International Re-Adoption – Protecting Your Child’s Rights


International Re-Adoption

When you adopt a child, he or she becomes a legal and permanent member of your family. This is true for all types of adoption — but if you adopt internationally, additional legal steps may be necessary to fully protect your family from future legal challenges.

If you recently completed an international adoption in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, D.C., it is strongly encouraged that you take those additional steps with an international re-adoption. In this article, learn more about the international re-adoption process, why you should complete it, and how Peter can help.

What is International Re-Adoption?

Essentially, re-adoption means that your state has reviewed your international adoption and will legally recognize your parent-child relationship. This process provides a U.S. birth certificate to your child and ensures that his or her citizenship and adoption will never be challenged in a United States court.

Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., do not require families to re-adopt in order for their international adoption to be legally recognized. However, you may need to complete the re-adoption process depending on the type of visa your child received:

  • If your child received an IR-3 visa, he or she should automatically be granted a certificate of citizenship. This means that re-adoption is not required, though it still strongly recommended.
  • If your child received an IR-4 or IHR-4 visa, you will need to submit certain paperwork to obtain a certificate of citizenship for your child, including a re-adoption decree issued by a U.S. court. In these cases, a re-adoption is required to prove that your adoption is legally recognized in the United States.

If you are uncertain about the type of visa your child received, or if you need help determining whether a re-adoption is required in your circumstances, contact Peter to learn more about international re-adoption requirements.

The International Re-Adoption Process

While re-adoption is not always a requirement, it is strongly encouraged for every family who has adopted internationally. It is a relatively simple and cost-effective way to protect your family and ensure your adoption is never challenged.

Peter can provide all of the services necessary to complete your international re-adoption in Virginia, Maryland, or Washington, D.C., including:

  • Filing the adoption petition: Peter will file a petition with the court to initiate the adoption process. The petition will state that the child was lawfully adopted abroad and entered the United States legally.
  • Submitting documentation: Peter will gather and submit the required documents to the court, including a copy of the foreign adoption decree and a copy of your child’s visa, certificate of citizenship, or other proof that he or she entered the United States legally.
  • Finalizing the adoption in court: Peter will arrange a finalization hearing and notify you when it is time to appear in court to finalize the international re-adoption.
  • Obtaining a new birth certificate: Peter can help you obtain a state-issued U.S. birth certificate and social security number for your child. This social security number will allow you to claim your child as a dependent on your taxes, and having a U.S. birth certificate can simplify many everyday tasks, such as enrolling in school.

Re-adoption may seem overwhelming, especially following a long international adoption process. However, Peter can complete the entire process in a matter of weeks, guiding you through each step along the way.

The Benefits of International Re-Adoption

There are many reasons to re-adopt following your international adoption. Most importantly, re-adoption is a simple process that provides your family with a sense of security and the peace of mind that your adoption won’t face legal challenges later on. Here are some of the other major benefits of international re-adoption:

  • You will be able to legally change your child’s name and obtain a state-issued birth certificate, which will make it easier for your child to enroll in school, obtain a driver’s license, apply to college, and more.
  • It is easier to obtain copies of a U.S. birth certificate or domestic adoption decree than it is to obtain copies of a foreign birth certificate or adoption decree.
  • Re-adoption helps ensure your child’s inheritance rights are protected and may provide some tax benefits for your family.
  • Some states require a re-adoption before legally recognizing a foreign adoption. This process ensures your child’s adoption will not be challenged anywhere in the United States.

To learn more about the benefits of international re-adoption and the process to re-adopt in Virginia, Maryland, or the Washington metropolitan area, contact Peter to schedule a free consultation.