Readopts are an important step in the international adoption process. While in the past, this step hasn’t been commonly discussed with adoptive parents, now Indiana courts and foreign authorities are encouraging adoption agencies and attorneys to inform parents about this process in order to domestic foreign decrees and protect adopted children. “Readoption” is a common term used to cover a couple of different types of processes, which are dependant upon the foreign country from which the child is adopted. In the simplest of cases, parents only need an Acceptance of Foreign Decree. This is a legal process in which the foreign decree is submitted to the local county court and is “domesticated” (given full credit or acceptance in the U.S.). However, for some countries, (i.e. India and Philippines) adoptive parents must complete a full domestic adoption here in the U.S. There are also situations in which parents may have to process a complete domestic adoption if the foreign documents are insufficient or issues with immigration status require it. This has also been necessary when only one spouse has adopted a child internationally, in which case, the remaining spouse must do a full adoption of the child. Fortunately, most foreign adoptions can be easily domesticated.
For a simple readopt, it is a basic legal matter in which the attorney files a petition to register the foreign decree along with a proposed order. The petition requests that the court enter an order recording the foreign decree as an Indiana adoption decree and thus, the child receives all of the rights afforded to a child adopted in Indiana. One of the most important aspects of the readoption process is that the decree orders the Indiana Health Department to issue a new Indiana Birth Certificate, which is necessary to prove parentage in Social Security issues (death benefits, etc.) and in inheritance situations. Many adoptive parents fails to realize this crucial element in protecting and providing for an adopted child should a parent die or if a child requires proof of parentage (specifically a U.S. Citizen parent). Another important aspect for children brought home on an IR4 visa is that it will provide the sufficient and required documentation for U.S. citizenship. Lastly, with some foreign adoptions, name changes are not incorporated within the original foreign petitions and the foreign decrees do not include the new names parents may give their children. With the readoption process, a name change is accomplished as well.
The readoption process is inexpensive and expedient, and JHDJ Law provides instructions and assistance to clients on how to obtain new documentation once the orders are granted by the Indiana court. Until new documents are processed, the order domesticating the foreign decree may be used for most purposes (taxes, USCIS & SSN).
If you would like more information about readoption or international adoption and current programs, please contact Amber Burton Small, Director of Business Development, or 317-569-0770.
This article is for information only, and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Each situation is unique and your case may be more complicated, and can only be evaluated by a licensed attorney.