June 21, 2009
Re-adoption is the process by which an international adoption is reviewed and processed by a court in your state of residence, issuing a final adoption order. This process is a requirement in the case of a child who enters the US on an IR-4 visa.
Under USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) regulations, children who are not seen by both parents prior to their overseas adoptions are not considered to have full and final adoptions. The child must be re-adopted in the state where they reside. This rule applies even in cases where the foreign country considers the adoption to be final. When both parents have seen the adopted child, an IR-3 visa is issued and the child obtains automatic citizenship. However, in the case of a child who was not seen by all parents adopting, the child is issued an IR-4 visa; in which case, the USCIS will not issue automatic citizenship until the child is re-adopted in the state where they are residing.
Additionally, the JCICS (Joint Council on International Children’s Services) recommends re-adoption of all foreign adoptions for the following reasons:
- Re-adoption allows the adoptive parent to legally change the child’s name.
- Re-adoption allows the state to issue a new birth certificate for the child.
- Re-adoption provides protection to the adopted child with regards to inheritance rights.
- Re-adoption paperwork is more easily recognizable to schools and other organizations that require seeing adoption paperwork.
- Should adoption paperwork be lost or destroyed, it is more easily replaced than foreign adoption paperwork.
- The re-adoption process provides proof to the foreign country that you have provided all legal protection to the child that is available in the US.
The re-adoption process is a state judicial process and will vary from state to state. Please be sure to review your state’s requirements and processes or contact an attorney in your state of residence.
Your last and final step in an international adoption is the re-adoption of your child in the US. Please be sure to process your re-adoption once you have returned with your child, even if your adoption was considered final in the foreign country. You want to afford your adopted child with all the legal protection he or she deserves.