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Sorting out citizenship for children - adopted abroad but not an 'international' adoption.

(43 Posts)
adoptmama Fri 30-Dec-11 20:00:11

Hi everyone. I am a single parent to two beautiful under-fives, both adopted in the EU (I live and work abroad). My adoptions are not designated 'international' but 'domestic' to the country I live in. Therefore I have been told that there is no automatic granting of citizenship. I have tried to find out how to proceed to get this sorted. My local British embassy is, frankly, useless and has no idea of what to do or how to assist me. I have been in touch with the BAAF and other groups/charities and the UK border authority. No-one seems to know what I need to do to sort out citizenship for my kids. Also is there a difference between them becoming British citizens and Nationals, or is it the same thing? I don't want them to have problems with inheritance or residency rights in years to come and want to sort it all out. I cannot readopt in the UK I don't think as I am not resident here for most of the year. I believe I can apply for citizenship for each of them and it will cost about 600 pounds each which I am disgusted by - they are legally adopted in a Hague compliant country in the EU and I just can't see why I should have to pay for citizenship for them: rightly or wrongly I believe they should be just as entitiled to it automatically as if I had travelled to China or Russia and adopted internationally! Has anyone got any experience of this or any suggestions of who I can contact?

akuabadoll Sun 24-Mar-13 18:01:19

That's interesting kew it's not what we understood (have an internationally adopted child - sending non-Hague, recieving Hague, live in niether country). In this case our adopted child will never gain British citizenship as we are unlikely to live in the UK at any point. We didn't complete the process as like adoptmama it has not been a priority right now. We completed all the processes in the receiving country partiuclar to a non-Hague sending country and not otherwise necessary so yes it does seem crazy that this process is not relevant in the UK. Do you know where this is documented by any chance?

adoptmama Sun 24-Mar-13 19:47:16

cheers will check out the link. The country i live in is EU and Hague Compliant but not on the list of approved countries. Both adoptions are finished here and my names is on both their birth certificates and passports as their mother. in fact all traces of their bm's have been removed from records. I still live here and have no plans to return to the uk which i think complicates it.... sigh!

akuabadoll Sun 24-Mar-13 20:25:32

Damn yes, if the country is not on the list then there is your issue, I think. The country I adopted in is on the list but it seems, according to info from kew , that this doesn't cut it either. <sigh> indeed.

Kewcumber Sun 24-Mar-13 21:34:02

I think this explains Hague vs non hague pretty well.

akuabadoll Mon 25-Mar-13 05:39:25

Thanks kew I'm still not 100% sure about both countries being Hague compliant, I just can't find where this is explicitly stated. The MN1 guide is the most detailed I can find on the issue, so far...

BUT adoptmama I may have found something that helps in your case: the link I sent you previously states that your country of adoption must be on the Designated List, however using the same website and moving to the more detailed 'Guide MNI' (clink on following link, then the pdf file on the left marked 'Guide MNI, go to page 13). Here it says that children may be from either Designated List or Hague Convention countries.
This doesn't solve the problem of the money or assessing if it's actually worth it in terms of the children's future though. Anyway I wanted to correct my earlier understanding.

Kewcumber Mon 25-Mar-13 12:35:02

I am 100% sure both countries have to be Hague complaint ( I adopted from a country that was then non-Hague so I looked into it). The reason that it doesn;t state that both countries have to be Hague compliant is becasue it is addressing UK residents adopting - and of course we are hague compliant.

This is the relevant bit:

"What difference does adopting from a Hague Convention country make?

Where an adoption has been completed under the Hague Convention:

the child will automatically receive British citizenship if you or your partner are a British citizen and both of you are habitually resident in the UK
the adoption will be automatically recognised in the UK and other contracting states
the adoption of a child under the Hague Convention can be registered on the Adopted Children's Register managed by the Registrar General.

*Can I adopt from a country that is not a Hague Convention country?

Yes you can, but if the adoption order is not recognised in the UK* , you will need to re-adopt the child in a UK court for the adoptive relationship to be legally recognised."

My bold to highlight that adoptions in non-Hague countries are not recognised in the UK and therefore confer no citizenship rights.

Kewcumber Mon 25-Mar-13 12:36:56

or not bolded as the case may be!

Can I adopt from a country that is not a Hague Convention country?

Yes you can, but if the adoption order is not recognised in the UK, you will need to re-adopt the child in a UK court for the adoptive relationship to be legally recognised.

akuabadoll Mon 25-Mar-13 16:35:43

Thanks kew well, it would be nice if the UK Border Agency were explicit about it as that set of documents is directed at those of us who adopted without UK involvement. My child as already been re-adopted in effect in Switzerland which is Hague and Designated List and there is no way he will be adopted a third time and anyway we don't live in the UK so it's not even possible. We took advice on the issue before and understood the application to be correct and valid but I'm revisiting it as expecting a second child (birth) and wanted to compare the outcomes in terms of citizenship. A birth child would be British (if only by descent as would not be born in the UK) but my first child would not if his adoptions are not considered valid.

