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


     
     
                    INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION - COSTA RICA
     
                                                                     
     DISCLAIMER:  THE INFORMATION IN THIS CIRCULAR RELATING TO THE
     LEGAL REQUIREMENTS OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN COUNTRIES IS PROVIDED
     FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY.  QUESTIONS INVOLVING
     INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO
     FOREIGN COUNSEL.                                                
     
     PROVISO:  Costa Rica does allow United States citizens and
     other foreigners to adopt.  All adoptions are full and final
     when completed in Costa Rica.  Children may not be taken
     outside of Costa Rica on a temporary guardianship for adoption
     abroad.  Foreign adoptions are a subject of intermittent
     controversy in Costa Rica.  
     
     GENERAL:   The following is a guideline for U.S. citizens who
     are interested in adopting a child in Costa Rica and applying
     for an immigrant visa for the child to return to the United
     States.  This process can be expensive, time-consuming and
     difficult, involving complex foreign and American legal
     requirements.  Adoptions are given careful consideration on a
     case-by-case basis by both foreign judicial authorities and
     American consular officers to ensure that the legal
     requirements of both countries have been met for the protection
     of the adoptive parent(s), the natural parent(s) and the
     child.  Interested Americans are strongly advised to read the
     following information carefully.  Contact the U.S. Immigration
     and Naturalization Service early in the process, before you
     have identified a specific child to adopt.  Contact American
     consular officials in Costa Rica before formalizing an adoption
     agreement to ensure that appropriate procedures have been
     followed which will make it possible for the Embassy/Consulate
     to issue a U.S. immigrant visa to the child.  The American
     Embassy and the Department of State stand ready to assist
     adoptive parents, within the limits of our authority.  Please
     share your experiences and suggestions about how we can improve
     this information and better assist Americans adopting abroad. 
     Reports to the American Embassy or the Department of State
     about successes or problems with foreign adoptions are very
     useful and any assistance adoptive parents can provide in this
     regard is much appreciated.

     AVAILABILITY OF CHILDREN FOR ADOPTION:    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 Costa Rican         Issued to Costa Rican
     Year       Orphans Adopted Abroad        Orphans Adopted in U.S.
     
     FY-1991            56                            -
     FY-1992            60                            -
     FY 1993            47                            -
     FY-1994            29                            -
     
     COSTA RICAN ADOPTION AUTHORITY:
     
     Adoptions of all abandoned orphans who are in public
     institutions are handled by the PATRONATO NACIONAL DE LA
     INFANCIA (PANI).  This is the official Costa Rican government
     agency responsible for the general welfare and protection of
     children.  PANI can be contacted by mail at the following
     address:  Patronato Nacional de LA Infancia, P.O. Box 5000, San
     Jose, Costa Rica.  PANI is a professional child welfare
     organization which is meticulous in assuring that children they
     place go to proper homes.  PANI has a number of requirements
     for placing children with adoptive parents and will inform
     inquirers directly (in English) of their policies and
     procedures.  If you apply for an adoption through PANI, they
     will contact you when they find a child that meets your needs. 
     They will also call you collect, if you authorize such calls in
     your application.  Pictures and related information about the
     child will be sent by air mail.
     
     Note:  In October of 1993, the law in Costa Rica was changed so
     that only a family court judge can declare a child in a state
     of abandonment, and a home study  must be done on each child so
     declared.  Previously, PANI sometimes made this decision
     administratively , and not all judges required a home study for
     the child being adopted.  This new requirement has led to a
     backlog in the courts, because now children already in PANI
     orphanages awaiting adoption must first be declared in a state
     of abandoment by the court.
     

     COSTA RICAN ADOPTION PROCEDURES:
     
