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Detailed Adoption Information from Poland


INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION

POLAND

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 Poland and applying for an immigrant visa for the child to return to the United States. This process involves complex foreign and U.S. legal requirements. U.S. consular officers give each petition careful consideration on a case-by-case basis to ensure that the legal requirements of both countries have been met, for the protection of the prospective adoptive parent(s), the biological parent(s) and the child. Interested U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to contact U.S. consular officials in Poland before formalizing an adoption agreement to ensure that appropriate procedures have been followed which will make it possible for the Embassy to issue a U.S. immigrant visa for the child.

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 Polish              Issued to Polish
Year      Orphans Adopted Abroad        Orphans Adopted Abroad

FY-1992            101                            8
FY-1993             67                            3
FY-1994             90                            4
FY-1995             30                            0

POLISH ADOPTION AUTHORITY:

Publiczny Osrodek Adopcyjno Opiekunczy,
ulica Nowogrodzka #75
02-018 Warszawa

Phone/fax-(011)(48)(2)621-1075

Director: Elzbieta Podczaska

The director does not speak English but some of her staff does. They prefer to receive documents already translated into Polish but do accept those which are not. The central adoption authority maintains a list of all children residing in orphanages who are available for adoption. They require proof of marriage (as well as any divorces), financial statements, a letter stating whether or not either member of a couple has been arrested and why, birth certificates, and confirmation that the INS has approved their adoption petition. They will often call the Embassy to confirm this. In addition, the Polish courts have recently begun asking for a copy of the State adoption requirements to confirm that the interested couple meets them.

POLISH ADOPTION PROCEDURES:

Adoption of children from orphanages and directly from birth parents is allowed in Poland. In both cases, the presiding judge will first determine if a suitable search has been made for an adoptive Polish family. For that reason, Polish-Americans with dual citizenship or with Polish ancestry may not have as long of a wait for a child as non-Poles. For this reason, the Polish government also looks favorably on relative to relative adoptions.

Orphanage Adoptions - An application and supporting documents are submitted to the Central Adoption Commission. Any age, sex, or disability preferences are noted at that time. When the commission identifies a child(ren) which meet the adopting family's criteria, and for whom no Polish family can be found, they will notify the next available family on the list. A petition to adopt is filed with the Polish court in the region where the child resides. It is rarely possible to switch jurisdictions. Once the hearing has been held, and the adoption is approved, there is a 21-day waiting period before the adoption is finalized. Once the adoptive parents have the final court decree, they may apply for a Polish ppt for the child and proceed to the Embassy.

Direct Adoptions - An adoptive family which has identified an orphan child on their own must petition the court in the child's region to be considered as adoptive parents. The court will arrange to have an appropriate gov. official observe the interaction between the child and prospective parents before agreeing to consider their case. If the adoptive parents wish to take temporary custody of the child pending a final court decision, they must request court approval to do so BEFORE TAKING CUSTODY. With direct adoptions the court may take special care to ensure that a suitable Polish family is not available. Polish-Americans with dual citizenship may file a request with the court to be considered as Poles for the purposes of adoption. The court procedure and waiting period are the same as for children adopted from orphanages.

NOTE: Direct adoptions used to be fairly simply and common in Poland. A change in Polish law which gave judges greater power to take the time necessary, and request as many documents as they feel necessary to determine that the foreign adoptive family is the best one for the child has made these adoptions more difficult and time-consuming. We do not recommend them.

AGE AND CIVIL STATUS REQUIREMENTS:

There is nothing in Polish law stating age requirements of adoptive parents. However, in practice, mothers may be up to 40 years older than the child, and fathers up to forty-five years older. There is no discrimination against single applicants and no stated discretion against non-Catholics. However, the Justice Ministry representative with whom we spoke said that they will honor requests by the birth parents to place their child in a Catholic home.

DOCUMENTARY REQUIREMENTS:

All adoptive families must have copies of their birth certificates (and certificates of naturalization if born abroad), marriage certificate, any divorce decrees, a statement of "good conduct" from the police dept. where they reside, proof of adequate finances (tax docs., bank statements), INS approval and a copy of the adoption laws in their state (preferably translated into Polish). Judges may also ask for a copy of the family's home study.

POLISH EMBASSY IN THE UNITED STATES:

2640 16TH Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009.

Tel: 202-234-3800.

U.S. EMBASSY IN POLAND:

Aleje Ujazdowskie 29/31; AmEmbassy Warsaw, Box 5010, Unit 1340, APO AE 09213-1340.

Tel: (48) (2) 628-3041.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Prospective adoptive parents are strongly encourage to consult Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) publication M-249, "The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children," as well as the Department of State publication, "International Adoptions."

QUESTIONS:

Specific questions regarding adoptions in Poland 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.

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