Adoption

This section provides an overview of the intercountry adoption process. The process varies greatly, as it is governed by the laws of the countries where the adoptive parents and the child reside (which in the case of the United States means both federal and state law), and also in which of these locations the legal adoption is finalized. Additionally, if the child’s home country is a party to the Hague Adoption Convention, the Hague processes of both countries must be followed. Prospective adoptive parents should consider all of these factors when evaluating what to expect.

 

Important Notice:

The Government of Fiji has frozen all inter-country adoptions.

On August 1, 2012, the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption entered into force for Fiji.  The Department of State has not received information from the Government of Fiji on its plans for implementing the Convention.  The United States cannot process Convention inter-country adoptions until the Government of Fiji implements an effective Convention inter-country adoption process.

Fiji’s recent decision to enter into force the Hague Convention prior to ensuring the implementation of regulatory regimes laid out in the convention has effectively cut off all inter-country adoptions from that country, including pipeline cases.

Visit the Fiji Country Information page for more information about adoptions in Fiji.

Kiribati is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention).

Below is the limited adoption information that the Department has obtained from the adoption authority of Kiribati. International adoptions in Kiribati are rare. U.S. citizens interested in adopting children from Kiribati should contact the Kiribati High Court to inquire about applicable laws and procedures. U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents living in Kiribati who would like to adopt a child from the United States or from a third country should also contact the Kiribati High Court. See contact information below.

Only persons domiciled in Kiribati may adopt Kiribati orphans. There are no adoption agencies or non-government lawyers in Kiribati. Attorneys resident in Suva, Fiji occasionally handle cases in Kiribati.

There are two government lawyers in Kiribati, known as “People’s Lawyers,” who are on volunteer contracts with the Kiribati government. The People’s Lawyer may be contacted at:

Office of the People’s Lawyer

Post Office Box 501

Betio, Tarawa

Republic of Kiribati, Central Pacific

Tel: (+686) 26312

Alternatively, prospective adoptive parents may seek assistance from the Attorney General’s office.

The Attorney General’s contact information is:

Office of the Attorney General

Post Office Box 62

Bairiki, Tarawa

Republic of Kiribati, Central Pacific

Tel: (+686) 21242

Visit the Kiribati Country Information page for more information about adoptions in Kiribati.

Nauru is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention).

Below is the limited adoption information that the Department has obtained from the adoption authority of Nauru.  U.S. citizens interested in adopting children from Nauru should contact the Magistrate Court of Nauru to inquire about applicable laws and procedures.  U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents living in Nauru who would like to adopt a child from the United States or from a third country should also contact Nauru’s Magistrate Court.  See contact information below.

Nauru’s adoption legislation does not permit the adoption of Nauruan children by non-Nauruans.  However, the judiciary has determined that this legislation conflicts with certain obligations Nauru has undertaken with respect to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  The courts have permitted the adoption of Nauruan children by married couples in which only one of the adoptive parents is of Nauruan origin.  There have been no applications for adoptions in which neither prospective adoptive parent is of Nauruan origin and it is unclear whether Nauru’s courts would permit an adoption in such a case.

There are no adoption agencies in Nauru.  There are several private lawyers practicing in Nauru as well as a volunteer known as the “People’s Lawyer” on contract with the Nauru Government.  The People’s Lawyer may be contacted at:

Office of the People’s Lawyer

Government Building, Judiciary

Yaren District

Nauru

Tel: (+674) 444-3133

Alternatively, prospective adoptive parents may seek assistance from the Attorney General’s office.  The Attorney General’s contact information is:

Office of the Attorney General

Government Building, Judiciary

Yaren District

Nauru

Tel: (+674) 444-3133

Visit the Nauru Country Information page for more information about adoptions in Nauru.

Tonga is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention ).

Tongan law states that prospective adopting parents must reside with the child for period of at least six months prior to the application for adoption of that child. Tongan law permits both single and married foreigners to adopt Tongan children.  Prospective parents must show themselves able to provide adequate emotional and financial support for the child.

In addition, under Tongan law, only illegitimate children (children born out of wedlock) may be adopted.  The Tongan Legal Guardianship Act of 2004 makes it possible for Tongan authorities to grant legal guardianship of legitimate children under age 18. However, this does not constitute a full adoption according to U.S. immigration law. American citizens interested in pursuing legal guardianship of a Tongan child should consult a Tongan attorney for the latest information.

Visit the Tonga Country Information page for further information about the adoption process in Tonga.

Tuvalu is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention).

There are two important points to consider when adopting a child from Tuvalu: 1) Only children below the age of 12 may be adopted; and 2) children who have attained the age of 10 years are usually, but not always, required to consent to their adoption.

There is no formal residency requirement for foreigners seeking to adopt in Tuvalu. However, adoptive parents must be physically present in court to file an application for adoption and must remain in Tuvalu until the final adoption order is granted.  Applicants for an adoption should be a married husband and wife. The law permits an adoption order in favor of one person in “exceptional circumstances.” However, a single male cannot adopt a female child.

Visit the Tuvalu Country Information page for further information about the adoption process in Tuvalu.