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Us Dept of State file on adoptions from Paraguay


U.S. Department of State

1995: International Adoption -- Paraguay

Bureau of Consular Affairs

Paraguay Adoptions Microlog Text

(202) 736-7000

The Government of Paraguay has suspended registration of new

foreign adoptions, effective September 18, 1995. Paraguayan

judges and legislators have assured the U.S. Embassy in

Asuncion that, all pipeline cases, those cases formally

assigned a case number in a specific juvenile court before

September 18, will be processed to conclusion.

The Government of Paraguay has imposed this suspension in

response to persistent allegations of adoption fraud. The

suspension, foreseen in principle for one year, will give the

Government of Paraguay time to A) review current cases, B)

write a new adoption law, and C) create a new governmental

entity to regulate adoptions.

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Paraguay has warned,

however, that some of the many new adoption cases which were

registered during the last months preceding the September 18

suspension might be fraudulent and all new cases will be

examined closely.

The Embassy will continue to do everything possible to assist

adoptive parents in understanding how these changes will effect

adoption processing in Paraguay. U.S. citizens whose cases are

already being processed should contact their adoption agencies

and Paraguayan attorneys for confirmation of when their cases

were registered. U.S. citizens should consider with caution

any offer of newly available orphans in Paraguay.







TRAVEL NOTICE: On May 20, 1994, the Department of State issued

a Travel Notice regarding adoption in Paraguay. This was the

latest update on a series of travel notices beginning

September 25, 1989. The May 20, 1994 notice, which remains in

effect as of the date of this information flyer provides:

"Due to serious problems encountered in the adoption

process in Paraguay, including chronic unpredictability in

the issuance of final decrees and uncertainty over case

processing and prospects for proposed adoption

regulations, the U.S. Embassy strongly urges prospective

adopting parents to postpone any commitment to a

Paraguayan prospect until such time as the situation at

minor court is clarified. Some adoptions have been put on

hold pending court investigations of local lawyers,

notaries and government officials responsible for

documentation of birth and abandonment. American citizens

who have secured court dates with the judge handling their

international adoptions petition, should be aware that

prospective parents' stay in Asuncion is often a prolonged

one. The consular officer is not authorized to act as

agents on behalf of U.S. citizens seeking to adopt

Paraguayan children.

PROVISO: On April 22, 1992, the Paraguayan Supreme Court

promulgated new regulations regarding international adoptions.

These changes reflect the judiciary's efforts to bring

Paraguayan adoption practice in line with the United Nations

Declaration on the Rights of Children. The general thrust of

these regulations is an effort to locate adoptive parents in

Paraguay rather than to send abandoned children abroad for

adoption. Many procedural innovations introduced by the

Principal Minors Court judge as a check against induced

abandonment, now expanded by the Supreme Court, also protect

the adopting parent by flagging improprieties sooner rather

than later.

Internal Paraguayan politics recently have sparked a national

debate on international adoptions, which resulted in a

temporary suspension of the signing of adoption decrees by the

Minors Court Judge in August 1993. The judge has resumed

signing decrees, but is doing so sporadically and generally is

exercising great caution in approving adoption cases. The U.S.

Embassy is doing everything in its power to attempt to speed up

the process, but the Department of State advises prospective

adopting parents who have not yet initiated the adoption

process to postpone any commitment to a Paraguayan prospective

child until the situation at juvenile court is clarified. The

time frame for final decree signatures is still uncertain. Due

to judicial privilege, the U.S. Embassy must limit its

intervention in the judicial process to status inquiries, but

continues to do everything it can to help Americans already

caught in the process.


U.S. citizens interested in adopting a Paraguayan child must

comply with the laws of Paraguay, with U.S. Immigration laws

and any state pre-adoption requirements (including home study

and fingerprint check). The American Embassy and the

Department of State stand ready to assist adoptive parents,

within the limits of our authority. 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.


visa statistics reflect the following pattern for visa issuance

to orphans:

IR-3 Immigrant Visas IR-4 Immigrant Visas

Fiscal Issued to Paraguayan Issued to Paraguayan

Year Orphans Adopted Abroad Orphans Adopted in U.S.

FY-1990 281 30

FY-1991 189 2

FY-1992 302 5

FY-1993 379 3

FY-1994 479 4


Adoptions in Paraguay are the responsibility of the Protection

of Minors Directorate (DGPM) and the Paraguayan courts.


