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When You Need an International Re-Adoption
International re-adoption refers to the act of finalizing your child’s adoption in the United States after gaining custody in the child’s country of birth. While re-adoption is rarely a requirement, it is highly recommended that all parents adopting internationally complete the formal re-adoption process. Read the sections below to learn about re-adoption and why all international adoptive parents are encouraged to pursue it.
What is Re-Adoption?Re-adoption is the process of having your foreign adoption reviewed by a court in your state. Once the court confirms that the adoption complies with state laws, they will issue your child a new adoption decree and birth certificate. In international adoption, the terms “finalization” and “re-adoption” are often used interchangeably. While the two processes are fairly similar, finalization is a requirement and re-adoption is usually not. Whether or not you are required to finalize your adoption in the United States will depend on the visa your child was given.
If your child received an IH-4 or IR-4 visaYour child will receive an IH-4 or IR-4 visa if you are adopting from certain countries, or if only one of two parents is present to meet the child in his or her country of birth. When this occurs, a country will often grant the parent legal custody and an IH-4 visa, which states that the child is travelling to the United States to be adopted. In these cases, you are required to complete your adoption in the United States. This means that you will have to fill out a form N-600 (Application for Certificate of Citizenship) as well. Once you complete this form and all of the necessary adoption proceedings of your state, your child’s adoption will be official, and he or she will legally be a United States citizen. It is imperative that you remember to finalize your child’s adoption in the United States and establish his or her citizenship. Failure to do so can lead to significant legal issues, especially as he or she grows older.
If your child received an IH-3 or IR-3 visaIf your child is issued an IH-3 or IR-3 visa, it means that both parents were present and the adoption was completed in the child’s birth country. The IH-3 or IR-3 visa indicates that the formal adoption process was carried out and finalized. You will also receive a state-issued birth certificate for your child. If your child’s adoption was completed abroad, it is still highly recommended that you go through the re-adoption process. International re-adoption ensures that your parental rights are protected everywhere in the United States. Some states may not recognize the adoption decree issued by your child’s country of birth, and re-adoption makes sure that your child’s citizenship is unquestionable. Other benefits of pursuing a re-adoption include:
- Receipt of an adoption decree in English
- Procurement of a legal name change (if desired)
- Protection from changes in foreign laws
- Ease of daily tasks, such as claiming the child as a dependent for tax purposes, applying for a driver’s license, and much more