Italy International Adoption Process and Cost

Italy International adoption have been very few. In fact, only a total of 3 adoptions took place between 2014-2018 with the U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs stating that intercountry adoptions from Italy to the U.S. are “rare”. But that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to adopt from Italy. The two main factors that contribute to the low number of intercountry adoptions are:

  • Italian society frowns upon adoption and prefers that any unplanned children be taken care of by extended family rather
  • Prospective adoptive parents have to be currently residing in Italy.

One other element accounting for the small number of international adoptions from Italy is Italy’s desire to have children adopted domestically. 

That doesn’t mean that Italy forbids adoptions internationally. It’s just that the above aspects surrounding international adoption means that the process can be frustrating for those who want to have a child from Italy. Also, it is hard to get an exact figure of how much the entire process costs, though Italy does not charge for domestic adoption services.

Italy International Adoption

Here is a brief outline of the process:

  1. Choose a U.S. approved or accredited adoption service provider
  2. Be found eligible to adopt
  3. Get matched up with a child
  4. Apply for your adoptee to immigrate to the U.S.
  5. Adopt or gain legal custody of your adoptee
  6. Obtain an immigrant visa for your child and then bring the child home.

If you are still keen on adopting from Italy, then let’s dissect the process for you…

International Adoption Process for Italy

Being a member of The Hague Adoption Convention, Italy must follow the process set out under the convention requirements. This process is set out below and it’s important that you, as a prospective adoptive parent follow these steps in the correct order. If you don’t follow the correct order it can affect the immigration status of your adoptee.

1. Choose a U.S. approved/accredited adoption service provider.

To start the adoption process you need to find an adoption service provider within the U.S. that has been approved or accredited. This provider will act as your primary provider and give you the guidance and support you need to ensure successful adoption. They will make sure that everything lines up with the legal requirements of The Hague Adoption Convention, the U.S. and Italy. 

2. Apply to be found eligible to adopt

The next step is to be found eligible to be able to adopt. You have to apply by submitting Form I-800A and have it approved by the  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Eligibility to adopt is determined by the appropriate U.S. government agency, the Department of Homeland Security or the USCIS. 

Until you receive approval of your eligibility you cannot accept any adoption placements, have contact with the adoptee’s biological parents, any legal guardians of the child or any institution or entity caring for the child. 

Italy International Adoption

Once you have been found eligible to adopt your placement agency will inform you of the decision and then set up a time for a home study to occur. Also, you may be asked to provide additional information that will be supplied to the appropriate authorities in Italy. Then the Italian authorities will make a decision as to whether you are considered eligible to adopt according to Italian law.

3. Be matched with a child 

Once you have been legally recognised by the U.S. and Italy as eligible to adopt, the next stage is to be matched with a child. However, it all depends on whether there is an adoptee available and if international adoption is in the child’s best interest. 

The central authority for Convention adoptions will introduce a prospective adoptee to you based on what you have requested concerning the type of child you are seeking to adopt. The match is based on the information you have submitted and the particular needs of the child. 

It is up to you to determine whether or not you will be able to sufficiently meet the needs of the child in a permanent home. 

Based on the background information provided to you regarding the child, any medical or special needs that will have to be supplied for the child and whether you can adequately take care of the child will influence your decision as to if you accept or reject the referral. Always remember that the priority is always on the child’s best interests.

4. Apply for the adoptee to immigrate to the U.S.

When you have approved a match for a child that you want to adopt, you need to apply provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the U.S. This can be done through either the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or the USCIS. 

You need to complete Form I-800 which will classify the adoptee as an immediate relative.

Once you have provisional approval of Form I-800, your primary provider will have to submit a visa application for your child to the Consular Section of the U.S. Consulate General in Naples, Italy. A consular officer will review Form I-800 and tell you if your child is ineligible for a visa and how you can seek a waiver on any issues.

Italy International Adoption

The consular officer will send an Article 5 Letter to the Italian Central Authority that lets the Italian Central Authority know that the prospective adoptive parents are eligible to adopt, the child can relocate to the U.S. and that the U.S. Central Authority has allowed the adoption to continue.

Please do not seek custody or adoption of the child in Italy until you have received the Article 5 Letter. 