There are two types of adoptions in Paraguay, full and simple

adoptions. The majority of the U.S. cases are simple

adoptions. Simple adoptions transfer parental authority to the

adopting parents. Simple adoptions do not sever the child from

his biological patrimonial rights. Simple adoptions are easier

and processing is limited to the lawyer who prepares the

groundwork for a natural parent to release the baby at court.

Full adoptions only proceed when the baby is an orphan (of both

parents), abandoned or of unknown parents or the parental

rights were cancelled.

For four years following a domestic adoption, a follow-up home

study report must be received by the judge or social workers

designated by the judge three times a year. Foreign adoptive

parents who come to Paraguay to adopt will be sworn by

Paraguayan adoption judges to comply with this requirement

three times a year for four years, either through their

adoption agency, the Paraguay attorney or via whatever state

agency in the state of the parent(s) residence would be charged

with adoption issues. The Paraguayan lawyer who handles the

adoption case will be required to deposit a bond of three

hundred Paraguayan minimum wage with the judge to guarantee

that these follow-up home studies are actually performed.


If you are a single parent, you must be more than thirty-five

years of age. Single parents adopting a baby of her/his sex

must be at least thirty years older than the adoptive child.

If the parents are married, the age does not matter if they

have been married for at least five years and have no

children. Nobody older than sixty years can adopt.


Adoption in Paraguay can take 8 weeks from beginning to end.

However, delays of an additional 12 weeks or more are not

unusual. Recently, delays of 6 - 8 months appear to be the



The average cost for adopting a child in Paraguay is $15,000.

This includes the sums the adopting parents are asked to pay to

facilitate various states of the adoption process. It is

useful if American adoptive parents keep the Embassy and the

Department of State informed about exorbitant fees for



Lists of English speaking attorneys are available from the

American Embassy or the Department of State. Although a number

of U.S. based adoption agencies are involved in Paraguayan

adoptions, the Government of Paraguay has not specifically

authorized any U.S. based adoption agencies to place Paraguayan

children for adoption by U.S. citizens.


What Documents Does Paraguay Require:

certified copy of marriage certificate (if married)

certified copy of home study

power of attorney, if dealing with a lawyer; application if

dealing with an agency, with the name of the child to be adopted

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,


Translation Requirements:

All English language documents must be accompanied by a

certified Spanish translation.

Authentication Requirements:

In addition, all foreign (U.S.) documents, including

translation certificate, must be authenticated.

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 the

United States, then by U.S. Department of State Authentication

Office, then by the Paraguayan Embassy or Consulate.

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, the U.S. Department of State

Authentication Office, and the Paraguayan Embassy or


The U.S. Department of State Authentication 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.

It is advisable to bring several copies of the completely

authenticated documentation with you to Paraguay.


Embassy of Paraguay

Consular Section

2400 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20008

tel: (202) 483-6960

Consulate of Paraguay

7205 N.W. 19th St.

Miami, FL 33126

Consulate General of Paraguay

Consular Section

611 Gravier St., Suite 903

New Orleans, Louisiana 70103

Consulate General of Paraguay

Consular Section

1 World Trade Center, Suite 1609

New York, NY 10048

In addition, Paraguay has honorary consuls in Anchorage,

Alaska; Los Angeles, California; San Francisco, California;

Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan and San Juan, Puerto Rico.


Orphans adopted abroad who have been in the custody of the

adoptive parents less than two years require orphan petitions

for U.S. immigrant visa processing to enter the United States.

Get Started Early With U.S. Immigration Procedure:

Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that, whether they

identify a child prior to leaving the U.S. or locate the child

on a trip to Paraguay, certain very time consuming processes

will have to be completed before the required U.S. Immigration

petition(s) (either the preliminary I-600A or the final I-600

petitions) can be approved. These include, but are not limited

to satisfactory completion and submission to INS of a home

study of the adopting parent(s), compliance with any state

pre-adoption conditions and a fingerprint check by INS of those

parent(s), certified copy of prospective adoptive parents'

birth certificate in U.S. or other evidence of U.S.

citizenship; certified copy of marriage certificate (if

applicable); certified copy of death certificate or divorce

decree reflecting termination of previous marriage (if

applicable). It is therefore suggested that prospective

adopting parents get in touch with the INS office having

jurisdiction over their place or residence in the U.S. at the

earliest opportunity.

