There are several legal mechanisms for ensuring your adoption is legally secure and that your child is recognized as a United States citizen. The Adoption Law Center of Middle Tennessee, PLLC will learn about your family and recommend an International Adoption, Readoption, Recognition Of Foreign Adoption, or some combination thereof depending on your circumstances. Intercountry adoptions are heavily regulated and often involve a lengthy wait. Typically, the parental rights of the birth parents are terminated before the child is matched with an adoptive family.
The Hague Adoption Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption enabled standardization of and cooperation among Hague Countries. It is often referred to as the Hague Convention, and countries that have signed the Convention are referred to as Convention Countries. The Hague Convention is designed to protect children from abduction and trafficking as well as ensure that children leaving the country are free for adoption. There has been a sharp decline in international adoptions in the United States since signing the Hague Convention in 2008.
The Adoption Law Center of Middle Tennessee, PLLC works with families, agencies, and immigration attorneys to help make adoption as painless as possible. The adoption procedure will hinge on the type of visa with which the child enters the U.S.
If an adoption decree was entered in the child’s birth country comparable to a U.S. adoption decree, the child will be issued an IR-3 or IH-3 visa. IR means Immediate Relative. IH indicates a Hague Convention Country. These children are granted U.S. citizenship automatically. A readoption is not required under the law in these cases. However, the Adoption Law Center strongly advises readoption in Tennessee. This is the only method to secure a Tennessee Certificate of Foreign Birth.
A readoption provides extra legal protection and is another opportunity for memorable family pictures! Readoption is an abbreviated process because the child has already been legally adopted in their country of birth. The home study and waiting period are not required.
A less common practice is for the child to enter the U.S. on an IR-4 or IH-4 visa, which means the prospective adoptive parents have an Order of Guardianship issued in the foreign country or the adoption was finalized in the foreign country, but the parents did not actually see the child prior to the adoption. If the child entered the U.S. on an IR-4 or IH-4 visa, a readoption in Tennessee is required. These children become citizens on the day the of adoption or readoption as long as the decree is entered before they turn 18 years old.
The Tennessee Department of Vital Records will not issue a Tennessee Certificate of Foreign Birth without a final adoption decree from a U.S. court. It may be difficult to obtain copies of the foreign birth certificate and States are not obligated to recognize a foreign decree.
Your attorney will ask you to provide certified, translated copies of certain foreign Court documents. The original certified copies must be provided to the Court, but can be returned to the parents and replaced with a copy once the Court reviews them. Your attorney will advise whether the Interstate Compact of the Placement of Children applies in your case, whether you need a current home study, whether the six-month waiting period is required, and answer any other questions you may have.