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U.S. Department of State
1995:  International Adoption -- Brazil
Bureau of Consular Affairs

     FOREIGN COUNSEL.                                                
     GENERAL:   In October 1990, Brazil promulgated a new statute
     for the protection of children.  Some of its provisions concern
     adoption and incorporate changes in legal requirements for
     foreigners to adopt Brazilian children.  According to Brazilian
     law, anyone over the age of 21 may adopt a child, regardless of
     nationality, as long as the adopting party is at least 16 years
     older than the potential adoptee.  In practice, many judges
     give preference to Brazilian citizens over foreigners. 
     Regulations in certain states give do preference to Brazilians,
     though the legality of these regulations is questionable.  
     A final adoption decree must be issued by the appropriate court
     before a child is permitted to depart Brazil.    A child cannot
     be brought to the United States under a guardianship order for
     adoption here later.  Adoption by proxy is prohibited.  
     Under Brazilian law, children whose parents have died, children
     born out-of-wedlock to mothers who formally relinquish parental
     rights, children abandoned by both living parents, and children
     whose parents have been stripped of parental rights for
     mistreatment or other reasons may be adopted.  If the natural
     parents give a child to a relative, the relative must obtain a
     temporary guardianship order from a court to retain custody of
     the child.  A child whose relative has been granted a
     guardianship decree would not be available for adoption.  If 
     the relative is considered incapable of caring for the child,
     the judge can strip the natural parents of parental rights and
     authorize adoption of the child by a non-relative. 
     Recent U.S. immigrant visa statistics reflect the following
     pattern for visa issuance to orphans: 
                  IR-3 Immigrant Visas     IR-4 Immigrant Visas
     Fiscal       Issued to Brazilian     Issued to Brazilian
     Year       Orphans Adopted Abroad   Orphans Adopted in U.S.**
     FY-1990              112                      115
     FY-1991              159                       16
     FY 1992              138                        0
     FY 1993              174                        0
     FY 1994              149                        0
     There is no centralized authority in Brazil responsible for
     adoptions.  Responsibility for approving adoptions rests with
     the local, state and federal courts in Brazil.  
     Although Brazilian adoption law provides that adoptions be
     arranged directly between the Brazilian courts and prospective
     adoptive parents, or by licensed U.S. adoption agencies
     approved by the Brazilian government, there is great variance
     between the exercise of adoption authority by judges at the
     municipal, state and federal levels.  Under the new law,
     Brazilian judicial authorities are to maintain a register of
     children who are available for adoption and a second register
     of persons interested in adopting.  In actual practice, few
     courts are following this procedure.  Brazilian courts do not
     charge a fee for prospective adoptive parents to register with
     them or to process a petition for adoption.
     Judges at all three levels exercise authority independently to
     accept and approve adoptions.  The laws are often enforced
     dissimilarly by the different judges.  For example, adoptions
     by foreigners generally are not approved in the state of Rio de
     Janeiro.  Judges in the state of Rio Grande do Sul tend to
     adhere to the letter of the new law.  In the state of Santa
     Catarina, which is also within Porto Alegre's consular
     district, judges are known to be much more lenient in approving
     adoptions by foreigners.  
     In the states of Sao Paulo and Parana (Sao Paulo's consular
     district) and in the state of Pernambuco (Recife's consular
     district) judges seem to favor strongly the adoption of
     hard-to-place Brazilian children with foreign adoptive parents
     and apply flexible standards in awarding adoption decrees.
     Most adoptions continue to be arranged by prospective adoptive
     parents through adoption agencies or other intermediaries in
     the United States, utilizing their contacts in Brazil.  Also,
     most judges are requiring increased documentation in support of
     foreign adoptions.  
     Since the implementation of the new law, the U.S. Consulate in
     Rio de Janeiro regularly receives requests relayed from courts
     for certification that adoptive parents have been approved by
     U.S. authorities, and queries as to the legal and citizenship
     standing of foreign adoptive children in the United States. 
     The Approved I-600A form allows Rio to provide such
     certification to the courts.  
     In July 1993 the state of Pernambuco changed its regulations to
     create a centralized list of parent candidates for the state as
     a whole.  The list is maintained by the Commissaq Estadual
     judiciaria de Adocao (the state Judiciary Commission for
     adoption), also known as Ceja.  Prospective parents can ask to
     be included on the roster before they come to Brazil by
     completing an application consisting of forms available from
     Ceja and a home study performed by a licensed U.S. agency. 
     Judges will continue to certify children as adoptable.  Ceja
     will then match prospective parents with children, taking into
     account parental preferences.  By regulation, Brazilian parents
     will have preference over foreign parents, and resident
     foreigners will have preference over those planning to take the
     child to another country.
     Ceja is currently scheduled to meet once per month.  The system
     is designed to allow prospective parents to wait to travel to
     Recife until their case has be approved by Ceja.  Once Ceja has
     approved a case, the file will be returned to the Municipal
     Court.  The Municipal Judge will then grant the parents legal
     guardianship of the child for the residency.  
     Ceara adopted a similar set of regulations to approve
     international adoptions at the end of September, 1993.  At this
     time, it appears the system will be quite similar to the system
     in Pernambuco, although details are not yet available.  
     Prior to the adoption, non-resident prospective parents must
     reside in Brazil with a prospective adoptive child who is under
     the age of two years old for a minimum of 15 days; and for a
     minimum of 30 days with children over two years of age.