Unconditional Abandonment and Meeting the Definition of Orphan:

U.S. law provides for the immigration of children adopted

overseas by Americans under section 101(B)(1)(F) of the

Immigration and Nationality Act. The law states that an

eligible child must be under the age of sixteen at the time the

immigrant visa petition is filed. The child must have no

living parents or only one living parent who is incapable of

providing for the child according to local living standards and

has irrevocably released the child for emigration and

adoption. A child with two living parents can meet the

definition of an orphan only through the disappearance of,

abandonment or desertion by or separation or loss from both

parents. Abandonment of a child must be unconditional.

Agreeing to give a child up for adoption by a specific person

does not constitute unconditional abandonment, since the

parents are giving up custody with the understanding that the

child will be cared for and will be adopted by a particular

individual. The Board of Immigration Appeals of the U.S.

Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has ruled that a

child with one surviving parent who has not been abandoned may

qualify for orphan status only if the sole surviving parent is

destitute by local standards or is otherwise physically or

mentally unable to care for the child. This means that the

child may not be classified as an orphan unless the sole or

surviving parent cannot provide the child the nourishment and

shelter necessary for subsistence consistent with the local

standards of the child's place of residence. The parent must

also irrevocably release the child for emigration and

adoption. INS usually requires consular officers to

investigate the parent's inability to care for the child.

Consular Authority to Approve a Case:

;nder the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), consular

officers can only approve clearly approval I-600 petitions. 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.

Taking the Child to the U.S.:

The U.S. immigrant visa petition (I-600) may be filed for the

child at the U.S. Embassy in Asuncion or any INS office. If it

is filed at the Embassy, the petitioner (or at least one of the

members of a married adoptive couple) and the child must be

physically present in the consular district. The I-600 is

filed by one person, but if the petitioner is married, the

petitioner's spouse must also sign the petition. Both parties

must sign the I-600 after the child has been identified. This

means that if one party has already gone abroad to arrange the

adoption, the I-600 must be sent by the spouse abroad to the

spouse in the United States (generally by express courier). If

the petitioner is married and his or her spouse has not seen

the child before or during the adoption proceedings, then the

child must be readopted in the U.S. To do this, the petitioner

must show he or she has met state pre-adoption requirements.

INS makes this determination at the time the I-600A is filed or

it must be established that pre-adoption requirements have been

met at the time of filing the I-600 at the Embassy.

If the INS has already approved an I-600A advanced processing

application, the I-600 petition may be filed and adjudicated at

the post to which the I-600A was sent. If advanced approval

has not yet been granted, the I-600 petition must be forwarded

to the INS for adjudication. If so, as noted above, a home

study and fingerprinting of parent(s) and any state

pre-adoption requirements will be necessary, perhaps requiring

several months.

Scheduling Appointment With U.S. Consular Officer:

It is advisable to contact the Consular Section of the U.S.

Embassy in Asuncion 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 cannot guarantee

issuance of the visa in advance of the interview. If you are

outside the U.S. and the child has completed his medical

examination, you will have a preliminary interview with the

consular officer in order to complete form I-604 "Request for

and Report on Overseas Orphan Investigation". The child must

be present at the Embassy for the immigrant visa application.

The medical examination must be performed by a physician from

an approved list of physicians using a specified form. 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.

What Documents to Bring With You to U.S. Embassy:

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 Paraguayan authority.

4. Adoption decree or guardianship order issued by a judge

with the future purpose of a full adoption in the U.S.

5. Authorization from a Judge to permit the minor to leave


6. Valid Paraguayan 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. In cases 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 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 Paraguay. 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.


INS Fees for I-600 and I-600A Petitions: There is an INS fee

of $155 for an I-600 or I-600A petition. If you have a valid

I-600A and file an I-600 within one year 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 are

petitioning for more than one child and the children are not

siblings, the I-600 fee will be charged.

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. $12.00 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 does not include medical examinations,

costs of documents, the petition, etc. The American Embassy

does not accept personal checks or credit cards.


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".


Upon arrival in Paraguay 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 Paraguay including lists

of physicians, attorneys, interpreters and translators. The

American Embassy is located at 1776 Mariscal Lopez Ave.,

Casilla Postal 402, Asuncion, Paraguay, tel:

011-595-21-213-715; fax: 011-595-21-213-728.

QUESTIONS: Specific questions regarding adoptions in Paraguay

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