International Adoption - Process Completed in the Adopting Country

Updated on January 08, 2014
S.C. asks from New York, NY
4 answers

My husband and I have the opportunity to adopt form the country of Panama. I have family there and they have an atorney that is going to help us through the process; however, all of the research I have done is very confusing and contradictory! We will be adopting from Panama and all of the court procedings and paperwork will be completed in Panama and NOT in the US/State of Florida. Has anyone adopted internationally, but completed the process in the country in which you were adopting from? I am wondering what the process was like and how you handled the visa/citizenship? I hear that once the child is legally yours, they are automatically a US citizen, but need travel papers to get back to the US. Anyone experience this and can provide input on the process would be appreciated.

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answers from Washington DC on

Please get a lawyer in the U.S. immediately -- one who is experienced in international adoptions and preferably one who has actually handled adoptions from Panama! (You will find heaps of them who have handled adoptions from China or Russia but you may have to work harder to find one with experience with Panama--if you can't, find one who is willing to do some research.)

I have not been in your shoes but know people who have, and the best and safest way to ensure that you are 100 percent OK is going to be having a lawyer well versed in international adoptions.

While asking other parents for their experiences is fine, and a good starting point, it is not legal advice. Web sites can be OK or they can have outdated information on them. I'm seeing "I hear...." and "I am wondering" in the post which is why you need expert help. If you go on what other parents say or what you hear or see online only, you could end up unable to bring your child into the U.S. at the last moment.

I would absolutely also forge a relationship, even if only by e-mails and phone calls, with a contact person at the U.S. consulate in Panama City (if that's the right location), someone you can see and talk to every time you have a question. Surely someone there is tasked with answering questions about adoptions out of Panama. Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

This site will help answer your questions:

There is important information on there regarding different adoption procedures for Panama in regard to citizenship and visas. Citizenship is not automatic if you don't follow the approved process. This site spells out all the steps for you.

You will need to go to Panama in person to do the adoption, and you will be required to live there with your prospective adopted child for up to 3 months, to check compatibility. After that, the finalization starts.

I don't know why the link isn't working...go to and search for Panama.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

It is best to find an attorney that deal with international adoptions. Every country is different and unlike here in the states laws change with the wind. Some countries require one visit others require two. Some places you have to sign a contract with the orphanage to pay the childs expenses for a certain amount of time. Some you can not have children in the home already and strict age requirements ect. It can be tricky. I am fairly sure however you will need a us lawyer and a homestudy done here no matter what country you go to. We wanted to do an international adoption, because of lower failure risks, but each country had such crazy requirements we stuck to the states and ended up with two newborn babies that I was in the delivery room to see born! Great luck in your journey it will be a wild ride but well worth it!



answers from Tampa on

My friend has done 5 China adoptions and I have seen the last 2 from start to finish with them - what I have learned is that you have the adoption in the foreign country/courts then when all the paperwork is done you head to the US Consulate and get the child's passport done there. You need to just double check with the US State Department and an International Adoption Attorney to make sure that there are not any special rules for Panama. Also my friend went through an Internal Adoption Agency so it may have made things a bit easier but it was still a ton of paperwork and time. Good Luck

EDIT: Keep in mind you may need to be in Panama for a week or more, depending upon what their rules are for foreign adoptions. Just make sure you get all the information before hand

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