     Brazil controls the exit of minor children by requiring them to
     present written authorization to travel from both parents which 
     is presented to federal police officers at the point of
     departure from Brazil.  If the child has no natural parents or
     has been abandoned, written authorization from a Family Court
     judge is required.
     The length of time needed to process an adoption in Brazil
     varies considerably.  Once a child has been located,
     preliminary processing, including medical and psychiatric exams
     and a home study can be time consuming.  The entire adoption
     process has been known to take anywhere from one month to five
     or six months.  
     Please note that all foreign (U.S.) documents must be certified
     and fully authenticated and translated into Portugese.
         certified copy of marriage certificate (if married);
         power of attorney, if dealing with a lawyer; application if
         dealing with an agency, with the name of the child to be
         2-3 letters of recommendation;
         police clearance from the town where prospective adoptive
         parents reside;
         passport-size photos of adopting parent(s);
         clearance from medical doctor;
         proof of economic condition (income, employment, savings,
         psychological and sociological home study prepared by
         specialized, accredited agency;
         copy of license of the U.S. agency performing the home
         copy of state adoption laws and regulations;
     It is advisable to bring several copies of the completely
     authenticated documentation with you to Brazil.

     Brazilian Embassy
     Consular Section
     3009 Whitehaven St. N.W.
     Washington, D.C.  20008
     tel:  (202) 745-2828
     There are also Brazilian consulates in Los Angeles, San
     Francisco, Miami, Savannah, Georgia, Chicago, New Orleans, New
     York, Boston, Houston, and San Juan.
     Upon arrival in Brazil to try to arrange an adoption, U.S.
     citizens should register at the Consular Section of the U.S.
     Embassy (or nearest U.S. Consulate).  The Embassy or Consulate
     will be able to provide information about any outstanding
     travel advisories and to provide other information about Brazil
     including lists of physicians, attorneys, interpreters and
     The American Embassy and consulates are located at the
     following addresses: 
     American Embassy
     Consular Section
     SES Avenida das Nacoes Quadra 801 Lote 3
     Brasilia DF Brasil  70403
     tel:  (55)(61) 321-7272
     fax:  (55)(61) 225-9136
     American Consulate General
     Avenida Presidente Wilson 147
     Rio de Janeiro RJ Brasil  20030-020
     tel:  (55)(21) 292-7117
     fax:  (55)(21) 220-0439
     American Consulate General
     Rua Padre Joao Manoel 933
     Sao Paulo SP Brasil  01411-001
     tel:  (55)(11) 881-6511
     fax:  (55)(11) 852-5154
     American Consulate
     Rua Coronel Genuino 421 (9th Fl.)
     Porto Alegre RS Brasil  90010-350
     tel:  (55)(51) 226-4288
     fax:  (55)(51) 221-2213

