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Adopting overseas

(30 Posts)
WeeNoggi Fri 19-Apr-13 07:09:15

Has anyone done this?

According to local laws, DH and I can adopt here. I find the prospect thrilling & slightly terrifying to be honest.

Do you know people who have managed to do this? Better yet - managed to gain UK citizenship afterwards?

Feels like we're doing things the wrong way round - trying to get approval and (UK) paperwork processed after we have a child who is legally our responsibility.

greenteawithlemon Fri 19-Apr-13 07:15:45

Where are you?

Mutley77 Fri 19-Apr-13 07:36:10

You will definitely need to check with your UK Local Authority first. You are unlikely to be able to gain citizenship for a child without having had the home study completed in the UK - there are exceptions to this but you must get advice from your Local Authority and specialist legal advice.

All this should not cause you any problem unless you are intending to go and live in the UK - immigration clearance will be very difficult to get if you don't go about it in the proper way.

Good luck!

Lilka Fri 19-Apr-13 09:44:16

Where are you?

If this was a permanent move and you are never planning to return to the UK and therefore don't need your child to have citizenship, then dealing with UK adoption authorities would not be necessary.

However, it is a legal requirement to have a homestudy from UK authorities to adopt internationally. If you lived in the UK and went to adopt a child from a foreign country without having had a homestudy you'd be committing a criminal offence which can be punished with prison time. Some people who already live abroad do adopt abroad without a UK homestudy but typically they have a lot of trouble attempting to get citizenship later, because the laws are set up only to accomodate those who followed the legal process. I couldn't find the right page on the Border Agency website but they did have a special page about applying for citizenship for a child adopted overseas, and that page did make it clear you needed to have followed the legal process to get the citizenship. They had no mention of getting citizenship for an adopted child in other circumstances. We have had a couple of psoters on the adoptions forum who were having this exact problem - they adopted when living abroad and now can't get citizenship for their children, and were trying to find lawyers for advice etc. Don't asssume citizenship is the same for biological and adopted children because it isn't

I would contact UK authorities and get advice. I have no idea how it would work out, but if you could adopt via the normal international route you would be saved any problems with legals later on.

SquinkiesRule Sun 21-Apr-13 05:48:35

If you want to get British citizenship for the child then also make sure that the child is from a country that the UK will allow you to do this from. There are some South American countries that the UK doesn't allow adoptions from due to babies being sold and declared orphans yet they still have live parents and other issues.
Dd was adopted in the US and that is her place of birth. I just filled out the MN1 form and sent in lots of supporting document, court papers etc and she is now a UK citizen.
Over on British there are a few families who wanted to move back to UK but had adopted from countries that the UK has problems with you adopting from. It has turned out to be quite a nightmare of documents and proof for them.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Sun 21-Apr-13 06:00:48

I have a friend who adopted in HK and had no problems with getting uk citizenship for her child. She was a resident of HK when she adopted the child and because she followed procedure in HK the British embassy then issued her adopted son a uk passport, no probs. it must depend on where you are. Adoptions in HK follow a very stringent process so maybe that is deemed sufficient by the uk authorities.

WeeNoggi Sun 21-Apr-13 11:08:59

We're in Vietnam. They have recently signed the Hague Convention but the US at least still hasn't reopened for adoptions - they aren't happy that procedures are being followed properly.

I've not lived in the UK for over a decade - I don't have a home there. I'm not 'habitually resident' there so I don't think I can get a home study done. DH is another nationality, which makes things even more complex.

I will have a look at British ex-pats - thanks Squinkies. That's my worst nightmare sad TBH if I could see any better options right now, I'd be looking into that.

Lozzamack Sun 21-Apr-13 14:48:36

I am a British citizen and have lived in Singapore for 14 years. While living here I have adopted 2 children. I never had any home study reports done in the UK and one of my children now holds a British passport. As previously recommended do check what countries are open to you. I know at the time we adopted Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam were all closed to us.

adoptmama Sun 21-Apr-13 20:44:08

I've adopted my two whilst living abroad. Try over on Adoption - there has been some helpful stuff recently on what you need to do re. citizenship. Basically you will likely need to readopt once you are back in the UK.

WeeNoggi Thu 25-Apr-13 03:34:04

Lozzamack can I ask where you adopted from? Locally in Singapore?

Thanks adoptmama - a similar thread has just popped up in adoptions which has been quite helpful. I think a British immigration / adoption lawyer will be the way to go.

Lozzamack Thu 25-Apr-13 16:40:52

Yes, we adopted here in Singapore via a local agency. My daughter was born in Malaysia and the British High Comm told me I would not get a British Passport for her. Her Malaysian one expired when she was 5 so I waited until it was about to expire before filing for a British one for her. After being told by the High Comm in Singapore the application could take up to 2 years I received a lovely shiny new passport for her within one month!!

Mutley77 Mon 29-Apr-13 02:19:22

Lozz - you were very lucky as this does not follow correct procedure. It is not uncommon that the UKBA / Home Office person does not know the correct procedure given the rarity of inter-country adoption now and therefore they do allow things through that are not legally correct.

OP it would not be wise to rely on this happening for you if you are definitely hoping for UK citizenship for your adopted DC.

Lozzamack Mon 29-Apr-13 17:24:31

Mutley77 - I'm not quite sure what you mean. Why am I lucky? How do you know we have not followed the correct procedure?

