Adopting Afghan Refugees

Let’s take a look at the options available for adopting Afghan refugees. First, it is important to note that Iraqi refugees are not citizens of Afghanistan. Afghans who have left their country, however, are either citizens or residents of the country.

If you wish to adopt an Afghan child internationally, your adoption service provider will need to identify a specific child for you. Some children have special needs and there are also younger children available for adoption as well as sibling groups.

There are options for adoption through Hague Adoption Agencies and non-Hague Adoption Agencies. An orphan visa can be issued once the child is identified by the prospective adoptive parents.

The waiting time for an orphan visa can range from two weeks to five months depending on where you are adopting from. The U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and Canada do not require that prospective adoptive parents be married before a child is adopted. All other countries require that prospective adoptive parents be married.

Afghanistan is not a Hague Convention country, therefore non-Hague adoption services are generally more expensive than Hague Adoption Agencies.

Prospective adoptive parents will need to complete all necessary forms and submit them to their adoption service provider or directly to the State Department who issues orphan immigrant visa petitions for children from Afghanistan.

How Has The Taliban Changed Adoption In Afghanistan?

Adopting Afghan Refugees

The Taliban has made it considerably more difficult for children to immigrate to the US, particularly if they are unaccompanied minor refugees. The reason is that the only way a child can travel out of Afghanistan is with an approved immigration visa or passport. Without either item, the child will not be able to leave Afghanistan.

This means that any orphaned children who do make it out of Afghanistan must have the documentation before their adoptive parents can bring them home. Documentation includes but isn’t limited to: birth certificates, court orders terminating parental rights, and/or adoption orders as well as proof of legal custody such as power-of-attorney letters and legal guardianship documents signed by both parties (for those adopting from Afghanistan.)

If these documents are missing, the system will automatically reject the visa petition.

Some examples include:

Both parents are dead but no documents proving this exist. The child will need to prove that both parents are dead before s/he can receive an exit visa. If one parent is deceased but there’s no proof, then only one parent needs to be absent before the child qualifies for an orphan designation–providing that a non-related adult adopts or becomes a legal guardian of the child and signs a form consenting to the adoption or guardianship before it can occur.

The two major organizations working with Afghan orphans facing these issues are Adopt International and Amera Foundation. Their efforts have been tremendously successful in helping children flee from certain death or abuse at the hands of others in Afghanistan.

How long will it take to adopt an Afghan refugee?

The process can take anywhere from a few months to over a year, depending on individual circumstances. That said, the faster your application is accepted and completed by all parties involved–and you’re also able to provide sufficient documentation of the prospective child’s condition–the better. You may be asked why you want to adopt an Afghan refugee (or other native or ethnic group). Make sure you have a cogent answer to this question!

Why do some American families choose to adopt Afghan refugees?

Adopting an orphaned Afghani child can benefit both yourself and him/her in several ways: Afghani children are very motivated by love and need a family-like structure where they can thrive. They come from adverse backgrounds where death or abuse is common, so they’re often traumatized and need a family to help them cope with their experiences.

However, it’s important to not be too idealistic about the outcomes of international adoption. These children come from a place where they have been abandoned or orphaned for various reasons–they don’t always have parents who love them, but may have other traumatic circumstances surrounding their upbringing.

If you can recognize these pains in your Afghani child and provide him/her with the support he needs, you’ll likely help create an incredibly bright future for his/her life.

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