Law Offices of Karen S. Law PLC

Our Practice is limited to Adoption and Immigration. We provide expert, efficient, compassionate legal services for adoptive and birth parents.

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 co-chairs the Intercountry Adoption Committee for the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and has co-chaired the annual celebration of adoption, Loudoun Adoption Day, for eight 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. Serving clients in Loudoun County, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Arlington County, Alexandria, Frederick County, Albermarle County, Culpeper County, Dinwiddie County, Pittsylvania County, Rockingham County, Shenandoah County, Spotsylvania County, Stafford County, Warren County, Westmoreland County, Virginia Beach and throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Honduras Ratifies the 1993 Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption


Honduras will fully be a part of the Hague starting July 1, 2019

If you started the intercountry adoption process before July 1, 2019, by filing a Form I-600 or I-600A or obtaining a final order of adoption of a child in Honduras you may be able to continue using the non-hague process to process your intercountry adoption with USCIS. These are referred to as transition cases. If your case is not eligible to proceed as a transition case, you will need to use the Hague process.

If your home-study is not complete, according to the USCIS you may file the I-600A and you have 1 year after it is filed to complete and submit your home-study. On March 6, 2019, Honduras ratified the Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption Convention (Hague Adoption Convention.) The Convention will enter into force for Honduras on July 1, 2019. The Department is determining if the United States may proc...

2017-2018 Adoption Cost and Timing Survey Web survey powered by Create your own online survey now with SurveyMonkey's expert certified FREE templates.

How do I claim my adopted child with out a social security number?

1) If you child is a U.S. Citizen go to and fill out the W-7A form before filing your taxes (do that now since it can take up to a month to process)

2) If your child is not a U.S. Citizen then while you are filing fill out the W-7 and then in the SS# space fill in applied for.

Top Women Faculty of 2018

Karen Law was featured this year as Top Women Faculty of 2018 in the Lawline Blog! Check out the article here! Check out Lawline's top women faculty of 2018 - great women attorneys teaching impactful CLE.

Adoption Scam / Adoption Fraud

A helpful article. Make sure to do your research, know what questions to ask and are being represented by a reliable agency/attorney. Adoption scams or adoption frauds are not uncommon. Can be perpetrated by pregnant, or supposedly pregnant women; by adoption agency, attorney, or facilitator; or by adoptive parents.

American Adoptions - Adoption Home Study Questions and Answers

Frequently asked questions about Home Studies Answers to the most common questions adoptive families have regarding the home study, the home study process and what is required to complete the study.

Adopting Out of Birth Order Should you disrupt the birth order of the children in your family when you adopt older kids or sibling groups? Resources/tips for adoptive parents.

[02/18/19]   2019 #adoptiontaxcredit numbers released $14k credit helps #adoptivefamilies adopt. thanks to #aaaa for working to make this happen for families!

Love Is Sacrifice: A Foster Mom's Journey

One of my Foster Care Parents wrote and published a book on her experience being a foster care parent. Follow the link below to check it out! Exploring the complexities of foster care and the adoption of older children, my story exemplifies serving the Lord and trusting him even when darkening circumstances crush hope for a happy ending. This is my testimony of love, loss, conflict and restoration. All names and locations have been cha...

Navigating Systems to Build Stronger Families
Families formed through foster care, adoption, and kinship
care, as well as social services and education professionals are
invited to a day of learning and fun!
Saturday, April 27, 9:00am-2:00pm
Science & Technology Campus of GMU, Manassas, VA
"Family Strong: Five ways to Fight the Fear, Beat the Burnout,
and Stay Focused for the Long Haul" keynote by Wendy
Besmann of Team Up for Families
Breakout sessions, activities for kids, and lunch provided
Learn more and register at

The Adoption Tax Credit Webinar Recording What is the adoption tax credit, what expenses qualify, and how do I claim it? Listen to this webinar recording from Becky Wilmoth, EA, Adoption Tax Credit Specialist®

Latvia: Latvian Government Clarifies Transition Case Processing After Passing New Adoption Regulations On November 8, 2018, the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers enacted new adoption regulations that restrict which children may be eligible for intercountry adoption. The new regulations restrict which children may be eligible for intercountry adoption and limit intercountry adoption to children in three gr...