MrsSchadenfreude Mon 29-Apr-13 21:01:09

Mutley - the procedure can be different from country to country (where the adoption took place). It may be that this was relatively simple/that the rules had changed since the earlier advice, and that is why it happened so quickly.

Lozzamack Tue 30-Apr-13 03:44:43

I am not sure what procedure we may have followed incorrectly but our adoption process was not short, nor was the legalisation. Although getting a British passport through was. I think the fact we left it so late possibly forced the British HO to push the matter through. We were not able to get another Malaysian passport as we did not have a sponsor there and without a UK one our child would have become stateless. The passport application may have been quick but as I say I think this was only due to the fact that someone there needed to make a quick decision. It was not down to the fact that any process had not been followed. All of our papers were filed correctly, I do not think the HO would have approved otherwise.

Mutley77 Wed 01-May-13 06:07:52

Lozz - sorry without knowing your case I cannot be totally clear you have not followed correct procedure, however I am going by what you have said in your post above. In order to gain British citizenship for your child the procedure is that you need to have had a British home study (except in some specific circumstances), which is why you will have initially been advised by the British High Commission that your daughter would not be eligible for a British passport.

It is totally correct that it is fine to adopt in Singapore, stay living in Singapore and go by Singaporean rules - I assume then resulting in Singaporean citizenship for your daughter.

The rules if you are hoping to return to Britain and gain British citizenship for a child adopted outside the UK are very specific and apply irrespective of whether the child was adopted from/to a Hague Convention country or not. This is why I think you were lucky to get her British passport as it doesn't sound to me that she was eligible for it (which is what you were advised initially).

Lozzamack Wed 01-May-13 16:43:10

well according to you I'm gonna be in real trouble then, because I have 2 adopted children and did not have a British home study for either.

You assume wrongly that we had Singaporean citizenship for our daughter - she previously had a Malaysian passport and we are British so she could not possibly have had Singaporean citizenship - unless we gave up our British passports and became Singaporean citizens ourselves.

Like you say, you cannot be totally clear whether we have followed correct procedure without knowing our case.

Mutley77 Thu 02-May-13 06:44:31

Lozz - you are clearly not interested in having a sensible discussion about this - I was merely pointing out that in my understanding yours was not a clear case for the sake of the OP. I would not want her to think that just because you have done something, she will be able to do the same.

I was not assuming you had Singaporean citizenship for your daughter - I saw that you did not. However had you not been able to gain British citizenship for her you would have had to gain specialist legal advice in Singapore as to what citizenship she is/was eligible for as your adoption came under Singaporean law and process. If the only option was for you to become Singaporean citizens you would have surely done that in the interests of your daughter.

Applicants will not be accepted for home studies in Britain if it is not clear whether or not the children will be eligible for British (or indeed another country's) citizenship on their return to Britain. It is due to the fact that unfortunately some children have previously ended up "stateless" which causes significant heartache all round.

AFAIK you're not "gonna be in real trouble" as you now have the passports and it would be highly unusual for those to be removed. However you may have had to have a British home study had someone in the Home Office more closely reviewed your case, particularly had you wanted to return to live in Britain (which obviously I have no idea whether you did/do or not).

Lozzamack Thu 02-May-13 09:23:38

You're right, I'm not interested in a sensible discussion at all. OP asked if anyone had adopted while living overseas and whether they had gained British citizenship. I answered her questions honestly.
Adoption is a very long and complicated drawn out procedure, there are many many things that happened and far more than I could write here in a few sentences. It is also a very personal thing so sometimes not all the details are offered. I offered what was necessary to answer the ladies question and do not take kindly to being told by you that I did not follow correct procedure. Would you like to tell my daughter she's lucky because she shouldn't really have got her passport???

SquinkiesRule Thu 02-May-13 21:50:12

Maybe it's different in Singapore, but we didn't need a British homestudy for our US adoption. They did see our US homestudy as we are residents of the US. Do the adoption agencies in Singapore issue a homestudy before the adoption maybe thats what they would want to see. If you aren't living in UK and are residents of Singapore, there is no way to have a UK homestudy.
I think it's UK residents who cannt adopt outside of the UK and get their child British citizenship without a UK homestudy.

adoptmama Fri 03-May-13 19:51:11

OP I have a friend who adopted from Africa. Applied for and received Brit. citizenship for his son whilst living abroad. No UK home study. All legal. Will see if I can find links from him to PM to you. Am in the process of doing this for my own two also and do not need a UK home study to do it.

adoptmama Sat 04-May-13 07:30:25

Hi Weenoggi have PM'd you the links. Hope it is helpful.

WeeNoggi Tue 07-May-13 14:44:53

Thank you SO much adoptmama thanks - those are really helpful links.

From what I've gathered so far, I think Squinkies is right in that if you're not 'habitually resident' you can't get a home study done in the UK. I don't have a home / LA or job there so it seems impossible?

We're making arrangements to visit the embassy here & see what they say. Fingers crossed it works out for us in same way as Lozzamack

Thanks for everyone's input thanks - looks like this will be a tough ride as it's so complex.

oldnewmummy Fri 17-May-13 11:23:38

We adopted while living in Singapore. As residents of Singapore we needed the adoption to comply with Singapore rules (which funnily enough did not require a Home Study by any government, UK or Singapore) and then applied and got, perfectly legally, a British passport. There was at the time a perfectly transparent process for doing so on the UK government website. There probably still is but I haven't checked.

Lozzamack Sat 18-May-13 15:30:40

I'm glad to hear there are others out there oldnewmummysmile

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