Tips for dealing with authorities
As adoptive parents, you have to work a lot with public authorities for a while. Here are some tips from our experience and many conversations with other adoptive parents:
Be a fair partner
Your most important partners in the process are the central adoption office at the state youth welfare office and the responsible caseworker at ANDPDCA in Bucharest. Treat them with respect! Ask if you have any questions! Take advice seriously and discuss it!
Work on every task right away
The more time you take with each individual document, the longer it will take. Due to the large number of documents, there can be a delay of half a year to a full year just because of little delays. There is even a legal obligation to cooperate for you as parents.
Each public authority only knows its own area of law. Intercountry adoption is a rare case for many authorities. In Romania, your case may well be the first intercountry adoption for the caseworker on-site. Even in registry offices in Germany and Romania, there is not necessarily prior knowledge. The more you know yourself, the more you can prevent errors and delays.
A single process may not be urgent from the point of view of a public authority (e.g. immigration authority), but it will decide for you whether you will get to know your child a month earlier or later. In the event of delays, you should inquire early and, if in doubt, contact the respective authority management. Your tone should always remain friendly. Your goal is speedy processing, not blaming.
Know the legal basis
The better you know what your rights and obligations are, the better you can represent your interests as an adoptive parent. From our point of view, the following findings from the legal basis are particularly important (full list here ):
If you are reading one law in its entirety, it is the Hague Convention, as it is the framework for your intercountry adoption. I would like to highlight three articles in particular:
Article 4 makes clear that the best interests of the child are decisive for all decisions in the context of intercountry adoption (i.e. not your interests as an adoptive parent). This includes that national adoption has priority and only if this does not succeed, intercountry adoptions come into question.
Article 35 of the Hague Convention: “The competent authorities of the Contracting States shall act expeditiously in the process of adoption.” The State Youth Welfare Office and ANDPDCA acted in our case in an exemplary and expeditious manner. However, we also know of experience reports with considerable delays, in which one can refer to this regulation.
Article 20 of the Hague Convention creates a legal basis for the central adoption office in Germany to be kept informed about the adoption process by the central authority in Romania. So, there is a right to receiving updates, which the central adoption office can refer to in your interest when making inquiries.
You have the legal right that the state youth welfare office coordinates the intercountry adoption (matching requirement, §2a AdVermG ) and that the local youth welfare office issues the home study report (§7b AdVermG ). Your request for adoption from Romania must not be rejected or obviously delayed by a state youth welfare office or local youth welfare office.
Adoption according to the Hague Convention is immediately legally binding in Germany. This results from Article 23 of the Convention and from Section 1, Paragraph 2 of the AdWirkG . A recognition procedure before a German family court is not necessary.
If one of you has German citizenship, the adopted child immediately becomes a German citizen ( §6 StAG ).
You don't need a lawyer or an agency
Neither in Germany nor in Romania. In Romania this is offered by some lawyers/companies - it is not necessary. You can go through all the steps of adoption on your own.