     Existing Costa Rican adoption law provides both for adoptions
     through the Child Welfare Agency, the Patronato Nacional de la
     Infancia (PANI) and for private adoptions in which children are
     released to private attorneys who arrange foreign adoptions. 
     Virtually all complaints and allegations of adoption fraud in
     Costa Rica focus on private adoptions.  Costa Rican adoption
     law provides no legal impediment to adoptions by foreigners. 
     However, it is the policy of the Child Welfare Agency (PANI) to
     encourage the adoption of abandoned infants by Costa Rican
     citizens.  To give Costa Rican citizens an opportunity to
     adopt, current PANI policy prohibits foreign adoptions of
     children under four except in cases in which the child is part
     of a family group or is difficult to place.  There is no limit
     on the age of children whose adoptions are arranged by private
     attorneys.  Adopted children do not need to be orphans, under
     Costa Rican law (but see requirements of U.S. immigration law
     regarding definition of orphan for U.S. visa purposes).  Under
     Costa Rican law, children to be adopted must be abandoned or
     irrevocably surrendered for adoption.  Abandoned children may
     be taken to a government facility, be lodged in a private 
     orphanage or foster home or be placed in the custody of a
     relative or friend.  Children may also remain in the custody of
     a biological parent prior to formal relinquishment of custody
     before a judge.
     
     Foreigners must complete the adoption process in Costa Rica and
     have the adoption formally inscribed in the civil registry
     before permission is given for the child to leave the country. 
     Because of Costa Rican concerns about child smuggling and the
     need for follow-up in the adoption process, it is unusual for
     permission to be granted for a child to leave Costa Rica to be
     adopted elsewhere.
     
     The government, acting through the PANI, is responsible for the
     welfare of all children.  Those who are formally abandoned or
     removed from their families by the PANI remain in government
     orphanages until adopted.  In these cases, the PANI handles all
     the paperwork and screening of adoptive parents.  In private
     adoptions, the court reviews the qualifications of the adoptive
     parents.
     
     CIVIL STATUS:
     
     Costa Rica allows for adoption by married persons and by a
     single adoptive parent.

     
     RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS:
     
     Costa Rica requires that at the initial stage of the adoption
     process, both adoptive parents must be in Costa Rica to sign
     the official consent documents before the Costa Rican court. 
     In the case of adoption by a single parent, that parent must be
     present to sign the documents.  Allow at least fifteen days for
     this initial trip.  At the end of the process, one of the
     adoptive parents, or the sole parent if it is a single parent
     adoption, must be in Costa Rica to finish the paperwork for the
     adoption, obtain a travel document for the child and complete
     immigration procedures at the U.S. Embassy.  Since the length
     of time for the entire adoption process may vary and take as
     along as several months, many parents make two trips to Costa
     Rica; others prefer to remain in Costa Rica for the entire
     process.  While in Costa Rica, the adopting parents need to
     take the following steps to satisfy the country's legal
     requirements:
     
     -   meet the child;
     -   give formal consent for the adoption at the court;
     -   obtain a certified copy of the final adoption decree from
         the court;
     -   register the adoption at the local Civil Registry;
     -   obtain a birth certificate from the Civil Registry with the
         new name of the child;
     -   obtain PANI authorization for the child to leave the
         country;
     -   obtain a passport for the child.
     
     COSTA RICAN EXIT CONTROLS:
     
     Controls on removal of children from Costa Rica are strict and
     written permission from both parents or a legal guardian must
     be presented to PANI which then grants approval.  PANI will not
     approve the departure of a child if they are aware that the
     intent is to complete an adoption in a foreign country.
     
     TIME FRAME:
     
     An adoption in Costa Rica generally takes from four to eight
     months from the time a decree of abandonment has been issued or
     an official request for adoption of a specific child is placed
     before the court.
     
     COSTA RICAN FEES:
     
     Official fees for an adoption are set at a minimum of
     approximately one hundred and fifty dollars, which represents
     the total court costs when an adoption is processed through
     PANI.  Payments to parents or guardians were condemned as
     immoral by the 1991 legislative investigation in Costa Rica and
     could be subject to investigation and possible prosecution. 
     The fees generally charged in private adoptions can be as high
     as fifteen thousand dollars.  It is useful if American adoptive
     parents keep the Embassy and the Department of State informed
     about exorbitant fees for adoptions.
     
     ADOPTION AGENCIES AND ATTORNEYS:
     
     Adoptions in Costa Rica can be arranged through the government
     agency, PANI or through private channels.  PANI works with
     established international adoption agencies in placing
     abandoned children.  In private adoptions, where children are
     released by their parents directly to a private attorney, the
     PANI is consulted and will give an opinion on the adoption, but
     the judge is not bound to accept that opinion.  Locating and
     adopting children abroad can be a difficult and time consuming
     experience.  The U.S. Embassy has found that parents who employ
     the services of a well established adoption agency in Costa
     Rica or who work directly with PANI have had the best results. 
     U.S. citizens interested in adopting a child from Costa Rica
     may wish to contact the American Embassy in San Jose before
     retaining the services of a particular agency or attorney to
     ascertain whether the individual or agency has been the subject
     of investigation or indictment in Costa Rica which has been
     brought to the attention of the Embassy.
     