There is a little more info in the guide I forwarded to adoptmama but again not explicit on this point:
"we are satisfied that all relevant adoption laws have been adhered to. This includes the laws of the country in which the adoption took place, the country of origin of the child and the country in which the adoptive parents are habitually resident,
If some or all of the critera set out above are not met, the application will be considered on it's merits and the child and the child registered if registration is demonstrably in the best interests of the child"
I also read the Hague Article 23 on which jaja's application was rejected which is not very clear to me either.
One that is clear to me, I'm afraid, jaja is that your money was not refunded, they are pretty clear on this point.

Kewcumber Mon 25-Mar-13 16:47:03

I would have thought that being readopted in any hague convention country should do the job. In effect legally under UK law he is now your child in so I would have thought you'd be fine. The problem with a non-hague adoption is that it has no legal status in the UK - when DS first came into the UK he was categorised as a child who was privately fostered (which required a 6 weekly visit from social services - oh joy).

I am almost certain that refusal in jajas case is as simple as the adoption not being recognisable under UK law so no citizenship. You can get UK adoption/citizenship recognised from non-hague countries but I've only ever heard of it happening when the family have adopted and stayed resident in the country of childs birth for some time say 6 months plus (although it does seem to vary).

UK authorities are not keen to recognise non-Hague adoption in case people start circumventing UK rules for intercountry adoption.

Jaja - as USA is now a Hague convention country - you may find readopting in the US does the trick.

akuabadoll Mon 25-Mar-13 17:06:47

Mmm I assumed jaja did re-adopt in the USA as she mentioned her son has US citizenship. My child has Swiss citizenship which he would not have without having been adopted under Swiss law, so I made the assumption based on that. It doesn't change the fact that the adoption was done, initially, from a non-Hague country. Any adoption from non-Hague to Hague would require a process to recognise the adoption, otherwise the adoption would not be legal in the second country.

jaja are you out there???

Kewcumber Mon 25-Mar-13 17:18:56

yes you're right - but you have recognised it in a Hague country now so I would expect the UK to recognise it.

I don't think citizenship works the same way re adoption in the US - I have several US freinds who have adopted and I'm pretty sure I recall that once they land on US soil with a parent who is US citizen they become US citizens. I have no idea if that changed post-Hague as the US adoption of Hague in practice was somewhat patchy!

adoptmama Mon 25-Mar-13 19:49:56

thanks a million for all your time an effort. we have some hospital surgeries coming up for dd2 which is a distraction at the moment, but I will try to get some emails or calls in and update fyi if i get any positive outcomes or information.

user1465733776 Sun 12-Jun-16 13:27:06

hi all, my hubby ad I are trying to secure british citizenship for my adopted son. I am Malaysian and so is he, he was adopted in Malaysia and although Malaysia is not a hague convention country we have in theory fallen as a designated country adoption and will be a the application will be at the discretion of the home sec. My question is whether it makes sense to retain a lawyer to help with all this, especially as we are living in Malaysia at the moment, and if so- any suggestions? Thanks very much in advance!

Hels20 Sun 12-Jun-16 17:15:33

User - is your husband British? If not, why do you think you will be able to get British citizenship?

Dublet Thu 06-Apr-17 12:10:16

Hi there. I just had a question for adoptmama. Did you ever resolve the issue? I live in SA and have adopted locally. I am a British citizen and plan to move to the UK in 2018. I have looked at getting a passport for my daughter but the whole issue of "under The Hague Convention" has arisen. Naturalization/citizenship now costs GBP936 which as a single mother and our rate of exchange being 16:1 and climbing, is a horrendous amount. My argument is that any biological children born of me would have had automatic claim to citizenship because of the fact that I was born in the UK as well as my father. So why wouldn't my adopted child have the same priviledge especially as her new birth certificate lists me as her biological mother. SA adoptions are on the Adoption List so are recognized. I was told to re-adopt her but when I contacted the UK agency, they said I didn't need to re-adopt but apply for naturalization. I am not the only parent with UK citizenship in SA who has adopted so we are all wanting to know how we can resolve this other than paying out a fortune. Would appreciate any advice.

Allington Thu 06-Apr-17 15:25:31

Hi Dublet - I'm in the same situation, so watching with interest!

As I understand it, we have not adopted 'under the Hague Convention' because in effect it was a domestic adoption in SA, as we were habitually resident here for the adoption.

However, as SA is a Hague Convention country the adoption is recognised, but citizenship not automatically given. So you pay up and hope for the best...

dramalamma Mon 10-Apr-17 21:49:11

We had a similar situation (adopted domestically abroad) and had to pay the £1000 for naturalisation - it shouldn't be the way but unfortunately it was the only way in the end.

Dublet Tue 18-Apr-17 09:36:46

I am looking at writing to the Royal Commonwealth Society to ask if they will support a petition to change the laws. If you are willing to add your name to the list I already have, please can you email me ( your full names, place of birth (UK), contact numbers and email address. The more names I have on the list the better. Hopefully we can make a change for the better.

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