5. Adopt or Gain Legal Custody 

When you have fulfilled the previous four steps you can move on to the next part of the Italian intercountry adoption process: adopting of gaining legal custody of the child in Italy.

This procedure requires the adoption agency to:

  • collect, preserve and exchange information about the situation of the child and the prospective adoptive parents, so far as is necessary to complete the adoption;
  • to facilitate, follow and expedite proceedings with a view to obtaining the adoption;
  •  promote the development of adoption counselling and post-adoption services in their States;
  • to provide each other with general evaluation reports about experience with intercountry adoption;
  • to reply, in so far as is permitted by the law of their State, to justified requests from other Central Authorities or public authorities for information about a particular adoption situation.

Adoptive parents need to submit a request “Dicharazione alla Disponabilità per l’Adozione” (Declaration of Willingness to Adopt) to the Juvenile Court in whichever city the parents decide. This starts the adoption process and the Juvenile Court will seek out an appropriate child that matches the parent’s request,

The child will then be under the foster care of the parents for at least one year (this care can be extended to two years). During this time the Juvenile Court will observe the parents and provide support. At the end of this fostering period, the Court will decide whether to approve or reject the adoption.

6. Obtain an immigrant visa and take your adoptee home

Now you have successfully completed the prior steps in the process, there is only one more to go before you and your child can climb onboard the plane and fly back to the U.S. You need to get an immigrant visa for your adoptee. 

Also, there are a couple of other pieces of paperwork you have to obtain for your adoptee’

  • Birth Certificate After your adoption has been approved by the Juvenile Court will issue a final adoption decree and let the vital records section of the local City Hall know of its decision. The child’s name will be changed into the new adoptive name and then the adoptive parents can apply for a birth certificate
  • Italian Passport In order to travel overseas your adoptee will need a passport. The prospective adoptive parents can submit their application at their local police station. You can get more information at the Italian National Police website (click on the Union Jack flag in the top right-hand corner to have the site translated into English).  
Italy International Adoption

Once you have the Birth Certificate and the Italian Passport, you need to apply for an immigration visa for your child. This can be done through the U.S. Consulate General in Naples, Italy. Once you have the visa, your adoptee is able to travel home with you. During the visa approval, the consular officer considering your application needs to be provided with “Panel Physicians” medical report if this wasn’t submitted during the provisional approval stage of the adoption process. 

With all six stages completed, remember it’s important to follow the process in the exact order as listed, you can celebrate! Your adopted child is coming home to a new life full of excitement, wonder and adventure. 

However, there is one more thing you need to consider. How much does it cost for international adoption from Italy?

Italy International Adoption Cost

When it comes to adopting from Italy how much will you need to set aside to pay for the process? Unfortunately, an exact figure for international adoption is hard to come by. This could be due to very few international adoptions occurring from Italy. Usually, it’s required that those who want to have an intercountry adoption from Italy must live in Italy.   

Under Italian law, national adoption services are free within Italy. Nevertheless, the adoption service provider you decide to use should have all costs, fees and expenses clearly itemized. 

Italy International Adoption

Generally, international adoption can cost anywhere between $25,000 to $50,000. Have a talk with your primary provider regarding the total cost for your adoption from Italy. 

Are there any restrictions on who can adopt from Italy?

Before you decide to undergo the process of adopting from Italy, it pays to make sure you meet the basic requirements for adopting. Italian law will allow adoptions to:

  • Those who are currently living in Italy
  • Are at least 18 years old and no more than forty-five years older than the adoptee
  • Couples who reside in Italy and  have been married for at least three years (without a separation occurring between the married couple during those three years before the adoption)
  • Same-sex couples cannot adopt

Notice that the main requirement for intercountry adoption from Italy is that you are living in Italy at the time you want to start the adoption process. 

How long does the entire adoption process take?

It’s only natural that you want to bring your adoptee home as soon as possible but never forget that all good things take time. Everyone is working as quickly as possible to have you and your adoptee settled into the new home yet, sometimes, the legal requirements can drag the process out. 

In Italy, it can take up to three years before the adoption is finalized.  Italian law requires that the child is fostered with the adoptive parents for at least a year and this can be increased to two years before a decision is made as to whether to grant the adoption or not. 

Patience is a virtue. Just tell yourself that every day that passes is a day closer to the day you and your child can be together forever.

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