Children who are internationally adopted often must go through a process known as re-adoption in the United States. Depending on the child's adoption situation, re-adoption may or may not be necessary. However, even if it is not necessary to re-adopt, CCI highly recommends it for every adoptive child.
What is Re-Adoption?
Re-adoption, sometimes called domestication of a foreign adoption, is the legal means by which the United States government, as well as the various State governments, recognizes a foreign adoption.
Who Must Re-Adopt?
Children who entered the United States on an IR-4 visa MUST be re-adopted. IR-4 visas are issued to children whose adoptive parents did not see personally see and observe them during the adoption process prior to finalization in the country of origin. In addition, children coming from countries where the adoption is not finalized in country but rather is finalized in the United States also arrive on an IR-4 visa. Children who enter on an IR-4 Visa are lawful permanent residents of the United States, but not citizens. Therefore children with IR-4 Visas must be readopted.
Children who enter the United States on an IR-3 visa do not have to be re-adopted. IR-3 visas are issued to children whose adoptive parents (either the single parent or both of the married parents) personally saw and observed the child prior to the finalization of the adoption in the country of origin. Even though children who enter the United States on an IR-3 visa do not have to be readopted, CCI strongly recommends that the adoptive parents do readopt their child.
Why Should I Re-Adopt?
For children who enter the United States on an IR-4 Visa, re-adoption is not an option. It is a must in order to protect the child and his/her immigrant status and rights as an American. The problem of adult and teenage adoptees whose parents never re-adopted them is increasingly coming to light. While the instances are rare, cases of teenagers having problems obtaining a driver's license to adoptees who committed crimes and possibly face deportation have been known. The best thing you can do for your child is to make sure they obtain the United States Citizenship they are entitled to. While adoption professionals understand that the last thing an adoptive parent wants to do when they return home is more paperwork, it is essential for the safety of your child and for their convenience in daily life tasks that you obtain their citizenship.
Once re-adoption is complete, the adoptive parent will need to file for the Certificate of Citizenship (permanent) or at least obtain a U.S. Passport (not permanent) to have proof of citizenship. Neither can be done without re-adoption.
Even though children who enter the United States on an IR-3 visa do not have to be readopted, CCI strongly recommends that the adoptive parents do readopt their child. Why? While the reasons vary, perhaps the most convincing reason is for the child to be issued a United States birth certificate. Having a domestic birth certificate will go a long way in making life tasks such as registering for school and sports, obtaining a new copy of the birth certificate, providing proof of birth date to the Department of Motor Vehicles, and other such tasks much easier. One need only to ask a parent of a biological child born outside the United States why a domestic birth certificate is much more convenient to be convinced.
For more information provided by an attorney (though not legal advice), click here.
How and When Does One Re-Adopt Their Child?
Re-adoption procedures vary per state, and sometimes per county, and therefore it is best to consult your home study agency on how re-adoption is done in your state. For example, in some states one must hire an adoption attorney to conduct the re-adoption procedures while in other states the process could be as simple as filing paperwork at the local county clerk or there could be a different process entirely.
In addition to each state having various re-adoption practices, some states/areas require a certain amount of time for the child to be in the United States prior to re-adoption while in other states/areas, re-adoption can be done immediately.
Child Welfare Information Gateway: State Recognition of Intercountry Adoptions Finalized Abroad
Adoptive Families: When You Adopt Under the Laws of Another Country: U.S. Re-adoption Explained
Department of State: Non-Hague Visa Process
Links to Re-Adoption Professionals