On April 1, 2008, the United States became a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption, establishing international standards for inter-country adoptions to prevent the abduction, sale, or trafficking of children. Since that time, the rules for adoption under the Immigration Nationality Act for certain immigrant children have been significantly complicated.
This webinar seeks to provide practitioners with a practical overview of how the Hague Convention changes the rules of adoption and will cover the following topics: Convention Adoptions, Non-Convention Adoptions and Family Petitions (I-130 after the ratification); how the Inter-Country Adoption Act impacts adoptions for children residing in the US; how the Inter-country Adoption Act affects legal custody for children residing in the US; the role of the immigration attorney for Hague Convention Adoptions; Central Authorities: How to identify them and how to work with them; review of the flow chart provided by the US Central Authority for Incoming and Outgoing Cases; and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and the Hague Adoption Convention.
Karen S. Law – Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC
Karen Stoutamyer Law is an adoption attorney practicing in Virginia. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law in 1985 and became licensed in Virginia in that same year. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Virginia State Bar, and the Loudoun Bar Association. She also serves on the International Operations Committee for the American Immigration Lawyers Association and has co-chaired the annual celebration of adoption, Loudoun Adoption Day, for seven years. Mrs. Law represents adoptive parents and birth parents in private, agency, international, step-parent, and relative adoptions. She has been certified by the Virginia Supreme Court as a Guardian Ad Litem to represent the interests of children in adoptions throughout the Commonwealth. She often speaks at national conferences on Immigration issues and has a unique experience in both adoption and immigration law.
Irene Staffas – Law Offices of Steffas & Associates, P.C.
Irene Arfaras Steffas began her practice in 1983 in Texas with a focus on maritime law. Collisions at sea, salvage and Jones Act cases were wonderful to study, but not as interesting in real practice. Like a strong current, her deep family roots moved her back to her native state of Florida where she worked in a small civil law firm and volunteered to help a beloved colleague with her adoption caseload. After training Irene to respect the strength of birth mothers, attorney Linda Hochberg bequeathed her adoption practice to Irene.
In 1986, Irene founded the Law Firm of Irene Arfaras, P.A. The Law Firm of Irene Steffas, P.C. now specializes in all three fields of practice: adoption, immigration and assisted reproduction technologies. Irene is an expert in the area of intercountry adoptions and speaks at national conventions for the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (AAAA), the American Immigration Lawyers Associations (AILA) and state Continued Legal Education (CLE) seminars. Irene has also committed herself to assisting children in foster care who do not have legal immigrant status in the United States. Among other notable accomplishments, Irene participated in INS’s First Children’s Conference in 2000 (Irene was the only non-government attorney to participate in the conference). She has also been serving the US State Department, Bureau of International Information Program as a good will ambassador in such countries as Spain, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. Adoption agencies continue to seek Irene’s advice and assistance as they process visas for adopted children through the US Embassies, while foreign courts refer to Irene’s expertise as they request Legal Opinions on the rights of adopted children in the United States.
Irene is a member of: State Bar of Georgia, State Bar of Texas, State Bar of Florida, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (AAAA), Georgia Association of Licensed Adoption Agencies (GALAA).
Erin Quinn, Staff Attorney – Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC)
Erin brings to ILRC over 8 years of experience as an immigration defense attorney and holds a joint degree in law and public policy (JD/MPP) from the University of Michigan. Prior to opening her own practice in 2007, Ms. Quinn represented immigrants as an associate at the Law Office of Robert B. Jobe. Her experience in immigration law and policy includes working as a fellow for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, EU headquarters in Belgium; clerking for the Immigration Court of San Francisco; and guest lecturer at CSU Eastbay.