Kyrgyzstan Notice: Suspension of All Adoption Service Providers The Kyrgyz government notified the U.S. Department of State that it has suspended the accreditation of all foreign Adoption Service Providers (ASPs) operating in the country. Although the Kyrgyz Ministry of Labor and Social Development’s (MLSD) notice (see below) only cited a failure to submit pos...

Reminder: Senegal’s Suspension on Intercountry Adoption Continues The Office of Children’s Issues has received recent inquiries from adoption service providers and prospective adoptive parents expressing interest in intercountry adoption in Senegal. However, Senegal’s adoption authority, Directrice de l’Education Suveillée et de la Protection Sociale (DESPS...

Opinion | The White House Can Help Foster Kids

Here is a quote from a great article written in the Wall Street Journal by: Naomi Schaefer Riley "The federal government could also help foster care children find permanent homes by lowering barriers to adopting children across state lines and prohibiting discrimination against religious organizations". Enforce existing laws from the 1990s that require quick placement and bar racial discrimination.

[01/08/19]   With tax season approaching there may be some families who have adopted in 2018 but their finalization was not able to be processed before the end of the year. That means they will not have an issued Social Security Number in time. Here are what those families need to do: Contact the IRS, they can issue you an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number. The form you need to fill out is the W-7A which can be found at
It can take up to 8 weeks to receive the ATIN so fill the form out ASAP!

Adoptions Powered by Algorithms

Great article in the Wall Street Journal about a new way to match up children in foster care with their forever families. A new online program designed by former eHarmony researchers generates “compatibility scores” to try to better match prospective parents and children.

🎄Happy Holidays from our office to your Family!

Opinion | The White House Can Help Foster Kids Enforce existing laws from the 1990s that require quick placement and bar racial discrimination.

Children at the Border

SIJS Processing Times Updates

I've filed a number of SIJS cases since May 2017 with no action. Under TVPRA 2008, those cases are supposed to be decided within 6 months and that is what we used to see. However, a number of factors have created the perfect storm to slow down decisions by USCIS.

SIJS cases are now all routed to the National Benefits Center, instead of decided at local Field Offices. There was a huge influx of children from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador fleeing gang violence and unsafe conditions beginning in 2014: Many of those children applied for this pathway to a lawful permanent resident card. This pathway differs from asylum in that it is limited to children who have been abandoned, abused or neglected by one or more of their birth parents. They also have to be under the age of 18 (unless their state court extends eligibility to age 21), be placed under the custody of an individual or placed in foster care, and it has to be found that it would not be in their best interests to return to their home country.

Children at the Border - The New York Times
Since Jan. 1, more than 43,000 unaccompanied minors have been placed with sponsors, usually parents or relatives. They remain there while their cases are being processed.

Centralization of these cases at the National Benefits Center is designed to lead to more consistent decisions, unlike in the past when similar facts would lead to different results based on which local office decided the case. However, centralization combined with a huge influx of cases have led to long delays in decisions.

Many of my clients are desperate to get authority to work, apply for college, obtain a driver's license or otherwise move on with their lives. In all of my cases, the children have actually been adopted by U.S. citizens. However, due to the delays, they are stuck in limbo.

At the fall AILA D.C. Regional Conference last week, we discussed this problem. Other practitioners report that there is no meaningful way to check the status of their case because processing times for the I-360 form decided at the National Benefits Center are not listed on the web-site. If they call the USCIS Customer Service Number, they are told to make an Infopass appointment at their local office. This is not helpful because the case is not located at the local office. One Customer Service staffer told my client to write a letter to the Vermont Service Center to inquire about the case status. This was completely erroneous because the case is being processed at a different location, the National Benefits Center. We have also found that inquires from U.S. Senators or Representatives and the USCIS Ombudsmen's Office lead to canned responses that the cases are being worked on and are in the queue.

