Do I Have to Do a Re-Adoption?



Completing an international adoption can be a tricky business. Given that adoption laws often vary from state to state, let alone from country to country, it’s easy to see how the process might become convoluted and difficult to decipher. One snag that might present itself during an international adoption is the need to complete a second adoption in the U.S. This is also called “re-adoption,” and is a common part of the international adoption process. In some cases, re-adoption is not necessary, but adoptive parents might still choose to go through with it just to ensure everything is legal and proper.

What is Re-Adoption?

Re-adoption is the process of going through a full legal adoption within the United States, after having already completed an adoption in an international country. While the adoption in the foreign country may be perfectly legal, it may not satisfy all of the requirements of U.S. law. Therefore, a re-adoption is something that should be considered as soon as possible after you get back home with the newest member of your family.

Who Needs to Pursue Re-Adoption?

Adoptions in countries bound by the Hague Convention (an accord governing child abduction and adoption between scores of nations across the globe) are considered fully finalized at the completion of the adoption process. A certificate, issued by the U.S. Secretary of State, is attached to the finalized decree. This is all that’s required in adoptions between Hague Convention members. However, many children are adopted from nations that aren’t bound by the Convention. In these cases, you may have to pursue a re-adoption for your child. Some states require re-adoption, while others leave the choice to the parents. An experienced adoption attorney can help you better understand what’s necessary in your specific situation.

Why is Re-Adoption Important?

The most important aspect of adoption, from a legal standpoint, is that the process creates a legal relationship between the adoptive parents and the adopted child. This means that the laws governing the child’s adoption from their home country may no longer be legally relevant. Especially as relationships between nations change, the validity of treaties and recognitions of once commonly accepted norms may also change. This can leave your legal relationship with your child in doubt. Re-adoption is an effective way to ensure that the laws of the origin country are no longer part of your legal standing with your child. Some states may also require a re-adoption in order to gain a state-issued birth certificate or to institute a name change for your adopted child.

What are the Laws Regarding Re-Adoption in My State?

Even given that the adherence to the Hague Convention is implemented on the federal level, each state can vary in its adoption and re-adoption laws. To fully understand whether or not you need to pursue a re-adoption, it’s important to speak with an experienced local adoption attorney. At Jennifer Fairfax Family Formation Law Offices, we help prospective parents become adoptive parents and help you navigate the process of adoption. Whether you need help with a domestic adoption or an international adoption, assisted reproduction issues, or even an adult adoption, we’re ready to help. Contact us today for more information about growing your family!

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“I believe in working with each of my clients—in support of their family dynamic—to make the dreams of parenthood a reality. Whether you are single or married; or gay; a step-parent, a surrogate or intended parent or a child of adoption, it is my mission to serve as your advocate. With a dedication to the ethical and sensitive nature of each situation, I will help you understand the laws within Maryland or Washington, DC for adoption or surrogacy, and pledge to be your partner throughout the journey.” - Jennifer Fairfax