Adopting foreign babies, long championed by Hollywood stars, has now become more popular with the average American citizen. Although the most common adoptions involve children from Russia, China and India, some people elect to adopt children from other countries, including Japan. If you want to adopt a child from Japan, read on to find out what you should know.
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Note that Japan offers two types of adoption. In a "regular" adoption, the Japanese child retains ties with their birth family, and may still receive inheritances from them and retain other privileges. A "special" adoption negates the child's relationship with their biological family.
Consider the basic requirements for adoptive parents. At least one prospective parent must travel to Japan to initiate proceedings. You'll need to file an adoption petition for a child under six years of age, and deal with the Family Court located in the city where the child resides. Japan allows single adoptive parents if approved by authorities.
Scrutinize any Japanese adoption agency carefully. Japan doesn't require agencies or attorneys for an American to adopt a child. The United States Embassy in Tokyo has a list of established agencies and attorneys if you want to use one.
Review eligible adoptive children. Japanese children of adoptive status, usually abandoned, born to an unmarried woman, orphaned or released by their parents or legal guardian, fall under the authority of the Family Court's Child Guidance Center in their jurisdiction. A surviving biological parent must sign a statement of release to allow an adoption to move forward.
Secure the child's legal paperwork. Contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to arrange a passport for your adoptive son or daughter. Enter the adoption in the country's Family Register if one of the adoptive parents was born in Japan. The final court decree will notate the child's biological and adoptive families.
Tips and warnings
- If you want to adopt a Japanese child, file the I-600A Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition with the Office of Homeland Security before beginning your search.