     American Consulate
     Rua Goncalves Maia 163
     Recife PE Brasil  50070-060
     tel:  (55)(81) 221-1412
     fax:  (55)(81) 231-1906 
     Before attempting to adopt a child from any overseas location,
     U.S. citizens should ensure that they understand the legal
     requirements for the admission of adopted children into the
     United States.  We suggest that you contact the U.S.
     Immigration and Naturalization Service for further
     information.  You should consult the INS publication M-249, The
     Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children.  You
     should also review the Department of State's brochure on
     international adoptions.
     Immigrant visas are only issued at the U.S. Consulate General
     in Rio de Janeiro, although petitions can be filed at the U.S.
     Embassy or any U.S. consulate in Brazil and will be forwarded
     to Rio de Janeiro for completion provided that there is already
     on file an approved, valid form I-600A, application for
     advanced processing of orphan petition.
     It is advisable to contact the Consular Section of the
     U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Brazil at least one day in advance
     to check that the documents are in order and to set an
     appointment for the immigrant visa interview.  The Embassy or
     Consulate cannot guarantee issuance of the visa in advance of
     the interview.  
     For the immigrant visa application the child will need:
         1. completed form 230 E (application);
         2. completed I-600 form;
         3. Brazilian passport;
         4. birth certificate (before adoption);
         5. birth certificate (after adoption);
         6. adoption decree;
         7. natural mother's release letter, when applicable;
         8. medical exam
         9. photographs
         10. certified copy of the judge's sentence declaring the
             child abandoned (em situacao irregular nao eventual) 
             and approving the adoption and immigration of the
             child to the U.S.

     QUESTIONS:  Specific questions regarding adoptions in Brazil
     may be addressed to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy or
     Consulate.  You may also contact the Office of Children's
     Issues, U.S. Department of State, Room 4800 N.S.,
     2201 C Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.  20520-4818, telephone
     (202) 647-2688 with specific adoption questions.  Recorded
     information concerning significant changes in adoption
     procedures is available 24 hours a day at: (202) 736-7000, or
     by automated fax (calling from the telephone on your fax
     machine) at (202) 647-3000.  If the country you are interested
     in is not listed, procedures have not significantly changed. 
     Information on immigrant visas is available from the State
     Department's Visa Office, at (202) 663-1225.  This 24 hour
     automated system includes options to speak with consular
     officers during business hours for questions not answered in
     the recorded material.  Application forms and petitions for
     immigrant visas are available from the
     U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, the nearest office
     of which is listed in the federal pages of your telephone book,
     under  U.S. Department of Justice.
     In addition, the State Department publishes Consular
     Information Sheets and Travel Warnings.  Consular Information
     Sheets are available for every country in the world, providing
     information such as the location of the U.S. Embassy, health
     conditions, political situations, and crime reports.  When
     situations are sufficiently serious that the State Department
     recommends U.S. citizens avoid traveling to a country, a Travel
     Warning is issued.  Both Consular Information Sheets and Travel
     Warnings may be heard 24 hours a day by calling the State
     Department's Office of Overseas Citizens Services at
     (202) 647-5225 from a touch-tone telephone.  The recording is
     updated as new information becomes available.  In addition,
     this information is accessible through the automated fax
     machine, as above, and is also available at any of the 13
     regional passport agencies, field offices of the U.S.
     Department of Commerce, and U.S. Embassies and Consulates
     abroad.  Furthermore, you may write in requesting information,
     sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Overseas Citizens
     Services, Room 4811 N.S., 2201 C St., N.W., U.S. Department of
     State, Washington, D.C.  20520-4818.  Finally, information is
     available through your personal computer.  If you have a
     computer and a modem, you can access the Consular Affairs
     Bulletin Board (CABB).  This service is free of charge, and may
     be reached at: (202) 647-9225.  Consular Information Sheets and
     Travel Warnings may also be accessed by subscribers to many
     on-line services.  For complete information on accessing
     consular information via computer, please request document
     1016, entitled "Consular Information Program," from the
     automated fax system, which is described in the preceding
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