     COSTA RICAN DOCUMENTARY REQUIREMENTS:
     
     If you arrange an adoption through PANI, that agency will
     provide you with a list of their documentary requirements.  If
     you arrange an adoption through a private attorney, the
     attorney will likewise advise you what documents you will need 
     to submit in support of an adoption application.  In general,
     the documentary requirements will be similar to those required
     for a U.S. visa petition:  
     
        Certified and authenticated copies of the adoptive
     parent(s)' birth certificate(s).
     
        Certified and authenticated copy of the adoptive parent(s)'
     marriage certificate (if applicable) and proof of termination
     of any previous marriage (certified copy of spouse's death
     certificate or divorce decree).
     
        Medical certificate(s) for adoptive parent(s) notarized by
     physician and authenticated.
     
        A certificate of good conduct/no criminal record for each
     adoptive parent from a local police department notarized or
     bearing police department seal and authenticated.  
     An FBI report is acceptable in lieu of local police record. 
     This is separate from the FBI check conducted by INS as part of
     the petition process.  You can request an FBI record check by
     sending two sets of fingerprints, a $17 money order, your full
     name, date and place of birth, social security number and
     letter requesting and explaining the purpose for the clearance
     to:  FBI ID Division, Room 10104, Washington, D.C. 
     20537-9700.  The FBI certificate should also be authenticated.
     
        Verification of employment and salary notarized and
     authenticated.
     
        Two letters of reference notarized and authenticated.
     
        A certified and authenticated copy of your property trust
     deeds, if applicable.
     
        A home study prepared by an authorized and licensed social
     agency certified and authenticated.
     
        Bank statements notarized/certified and authenticated.
     
        Family letter of intent to adopt, describing child adoptive
     parent(s) is/are willing to adopt notarized and authenticated.
     
     Note: that additional documentation and procedures may be
     required.
     
     Authentication Summary:
     
        Generally, U.S. civil records, such as birth, death, and
     marriage certificates must bear the seal of the issuing office,
     then be authenticated by the state Secretary of State in your
     state capital, then by the U.S. Department of State
     Authentications Office, then by the foreign Embassy or
     Consulate in the United States.  
     
        Check with the foreign Consulate in the U.S. with
     jurisdiction over your state to see what seals and signatures
     the Consulate can authenticate.  It may be possible to
     eliminate some of the authentication steps if the Consulate has
     the seal of the local issuing authority on file.
     
        Tax returns, medical reports and police clearances should
     likewise be authenticated, beginning with the seal of a notary
     public in the United States or some appropriate issuing 
     office.  The notary's seal should be authenticated by the clerk 
     of court of the county where the notary is licensed or some
     similar authority.  The document should then be authenticated
     by the state Secretary of State (in your state capital), the
     U.S. Department of State Authentications Office, and the
     foreign Embassy or Consulate.  
           The U.S. Department of State Authentications Office is
     located at 2400 M Street, N.W., Room 101, Washington, D.C. 
     20520, tel:  (202) 647-5002.  Walk-in service is available 8 
     a.m. to 12 noon Monday-Friday, except holidays.  The Department
     charges $4.00 per document for this service, payable in the
     form of a check drawn on a U.S. bank or money order made
     payable to the Department of State.  
     
     Translation Requirements:
     
     All documents prepared for transmission to Costa Rican adoption
     authorities must be accompanied by a certified Spanish
     translation.  The translator must execute a statement before a
     notary public as to the validity of the translation.  The
     notary's seal must then be authenticated.
     
