You can! If you are able to meet the following criteria, there are many instances where you can file a family petition for your adopted child:

  1. You have a full and final decree of adoption.
  2. You get this adoption decree before the child turns 16.
  3. You reside with the child for two years.
  4. You have legal custody, even a guardianship, for two years.

We run into problems when people seek to adopt from countries that do not allow adoption decrees to be issued. USCIS does not accept guardianship orders in lieu of adoption decrees (I think they’re wrong about this by the way.)

If you have been told by a qualified and experienced immigration attorney that an orphan petition is not going to work for you, you could consider obtaining an adoption decree from a third country, one which does allow adoptions. You can use this as a basis for the filing of a family petition.