Adoption in Japan
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- For those thinking of adopting in Japan, there are several things to consider before taking on a commitment of this kind. First, it is important to know that there are two kinds of adoption in Japan: Regular and Special adoptions.
A Regular occurs when the minor child is a descendant of one of the adoptive parents. It does not fully sever the tie between the child and their biological parents, and may not meet U.S. Visa requirements. Special adoptions do sever ties to the biological family, and is the route most U.S. citizens should go with if they are thinking of adopting.
Once a decision has been made to adopt, an individual must petition with the Family Court that has jurisdiction over the child's residence in Japan. Generally, a hearing will be scheduled after a six-month trial period. If the court decides after this period to let the family adopt, they will notify the family, who will then need to register the adoption at the City or Ward office. If the biological parents do not object within two weeks, the adoption will be considered final.
It's important to note that single parents need special permission from the Family Court in order to adopt. It's also important to remember that you will need several documents in order to file for an adoption, including your birth certificate, passport, military ID, criminal record report, biographic history report, certificate of legal address and employment, copy of property ownership, character references, and pictures of yourself and family members.
Under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, children adopted abroad are automatically considered U.S. citizens if the child is under the age of 18. There is no need to file separately for the child's naturalization.
Lastly, some of your adoption expenses may be reimbursed up to $2,000 per child, without exceeding $5,000 per calendar year. While this will not cover all of your adoption-related expenses, it helps ease the cost of your Japanese adoption. It will cover expenses such as agency fees, legal fees, placement fees, and medical expenses. Travel costs and personal items are not included in the expenses covered under Federal law.