I am an experienced adoption attorney who, for over 20 years, has devoted the majority of my law practice to adoption law. I have successfully completed over a thousand adoptions.
What is RE-ADOPTION?
Section 750 ILCS 50/4.1(c) (8) States:
Most foreign adoptions are finalized in the foreign country. Upon returning to the United States, many adoptive parents go through the process of adopting the same child in an adoption proceeding here in their home state. This second adoption in the United States is called a "Re-Adoption". Since the adoptive parents are already legally bound to the child most courts see this procedure as more of a "recognition of foreign judgment" and the re-adoptions are handled differently from other kinds of adoptions .
Section 750 ILCS 50/4.1(e) states: "Any time after a minor child has been adopted in a foreign country and has immigrated to the United States, the adoptive parent or parents of the child may petition the court for a judgment of adoption to re-adopt the child and confirm the foreign adoption decree."
However the adoptive parents have to show provide various forms of documentation to the court in order to comply with this statute.
Is it Legally REQUIRED?
IR4 or HR-4 Visa:
The answer depends on the child's visa status when entering the United States.
IR-4 or HR-4 Visa: A child who enters the country with an IR-4/HR-4 visa status means that they did NOT receive automatic citizenship status upon their adoption and their adoptive parents MUST initiate the adoption process in their home state. A child usually receives an IR-4/HR-4 status if both parents did not travel to see the child they are adopting prior to the adoption becoming final in the foreign country or if they did not receive a full and final decree in the other country.
Warning: The failure to complete a re-adoption prior to the child's 18th birthday will result in the child NOT being eligible to obtain automatic citizenship upon the re-adoption. The adult child would then have to apply for U.S. citizenship in their own right. This means the adult child would have to apply for naturalization, take the test and have an interview. Prior to obtaining citizenship the adult child must be careful not to break the laws or he/she could be subject to deportation.
IR-3 or HR-3 Visa: Here the child is automatically a U.S. citizen; nevertheless many adoptive parents choose to go through a re-adoption procedure even though it is not legally required of them.
Why go through a Re-Adoption if it's Legally NOT REQUIRED?
There are three main reasons parents elect to go through a re-adoption:
1. Birth Certificate: The most popular reason is to obtain a U.S. birth certificate otherwise called "A Record of Foreign Birth". This is desirable because if the lose the foreign birth certificate they would have to travel back to the country of origin to get a new one but once they get a Record of Foreign birth they can always get another one through Springfield. Additionally it is easier to deal with schools when you have the English Record of Foreign birth and are not handing them copies of documents from China or Russia deal with school personnel who can find these documents quite confusing. Although parents can technically apply for this without going through a re-adoption by applying directly through the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) many choose not to because:
A. IDPH requires that the parents send them their original foreign legal documents which parents (who usually only get one set of originals) do not want to part with.
B. If parents wish to do a name change for the child they cannot do it through the IDPH but would have to initiate a separate legal proceeding to accomplish this. If you initiate a re-adoption, however, then the name change can be completed in the same procedure. This is especially the case in Guatemala where they almost never finalize with the name the adoptive parents would like the child to have and often place the mother's maiden name as the child's last name.
C. When IDPH issues the birth certificate without going through the re-adoption process they reference some of the adoption information on the new certificate but if the certificate is issued subsequent to a re-adoption they do not mention the adoption on there at all.
2. Jurisdiction: In the very unlikely event there is a problem with the foreign judgment a U.S. court is now involved and would have some jurisdiction over the matter.
3. Full Faith and Credit: Not all states recognize foreign adoption judgments but they would have to recognize an Illinois one and give it full faith and credit.
What does it COST to Re-Adopt?
What Does It Cost to Re-Adopt?
Re-adoptions are a fairly straight forward proceeding and should not be very expensive at all. The answer will vary attorney to attorney and depending on which county you file in. Since most re-adoptions involved adoption agencies Illinois law allows you to file in any county in Illinois, so be sure to discuss your options with your attorney. See my Legal Fees page for more information and court costs or call for a free consultation.