DaWo Assists Adoptive Family with Reuniting in Europe

Lin Yacong

Lin Yacong is a partner and is in charge of the firm’s Family Law.

DaWo has a private law department that accepts complex family law cases, often involving foreign and Chinese parties. Recently, though, we received a favorable court judgment allowing our Chinese clients (both PRC citizens) to reunite with their child in Europe. We believe this is an important case, so we decided to share it. Below is a breakdown of the facts of the case, the difficulties faced, and how we helped our clients navigate these difficult circumstances.

Background
Ms. A and Mr. B, both PRC citizens, legally adopted an orphaned child in China. Later, Ms. A and Mr. B decided to move to a country in Europe. Unfortunately, while the couple was able to successfully fulfill the requirements for their own relocation, they encountered significant difficulties with bringing their adopted child to Europe.

Difficulties
Because the adoption happened in China between a Chinese couple, the Chinese child was required to be duly registered with the appropriate bureau in China. This registration did not amount to a ‘judgment’. Rather, it was simply a government document indicating that the child was adopted and registered. Meanwhile, the European country required a specific ‘judgment’ from China that confirmed the adoptive relationship. So, even though the adoption was duly registered at the appropriate Civil Bureau, and there was no dispute over the adoption, there was no immediately practical way to obtain a court ‘judgment’ related to this.

What We Did
First, we performed an analysis of what proof our clients needed, and how we could work within the system to obtain it in a novel way. Ultimately, we were able to identify the Orphanage, as wel as the former guardian, and explain the situation on behalf of our client. After several rounds of negotiation, the Orphanage agreed to offer some limited support, despite the circumstances that would follow.

We then filed a case against the Orphanage to confirm the relationship of adoption. The Orphanage did not oppose. Accordinglly, the Court entered a summary judgment officially confirming the adoptive relationship between the couple and the adopted child.

With this now-effective court judgment, we were able to petition the government of the European country, which acknowledged the adoption and, after months of separation, our clients and their child were able to reunite in Europe.

What We Learned
Most importantly, it is necessary to seek advice from legal and other professionals during a highly complex situation such as an adoption. These things are difficult to handle on your own.

Next, always be aware that local policies differ from country to country, often drastically. As was the case here, if you have adopted a child in one country, and decide to live in another, the local authorities in the destination country most likely will not automatically acknowledge the relationship of adoption.

General Procedure of Intercountry Adoption
What is intercountry adoption? Intercountry adoption refers to the process by which you adopt a child from a country other than your own and then bring that child to your country of residence.

China is a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (“Hague Adoption Convention”). Intercountry adoption processing must be done in accordance with the requirements of the Hague Adoption Convention. Generally, this involves the following:

·Eligibility Check
·Application
·Background Check
·Review & Assessment
·Match & Placement
·Registration of Adoption

Adopting a child is a complicated journey. Our family law department has extensive experience with complex intercountry adoptions, since China is indeed one of the top countries of origin for intercountry adoption. If you or anybody you know have questions about these issues, we are here to help.