     Special Instructions For Persons Born or Married in Third
     Countries:  Individuals who were born or married in third 
     countries should have their birth or marriage certificates
     authenticated by the issuing authorities, and then
     authenticated by the American Embassy in the country in which
     the birth or marriage took place for a fee of $10.00 per
     document payable to the American Embassy.  Such documents must
     then be authenticated by the Embassy or Consulate of the
     country of origin for the child to be adopted in that country
     if one exists.  If not, the document bearing the 
     seal of the American Embassy must be forwarded to the U.S.
     Department of State Authentications Office for authentication
     of the American Embassy's seal for a fee of $4.00 payable to 
     the Department of State.  It will then be necessary to obtain
     the seal of the foreign Embassy in Washington, D.C.  
     Individuals born abroad who acquired U.S. citizenship at birth
     and whose parents applied for Foreign Service Reports of Birth
     for them at the American Embassy or Consulate may obtain a 
     Certification of Birth Abroad by contacting the U.S. Department
     of State, Office of Passport Services, Correspondence Branch, 
     1111 19th Street, Suite 500, N.W., Washington, D.C. 
     20522-1705, tel:  (202) 647-0518.  There is a fee of $10.00
     payable to the Department of State for this service.  This
     document would then have to be authenticated by the foreign
     Embassy or Consulate.
     
     COSTA RICAN EMBASSY AND CONSULATES IN U.S.:
     
     Embassy of Costa Rica
     and Consulate of Costa Rica
     1825 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
     Suite 211
     Washington, D.C.  20009
     tel (Embassy):   (202) 234-2945, -2946, -2947
     tel (Consulate):   (202) 234-2945 or (202) 328-6628
     
     Consulate of Costa Rica
     80 Wall Street
     Suite 1117
     New York, N.Y.  10005
     tel:   (212) 425-2620
     
     In addition, Costa Rica has honorary consuls located throughout
     the United States.
     
     
     WORKING WITH THE U.S. CONSULATE ON THE VISA
     
     Consular Authority to Approve a Case:
     
     Under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), consular
     officers can only adjudicate clearly approvable I-600
     petitions.  Cases involving relinquishment of parental rights
     by a sole or surviving parent are often not clearly approvable
     and must be referred to INS for adjudication.  In all private
     adoption cases processed in Costa Rica, arrangement must be
     made for interview of the biological parent(s) by a consular
     officer.  If there are any questions regarding the eligibility
     for orphan status or whether petition conditions have been met,
     consular officers must refer these petitions to the nearest INS
     office.  When an orphan petition (I-600) is sent to an American
     embassy or consulate for possible issuance of an immigrant visa
     (Form OF-230) to the child or when an orphan petition is filed
     at an American embassy or consulate, a consular officer does an
     overseas orphan investigation as part of the normal
     processing.  This is usually done very quickly.  However, the
     investigation and visa processing can sometimes be lengthy,
     especially when adoptive parents employ irregular practices to
     adopt a child, making the petition "not clearly approvable". 
     INS Form I-604, Request for and Report on Overseas Orphan
     Investigation is used by INS and consular officers.
     
     Scheduling Appointment With U.S. Consular Officer:
     
     It is advisable to contact the U.S. Embassy at least three
     working days in advance to check that the documents are in
     order and to set an appointment to file the immigration visa
     (I-600) application and schedule the immigrant visa interview. 
     Since the documentation required is slightly different from
     that required for the I-600A, adoptive parents should contact
     the Embassy during the adoption process to request a packet of
     instructions listing the documents necessary for immigrant visa
     issuance.  Included in this packet of instructions is an
     "Immigrant Visa Checklist" form.  The Embassy will schedule a
     final appointment in an adoption case once all documents have
     been assembled and the form has been signed and returned to 
     the Embassy.  

     What Documents to Bring With You to U.S. Embassy  Consular
     Section:
     
     Note:  Since each case is different, it is possible that the
     Embassy will request additional documents after a preliminary
     review of the application of the prospective adoptive parent(s).
     For the immigrant visa application the child will need:
     
     1.  Certified copy of child's birth certificate issued by the
     civil registrar indicating the name of both parents if known.
     
     2.  If birth father, mother or both are deceased, certified
     copy of death certificate issued by civil registrar.
     
     3.  Relinquishment of parental rights executed before
     appropriate Costa Rican authority.
     
     4.  Certified copy of Costa Rican final adoption decree,
     including a copy of the home study done on the child.
     
     5.  Certified copy of the new birth certificate from the Costa
     Rican Civil Registry showing names of adoptive parent(s).
     
