Poland Adoption Services
Poland, a central European nation with a land area of 312,679 square kilometers and a population of 38.5 million, is the 6th largest nation in the European Union and the largest among the group of former Communist countries that joined the EU after the breakup of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union. Poland also enjoys a dynamic economy with a growth rate that has consistently outpaced that of other EU nations since it joined the union in 2004.
Poland’s history as a nation state dates back to the late 10th Century when ruler Mieszko I converted to Christianity. The Kingdom of Poland was established in 1025. The country remained independent for more than 700 years and was further enlarged in 1569 with the established of the Poland-Lithuania Commonwealth. Between 1772-1795 Poland was gradually partitioned among Prussia, Austria, and Russia and only regained its independence in 1918, after WWI. After little more than three decades of freedom, Poles once again found themselves invaded at the outset of WWII in September 1939, this time by Germany. The German Blitzkrieg quickly overwhelmed the Polish army, and Poland was partitioned between Germany and the Soviet Union. Following WWII, Poland became a satellite state of the Soviet Union. 1980 saw the rise of Solidarity, the first independent trade union in the East Bloc. Rising labor unrest during the decade eventually led to the first free elections since prior to WWII and the election of Lech Walesa, the leader of Solidarity, as president of Poland and its withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact, an event that quickly resulted in the fall of other Communist governments in the region.
- Adoption between the United States and Poland is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Poland, you must first be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The application process for USCIS approval includes completing the I-800A document for advanced processing and submitting that with the appropriate supporting documents.
- Currently, Polish judges require both adoptive parents to have met the child prior to adoption. In rare cases, a judge may permit an adoption when only one prospective parent has met the child prior to adoption. In such cases, the documentary requirements for prospective parents will differ slightly.
In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive
parents, Poland also has the following requirements for prospective
- Age Requirements: Under Polish law, there are no formal, legal restrictions on the age of prospective adoptive parents. In practice, however, prospective adoptive parents may be up to 40 years older than the child.
- Marriage Requirements: Both married and single prospective adoptive parents are permitted to adopt a child in Poland, although married couples are given preference.
- Other Requirements: Non-Catholic prospective adoptive parents are permitted to adopt a child in Poland, but catholic families are given priority.
- The entire process may take a year or more. Two trips to Poland may sometimes be necessary before all requirements are completed. There is a 21-day appeal period between the time of the final adoption hearing and the time the court’s decision goes into legal force. At the judge’s discretion, this appeal period may be shortened to 14 days. In general, prospective adoptive parents can expect to stay in Poland for at least four to six weeks before they can obtain all proper documentation and a new passport for the child.
- Families are required to be in Poland approximately 6 weeks continuously in a single trip. Although long, one parent can return to the US after 3 weeks. If a family remains in Poland for the entire adoption process, they will maintain custody of their children. During the 6-week period, the family will meet the child and appear in court. During most of this time, the family will be able to live and bond with the child.
- Parents who have been divorced in the past are permitted to adopt from Poland only at the discretion of the Ministry.
- Parents should normally plan to travel 2-3 days before the first court hearing, when they will get to meet the child for the first time. The adoptive parents will travel to the town where the child resides, and will have a meeting at the local Adoption Center. During this meeting parents are informed about the health of the child, including physical and psychological development. If you are considering a special needs child, you will be given information prior to your first trip and given the opportunity to ask additional questions before agreeing to travel to meet the child. Usually a representative of a local Adoption Center, psychologist, medical doctor, educator, and legal guardian of the child are present, so the Adoptive Parents can ask them any additional questions. The Polish side will also ask some questions – just to get know the family. Parents will then go directly to the orphanage or foster home to see the child. They will be able to spend the rest of the day with the child, and visit him/her in the orphanage or foster home over the next few days. A representative of the Adoption Center will prepare the opinion regarding your First Contact with the child, which is then submitted to the court.
- After this process, the first court hearing takes place and the Judge sets a trial/waiting period, (usually 2 weeks). The second hearing date is set for the end of that trial period.
- The Judge may decide that the first hearing is a closed session, which means you do not take part in the court. In this case the Judge will send our agent formal information about the trial period (when and how long it is going to be) and the date of second hearing.
- During the trial/waiting period, parents will stay at the hotel or in an apartment, if possible.
- Adoptive Parents are allowed to take the child for the entire trial period and at least one of the parents will stay in Poland for the entire trial period.
- During the trial period, the Adoptive Parents and child are visited, (usually twice), by a professional appointed by the Judge (this is usually a representative of local adoption center, or a social worker), to evaluate the parent-child contact, and prepare a report for the Judge.
- At the second hearing Adoptive Parents are asked about their final decision regarding the adoption.
Up until this time parents have the right to change their decision, and stop
the adoption procedure. If Parents say “yes” they want to adopt this child, they officially become the legal parents for the child. After the second hearing, the Appeal Period begins (14 or 21 days, depending on judge’s decision). At this time the family may move to Warsaw for the rest of the process.
- Our agent will receive the court’s final decision, and the new birth certificate from the Registry is given, based on court’s decision.
- After the Appeal Period the Adoptive Parents will apply for passport and visa for their Adoptive Child. They will have to fill in a passport form, and both parents must sign it in the presence of the passport office worker. If both of the Adoptive Parents do not remain in Poland, one of the parents may apply for the passport, if they have a Power of Attorney from the spouse who could not travel.
- When the passport is ready the parents can pick it up from the passport office. Once they obtain the passport, they need to take the child to the medical doctor appointed by the Embassy. The parents can then make an Embassy appointment for the American visa. Our In-Country Representative will assist the family through the entire process.
- More information can be found