We applaud the efforts to bring consistency to the process through centralization at the National Benefits Center. However, we strongly suggest that USCIS update the web-site and train customer service representatives to give more accurate information about case status. These vulnerable children deserve that. The number of children crossing the U.S. border alone has doubled since last year. Answers to key questions on the crisis.

We would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! We hope everyone has a fun, safe holiday filled with love!

SIJS PROCESSING TIMES UPDATE breaking news about adoption, intercountry adoption, immigration, children in crisis, adoptive parents profiles, articles, foster care

AILA DC Chapter Annual Conference - November 7, 2018

2018 AILA D.C. Regional Conference, November 7, 2018, Please select the button below to read more and register.


Read our newest post written by Karen S. Law about 2 issues in close relative adoptions in 2018. #relativeAdoptions breaking news about adoption, intercountry adoption, immigration, children in crisis, adoptive parents profiles, articles, foster care

Certificate Of Citizenship for Your Internationally Adopted Child

We can help you resolve complicated #childcitizenship problems This page contains guidance on what to do if your child has not received a Certificate of Citizenship or you have lost it or changes need to be made.

Certificate Of Citizenship for Your Internationally Adopted Child

Problems with #certificateofcitizenship This page contains guidance on what to do if your child has not received a Certificate of Citizenship or you have lost it or changes need to be made.

Certificate Of Citizenship for Your Internationally Adopted Child

#US citizen #adoptedchild must take #oathofallegiance? Yes if 14 or older when they arrive This page contains guidance on what to do if your child has not received a Certificate of Citizenship or you have lost it or changes need to be made.

Great resource on #citizenship one day #sale

Citizenship Day Sale
September 17, 2018
Today only, save 10% on all publications.
You must use code CITIZENSHIP2018 at checkout.

This discount is only valid on September 17, 2018.
Discounts cannot be applied to previously purchased products.
The 10% discount does not apply to already discounted publications, e.g. student text books.

[09/04/18]   AILA Fall Conference
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
University of Maryland Shady Grove Conference Center in Rockville, MD

Karen S. Law will be speaking on International Adoption

TexasBarCLE - Texas Continuing Legal Education

Register Now!

Handling Your First (or Next) Termination and Adoption (live)
Austin - Nov 29, 2018

2018 Silent Victims | Duke University School of Law

Silent Victims: Foster Care and Foster Care Adoption in America
Friday, November 16, 2018
Duke Law School Room 3041
8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

For more information:

80231ER | Live Seminar | Adoption Law: Start to Finish

Register Today!
Adoption Law: Start to Finish
Fairfax, Virginia
October 9, 2018

Presented by:
Barbara C. Jones
Karen S. Law
Jessica Ostrander
Stanton Phillips Adoption is an emotional process for all the parties involved. Are you prepared to assist and guide your clients through this highly emotional time in their lives? Whether you represent the birth parents or the adoptive parents, our faculty will update you on the latest adoption laws, help you under...

Title 63.2. Welfare (Social Services)

No #homestudy after 2 years for #closerelative #adoption in #Virginia Table of Contents » Title 63.2. Welfare (Social Services) » Chapter 12. Adoption » § 63.2-1242.3. Close relative placement; child in home for two years or more

LawAdoption Blog

"I often am asked if a particular agency is a reputable agency. The number one piece of advice that I offer is to always use a licensed adoption agency if you are considering placing a child for adoption OR if you are seeking to adopt."

Law Offices of Karen S. Law PLC

Adoption Webinars | Post-Adoption Information | America World Adoption

May 18, 2018 2pm EST webinar on child citizenship. Sign up here! Looking for post-adoption information and resources? Join our experts for webinars on "Trauma & Loss in Adoption", "Citizenship & Re-Adoption", and "Siblings and Adoption" to get a wealth of information about these important topics. Register today as space is limited!

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