     6.  Valid Costa Rican passport.
     
     7.  Two 1 3/4 inch color visa photographs.
     
     8.  Medical examination (according to Embassy instructions). 
     If the minor has a physical or mental disability, a notarized
     statement will be required from the prospective adoptive
     parent(s) in the United States indicating that they are fully
     aware of the physical or mental disability of the minor and in
     spite of that fact that they have the intention of finalizing
     the adoption.  This statement can be included in item 19 of
     form I-600 and also in the home study if more convenient.  In
     that case a separate notarized statement will not be required.
     
     9.  Currently, only adopted children can obtain permission to
     depart Costa Rica.  However in any case where the minor has not
     been seen or observed in person by the prospective adoptive
     parent(s), a notarized statement by those parents will be
     required indicating that although they have not seen or
     observed the minor in person, they are nevertheless willing to
     adopt or re-adopt the minor in the United States.  Both parties
     must sign the I-600 after the child has been identified.  This
     means that if one party has 
     gone abroad to arrange the adoption, and the other remained in
     the U.S., the I-600 must be sent by one spouse to the other
     with the child's identity information completed and an original
     signature of the spouse reflecting their concurrence with the
     procedure.  This is generally done by express courier in the
     interests of time.

     10.  In the case of a minor taken to the United States by a
     third party, for example a legal representative or social
     assistant of an adoption agency or other entity, a notarized
     statement will be required authorizing that person to take the
     minor to the United States with the purpose of placing him/her
     with the prospective adoptive parent(s).  This statement can
     also be included in the Judge's authorization for the child to
     leave Costa Rica. 
     
     Note:  There are no provisions in INS regulations for approving
     petitions signed by agents with powers of attorney.  
     Consequently, even if an agent is physically accompanying the
     child to the U.S., the petition itself must be signed by the
     adoptive parent(s), after the child has been identified.
     
     The child must be present at the U.S. Embassy for the immigrant
     visa application process.  The medical examination must be
     performed by a physician from an approved list of physicians
     using a specified form provided by the American Embassy. 
     Unless special circumstances, such as a physical handicap,
     indicate the child's care will be particularly costly, the
     adopting parents will not be required to provide further proof
     of their financial situation, as this information will have
     already been provided at the time of petition (I-600A or I-600)
     approval.
     
     Note  About Additional Documentation Requirements:  Since each
     case is different, it is possible that the Embassy will request
     additional documents after a preliminary review of the
     application of the prospective adoptive parent(s).  For
     example, if the minor has a physical or mental disability and
     only one adoptive parent (in the case of married couples) is
     present abroad, a notarized statement will be required from the
     absent prospective adoptive parent in the United States
     indicating that they are fully aware of the physical or mental
     disability of the minor and in spite of that fact that they
     have the intention of finalizing the adoption.  This statement
     can be included in item 19 of form I-600 and also in the home
     study if more convenient.  In that case a separate notarized
     statement will not be required.
     
     Married Couples:  When Both Spouses Have Not Seen The Child: 
     In cases where the minor has not been seen or observed in
     person by both prospective adoptive parents (in the case of
     married couples), a notarized statement by the absent parent
     will be required indicating that although they have not seen or
     observed the minor in person, they are nevertheless willing to
     adopt or re-adopt the minor in the United States.  In the case
     of a minor taken to the United States by a third party, for
     example a legal representative or social assistant of an
     adoption agency or other entity, a notarized statement will be
     required authorizing that person to take the minor the United
     States with the purpose of placing him/her with the prospective
     adoptive parent(s).  However, this procedure may not be
     acceptable to foreign authorities.  Consequently, even if an 
     agent is physically accompanying the child to the U.S., the
     petition itself must be signed by the adoptive parent(s), after
     the child has been identified.
     
     U.S. IMMIGRATION CHECKLIST
     
     The Immigration and Naturalization Service pamphlet entitled 
     
     "The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children" 
     (M-249Y, Revised, 1990) includes a checklist on orphan petition 
     procedures.  That checklist is annexed to this information
     flyer for the convenience of prospective adoptive parents to
     help in tracking the immigration requirements.  
     
     U.S. FEES:
     
     INS Fees for I-600 and I-600A Petitions:  There is an INS fee
     of $155.00 for an I-600 or I-600A petition.  If you have a 
     valid I-600A and file an I-600 within 18 months of the approval
     of the I-600A, no fee will be charged for the I-600 provided
     you are only petitioning for one child or for siblings.  If you 
     have a valid I-600A and within 18 months of approval of the 
     I-600A are petitioning for more than one child and the children
     are not siblings, the I-600 fee will be charged for each child 
     after the first child except for the first child.
     
