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

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
                     INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION IN GERMANY
     
                                                                     
     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.                                                
     
     
     
     GENERAL
         The following is a guideline for U.S. citizens who are
     interested in adopting a child in Germany.  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 Germany before formalizing an
     adoption agreement to ensure that appropriate visa procedures
     have been followed.
     
     
     PLEASE NOTE
         While proxy adoptions are possible, they are rarely done. 
     The proxy must act under a formal power of attorney,
     authenticated by a court or notary public, which includes the
     name and birth date of the child.  In actuality, there have
     been few cases of proxy adoptions.  German agencies are
     extremely reluctant to assist in this type of adoption, and the
     local youth offices and courts will normally approve an
     adoption by foreign parents only if they have resided in
     Germany for a considerable length of time.  The German
     authorities simply find it difficult to properly determine
     whether the adoption would best serve the child's interest when
     the prospective parents are not residing in the local area.
     

     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 German           Issued to German   
     Year         Orphans Adopted Abroad     Orphans Adopted in U.S.
     
     FY-1988              2                          5
     FY-1989              0                          0
     FY-1990              0                          1
     FY-1991              0                          0
     FY-1992              0                          0
     FY-1993              0                          0
     FY-1994              0                          0
     
     
     GERMAN ADOPTION AUTHORITY
         There is no central adoption agency in Germany.  Persons
     wishing to adopt a child from Germany should contact the youth
     office of any large German city.  The youth office would have a
     list of children available for adoption in that city, and would
     be able to assist in arranging an adoption and in facilitating
     legal proceedings.  Persons wishing to pursue an adoption
     should be aware that it is increasingly difficult to find
     children for adoption in Germany.  
     
     
     GERMAN ADOPTION PROCEDURES
         Under German law, an adoption requires a written agreement
     between the adopting parent and the legal representative
     (parent or guardian) of the child.  The agreement must be
     concluded before a German court or notary public.  The
     following consents are required:
     
     1.  Consent of the child, if the child is over 14 years of age.
     
     2.  Consent of the parents or guardian, if the child is under
     18 years of age.  The parents' consent may be waived if they
     are legally incompetent to give such consent or if their
     whereabouts are permanently unknown.  If the child is
     illegitimate, only the mother's consent is necessary unless the
     legal representative is the local youth office (Judendamt), in
     which case its consent is also required.  The consent of a
     guardian must be obtained when the parent is not the child's
     legal representative.
     
     3.  Consent of the local children's court (Jugendgericht). 
     Consent can be given only after consultation with the local 
     youth office.  Prospective adopting parents should submit all
     pertinent data, including their ages, religion, occupation,
     financial status including annual income, date and place of
     marriage, number of children, including whether any were
     adopted.  They should submit recommendations from employers,
     the local pastor, or others in the community who are in a
     position to state that the adopted child would benefit from the
     relationship.  Copies of the prospective parents' birth and
     marriage certificates should also be submitted.
     
     4.  After the consents have been obtained and the agreement
     signed, the local court (Amtsgericht) must confirm the
     agreement.  This court must first be satisfied that the
     prospective parents are qualified under the laws of their home
     state to adopt the child.
     
     5.  In the case of a proxy adoption, the proxy must act under a
     formal power of attorney, authenticated by a court or notary
     public, which includes the name and birth date of the child.
     
     
     GERMAN EMBASSY IN THE UNITED STATES
         The address of the German Embassy is as follows:
     
                   Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
                   4645 Reservoir Rd., N.W.
                   Washington, D.C.  20007
                   tel:  (202) 298-4000
                   fax:  (202) 298-4249
     
     
     AMERICAN EMBASSY IN GERMANY
         The address of the American Embassy in Germany is as
     follows:
     Street Address                        Mailing Address
     
     U.S. Embassy                          U.S. Embassy
     American Citizen Services             American Citizen Services
     Deichmanns Aue 29                     PSC 117
     53179 Bonn, Germany                   APO AE 09080
     
     tel:  (49) 228-3391                   fax:  (49) 228-339-2712
     
     The United States also maintains consulates in the following
     German cities:  Berlin, Frankfurt Am Main, Hamburg, and Munich.
     

     DOCTORS
         The U.S. Embassy/Consulates all maintain current lists of
     doctors and sources for medicines, should either you or your
     child encounter health problems while still in Germany.
     
     
     QUESTIONS:  Specific questions regarding adoptions in Germany
     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.
     
     PLEASE NOTE THAT IMMIGRANT APPLICATIONS FOR GERMANY ARE ONLY
     PROCESSED IN FRANKFURT.  PARENTS SHOULD CHECK THERE TO BE SURE
     THAT ADOPTED CHILDREN WILL QUALIFY FOR U.S. IMMIGRATION.
     
     APPLYING FOR U.S. CITIZENSHIP FOR AN ADOPTED CHILD
         Questions about naturalization of an adopted child as a
     U.S. citizen after the child has entered the United States
     should be addressed to the INS office with jurisdiction over
     the adoptive parent'(s) place of residence.  The process
     requires that INS Form N-643 Application for Certificate of
     Citizenship in behalf of an Adopted Child, be filed with the
     INS before the child is 18 years of age.
     
     
     CONCLUSION
         Interested Americans should be aware that the process of 
     adopting a child in Germany and bringing the child to the U.S.
     may be time-consuming and difficult.  Prospective parents
     should again note that all immigrant visa applications for
     Germany are processed in Frankfurt.  The address of the
     American Consulate is as follows:
                   American Consulate General
                   Immigration Section
                   Siesmayerstrasse 21
                   60323 Frankfurt/Main
                   tel:  (49) 69-75-35-22-04
     
         The American Embassy and Consulates General 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 adoption procedures.  They should also
     work closely with the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate 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.  Any feedback adoptive
     parents are willing and able to provide about their experiences
     while trying to adopt children would be very helpful to us in
     ensuring the validity and usefulness of the information in this
     and similar brochures.  Please contact the Office of Citizens
     Consular Services with ideas about how we can try to make the
     experience easier (if possible) or at last easier to understand.

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