International Adoptions

Working with Poarch Law on Intercountry Adoption

Christine Lockhart Poarch teaches and publishes nationally on the orphan adoption process and works with McLane Layton of Equality for Adopted Children to provide well-considered, thorough immigration advice on orphan issues in international adoption.  Poarch Law handles all aspects of USCIS requests for evidence and notices of intent to deny, works with the family or advocates on the ground in-country to obtain critical evidence of orphan status, and prepares thorough, well-drafted briefs in response to USCIS requests.  Poarch Law consults on these cases nationally and all cases are handled on a flat fee basis.


While adopting a child from another country, you receive word that the in-country court has scheduled the final guardianship or adoption hearing. You make travel plans with your family to be in-country for just a few weeks. After all, once you appear for the in-country court proceeding, you are sure that this very long process will be almost over. You assume that the last step–procuring a visa from your own government, the United States–will be quick and painless.

Sometimes it is, and you are soon on your flight home, exactly as scheduled, with the newest addition to your family. Other times, your family is not so fortunate, and you spend weeks or months, thousands of dollars, and every ounce of patience trying to prove to the U.S. Department of State and ultimately, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), that your child truly is an orphan under U.S. law and eligible for a visa to enter the U.S.

In our experience, what agencies and adoptive parents don’t know about the orphan definition can hurt them and may risk the family’s completion of a successful intercountry adoption. Often, adoptive parents consult a seasoned immigration attorney after falling prey to common perils and pitfalls involved in designating a child as an orphan under U.S. law that could have been avoided.  To read more about the sorts of issues adoptive families encounter in intercountry adoption cases context, read Christine Lockhart Poarch’s articles (J. McLane Layton, Co-Author) here.

Avoiding the Perils and Pitfalls of Intercountry Adoption from Non­-Hague Countries: Considerations for Agencies and Adoptive Parents (Parts I & II)


Originally published in National Council for Adoption’s Adoption Advocate

Part I: The Orphan Definition: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You1



Part II: Orphan Processing: Navigating Road Blocks and Delays1