     U.S. State Department authentication fee:  If you are having
     documents authenticated by the Department of State
     Authentication Office, there is a fee of $4.00 per document.
     
     Medical Examination Fee:
     
     The adopted child must have a medical examination performed by
     one of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate's panel physicians before
     the immigrant visa can be issued.  The cost of this medical
     examination is approximately U.S. $25.00 and must be borne by
     the adoptive parent(s).
     
     U.S. Immigrant Visa Fee:  The fee for the immigrant visa is
     $200.00 and may be paid either in U.S. dollars or local
     currency.  This $200.00 does not include medical examinations,
     costs of documents, the petition, etc.  The American
     Embassy/Consulate does not accept personal checks or credit
     cards.
     
     Authentication of Documents by U.S. Embassy or Consulates:  If
     you are having documents authenticated by a consular officer at
     a U.S. embassy or consulate, there is a fee of $10.00 per
     document.
     
     ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
     
     Prospective adopting parents should consult INS publication No. 
     M-249, "The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive
     Children" and the Department of State information flyer
     "International Adoptions".


                   AMERICAN EMBASSY/CONSULATE ASSISTANCE
     
     Upon arrival in Costa Rica to try to arrange an adoption, U.S.
     citizens should register at the American Embassy, Consular
     Section, American Citizens Services.  The Embassy will be able
     to provide information about any outstanding travel advisories
     and to provide other information about Costa Rica including
     lists of physicians, attorneys, interpreters and translators.  
     The American Embassy is located on Pavas Road in the Rohrmoser
     section of San Jose.  The telephone number of the Consular
     section is (506) 220-3050; ask for extension 2455 or 2456.  The
     immigrant visa unit is open for walk-in information and
     assistance between the hours of 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. at window
     "D" any workday, except Thursday, or you may telephone directly
     Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. to inquire about
     your visa petition and adoption case.  Prospective adoptive
     parents in the United States who wish to write for information
     from the United States, should use the following address: 
     Chief, Immigration Visa Unit, Consular Section, Unit 2501 APO
     AA Miami 34020 domestic postage rate).  The International
     Mailing address is IV Unit, Consular Section, U.S. Embassy,
     Apdo 920-1200, Pavas, San Jose, Costa Rica.  If, while you are
     in Costa Rica, you experience a serious, life threatening
     emergency, the Embassy has a duty officer available on call
     when the Embassy is closed who can be reached by calling (506)
     220-3127 and asking to speak to the duty officer about a
     consular emergency regarding a U.S. citizen.
     
     WHAT TO BRING FOR YOUR NEW BABY
     
     Since it is difficult to predict how long it may be necessary
     for you to remain in Costa Rica with your adopted child, you
     may want to consider what articles you might want to bring with
     you.  You should be aware that not all U.S. style baby products
     are readily available abroad.  You may wish to consider
     bringing certain items with you.  These might include:
     
         - Plastic or cloth baby carrier
         - Bottle nipples 
         - Disposable paper diapers 
         - Baby wipes
         - Baby blankets 
         - Infant wear 
         - Thermos bottle, for hot water to prepare dry formula 
          -Milk bottles (plastic, glass, and disposable) 
         - Disposable plastic bags for milk bottles 
     
     DOCTORS:  The U.S. Embassy maintains current lists of doctors
     and sources for medicines, should either you or your child
     encounter health problems while still in Costa Rica.

     QUESTIONS
     
     Specific questions regarding adoptions in Costa Rica 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
     paragraph.
     
     CONCLUSION
     
     Interested Americans should be aware that the process of
     adopting a child in Costa Rica and bringing the child to the
     U.S. may be time-consuming and difficult.  The American Embassy
     and the Department of State stand ready to assist adoptive
     parents, within the limits of our authority.  U.S. citizens
     arriving abroad to finalize an adoption are advised to proceed
     carefully with all local foreign legal procedures.  They should
     also work closely with the nearest U.S. Embassy throughout the
     adoption process to ensure that the child selected will qualify
     for U.S. immigration benefits and that all the necessary
     documents are in order.  
     
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