How to Adopt a Child from Japan

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Adopting a Japanese baby is difficult but not impossible. The Japanese culture takes adoption of children very seriously, especially when foreigners are involved. They believe in the strength of blood ties, so potential adoptive parents are thoroughly scrutinized. People who want to adopt a child from Japan should plan on spending at least nine months in country. A child must live with a potential adoptive parent for at least six months before the adoption can be fully approved.

Research Adoption Agencies

The first step in adopting a child in Japan is researching adoption agencies. A reputable adoption agency can help get everything started. They can even assist parents in getting setup in Japan for the six month waiting period. It?s important to avoid potentially predatory or greedy adoption agencies. One way to ensure a reputable adoption agency is chosen is to get a list from the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. They will be familiar with adoptions to American families.

Get Settled in Japan

There is no getting around this requirement. At least one parent must live in country during the time of the adoption. This means that one person will need a semi-permanent place of residence during the adoption. The child must live with at least one prospective adoptive parent for six months before an adoption decree can be issued. If both parents can take time off from work or work remotely for six to nine months, they will have an easier time navigating Japan together. Finding a place to live in Japan may seem like a difficult task. A good adoption agency or American-friendly travel agency can probably help with placement.

Legal Documents

With any adoption, there are a lot of legal documents involved. The first necessary form is the I-600A. It?s an application for the processing of an orphan petition. This is filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office. This should be filed before leaving for Japan. It may also be necessary to have a home study performed during this preliminary stage. Fingerprinting and background checks will be conducted. There will also be a great deal of paperwork in Japan. It is incredibly helpful to hire a Japanese adoption lawyer upon arriving in country. An adoption lawyer in Japan can be an indispensable asset for foreigners during this process. Once the adoption decree has been issued, it will be necessary to file for a passport on behalf of the child.

Cite this page: N., Sam M.S., "How to Adopt a Child from Japan," in, September 9, 2013, (accessed September 29, 2022).