDW reports their finding to the Child Adoption Board (CAB) who will in turn approve the child for adoption.  If the prospective adopting parents do not reside in Thailand, the U.S. licensed adoption agency must formally commit to supervise a pre-adoption placement of at least six months and conduct at least three bi-monthly progress reports will be provided to DSDW.
    • Medical Certificate – verifying good physical health, mental stability, and infertility (if applicable) for prospective adoptive parent(s) 
    • Birth Certificate(s) – for parent(s), for both if married   
    • Marriage Certificate 
    • Proof of Termination of Previous Marriages
     – death certificate of spouse or divorce decree
    • Proof of Occupation and Income – letter from employer
    • Complete Financial Statement – indicating all assets and liabilities
    • Recommendations from Two Responsible Persons
    • Current License of Involved Adoption Agency
    • Photographs of (both if married) Prospective Adoptive Parent(s) – (4 each), 4.5 cm x 6 cm, and of their children (if applicable)
    • Statement from USCIS or Consular Officer confirming that the child to be adopted will be the beneficiary of an immigrant visa.   (NOTE: for U.S. citizens who reside in Thailand, the Consular Section’s visa unit will provide a letter to this effect. For U.S. citizens who do not reside in Thailand, evidence of an approved I-600A or I-600 petition is sufficient.)

    If the prospective parent(s) reside in the United States, all the above-listed documents must be authenticated or “verified” by the Thai Embassy or one of the Thai consulates in the U.S. All documents must be in English or Thai.  Any documents not in English or Thai must be accompanied by English or Thai translations.

  4. If the above documentation is acceptable, DSDW (or one of the four NGOs listed earlier in this flyer) matches the prospective adoptive parent(s) with a child. The prospective parent(s) are provided with photos and information about the background and health condition of the child.  (NOTE: DSDW reserves the right to review and investigate matches made by the NGOs.)
  5. The prospective adoptive parent(s) must advise DSDW whether they wish to proceed with the adoption of the proposed child.  The application will then be given to the Child Adoption Board (CAB) for review.  If the Child Adoption Board agrees to the suitability of the prospective adoptive parent(s) for pre-adoption placement of the child, the case is referred to the Minister of Social Development and Human Security for official authorization. (NOTE: Steps 4 and 5 together frequently take six months to one year to complete.)
  6. When the pre-adoption placement is approved, a definite appointment is made by DSDW (or one of the NGOs) for the prospective parent(s) to be interviewed by the Child Adoption Board. The meeting with the Board is essentially a formality. If married, both prospective adoptive parents must attend this meeting.  (NOTE: The waiting period for such an appointment may be as long as three months, depending on the CAB’s schedule.)
  7. DSDW will issue documents necessary for the child’s travel, including a Thai passport. These documents will normally be issued on the same day as the meeting with the Board. The parent(s) will also receive the child on the same day.   (NOTE: Occasionally issuance of documents takes longer. DSDW advises adoptive parents to plan to stay in Thailand for approximately two weeks total.)   Parent(s) adopting from Thailand for a second time may request that a DSDW social worker escort the child to the United States instead of appearing before the Child Adoption Board as outlined below.  All costs of such travel by the escort are the responsibility of the adoptive parent(s).

    At this point, the parent(s) will be eligible to apply for a U.S. orphan immigrant visa per instructions below. However, the Thai adoption will not be complete until the following steps have occurred:

    • When the prospective adoptive parent(s) have returned to the U.S. with the child and at least three bi-monthly reports on the pre-adoption placement have been submitted to DSDW, DSDW will refer the case to the Child Adoption Board for approval of final adoption under Thai law.          
    • The adoptive parent(s) have to register the adoption under Thai law within six months of notification of finalization by the Board.  This can be done at the Thai Embassy or Consulates in the United States. (Please note that at this point, the adoptive parents will have to take their child to their local USCIS office to finalize the visa and citizenship procedures for their child.)

(All information taken from the U.S. Department of State website)

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