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The Readoption of Foreign-Born Children

 Posted on September 01, 2017 in Adoption

DuPage County adoption attorneysDespite the occasional controversy on the subject, U.S. citizens adopt foreign-born children fairly regularly. The regulations differ when negotiating depending on the country, as one might expect; however, the requirements that must be met upon reentry to the U.S. are the same. It is sadly common for a foreign-born adoptee to experience citizenship-related issues, though many can be solved by going through what is referred to as a readoption. It is usually not required to do so by law in Illinois, but it can prevent future issues for you and your adopted child.

Was the Adoption Completed?

Illinois does not require any further adoption proceedings if you completed the process abroad and abide by all immigration regulations. Yet, a readoption is the easiest way to quiet any potential citizenship issues before they even happen. It is sometimes referred to as an official recognition of a foreign judgment, which gives a clue to its purpose. If you travel to a foreign country and adopt a child, completing the process overseas, that is usually good enough for U.S. government to consider that child a citizen. However, if you are able and choose to bring the child to the U.S. for the purpose of completing the process (and, obviously, coming to live), recognition of the foreign judgment is usually required, because the process has not yet been completed to the satisfaction of the U.S. government.

There are two major reasons why many couples choose to go through a readoption even if it is not strictly necessary under Illinois law. The first is to ensure the adoption is recognized; not all states will grant full faith and credit to a foreign adoption decree, but are required by federal law to recognize one granted in another state.

The second and arguably most important reason is to obtain tangible proof of their child’s citizenship status. A birth certificate is not considered proof of citizenship because the child was not born in the United States. However, a birth certificate can be used, along with other documentation, to obtain a passport or Certificate of Citizenship. Without a birth certificate, the process to obtain proof of citizenship will take much longer.

Immigration Concerns

It is important to keep in mind one distinction that can cause serious issues if ignored: the immigrant visa with which your child enters the United States essentially governs whether or not a readoption or validation is required by law. Illinois does not require readoption once you have a foreign decree, but if the adoption has not been finalized at the time the child enters the U.S., you will not have a decree.

There are two possible visa designations that your child may receive for their move to the United States. An IR-3 visa is the most common, and it specifies that the holder is an immigrant, having been through a completed adoption abroad. An IR-4 visa, by comparison, is for those who are coming to the United States for the specific purpose of being adopted. An IR-4 visa holder must go through a readoption or validation while an IR-3 holder may do so if they desire but are not required to by law.

An Adoption Attorney Can Help

Adopting a child can be one of the most rewarding experiences of one’s life, and it is imperative that everything go right. Enlisting the help of an experienced lawyer can make a difference. The skilled Lombard adoption attorneys at A. Traub & Associates can help answer any questions you may have, and offer suggestions as to where you should go from here. Contact us today to set up a consultation.



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