April 7, 2010
Update from the Department of State
The U.S. Embassy in Monrovia has been informed by the Government of Liberia that it will issue exit clearances, on a case-by-case basis, to children whose full and final adoption had been completed prior to January 26, 2009 and approved by Liberia’s Ad-hoc Central Adoption Authority.
Prospective adoptive parents who believe their case might fall into this category should contact the Consular Section at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss next steps in the visa process and any gaps in their adoption file. Additionally, the Government of Liberia is requiring that all adoptive parents appear personally for the exit clearance interview. Processing the visa and obtaining the exit clearance takes about a week of time, but adoptive parents are advised to purchase open-ended return tickets, as there is no guarantee as to how quickly the exit clearance can be obtained.
Prospective adoptive parents and adoption service providers are reminded that a consular officer is required, by law, to complete a For I-604 (determination of orphan status) before issuing a visa in all IR-3 and IR-4 adoption cases. In some cases, this may require only a conversation with the birth parent, but in others it may require a full field investigation, possibly lasting several weeks. Since verifying the parent-child relationships in Liberia is difficult, we also expect that in most cases where the child was relinquished by the birth parent, DNA testing will be recommended in order to establish a blood relationship between the adopted child and claimed birth parent(s).