For parents who have adopted a child from another country, the legal process of re-adoption may be confusing. Some may wonder what the benefits of re-adoption are or whether the process is necessary. Below, the “what” and “why” of legal re-adoption is explained in order to help parents of internationally adopted children understand the benefits of re-adoption as well as whether re-adoption is necessary for their child.
Legal re-adoption is the process through which parents who have adopted a child internationally repeat the process of adoption back in the U.S. In some states, parents are legally required to complete the re-adoption process. Also, depending from which country you adopted your child, you may be required to re-adopt, even if your home state does not require you to do so.
If your child has been adopted by a country that is part of the Hague Convention, it is usually not necessary to complete a re-adoption, although there are benefits to doing so. However, several of the most popular countries from which parents may seek to adopt are not part of the Hague Convention and therefore a re-adoption in the U.S. will be necessary: Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Ukraine are examples of such countries.
Although North Carolina does not require international adoptive parents to re-adopt in the U.S., there are several important reasons why it may be in the parents' and child's best interest to do so.
First, the process of re-adoption places the adoption under the authority of the U.S. government instead of the government of the country from which the child was adopted. Many of the countries from which American parents adopt children have volatile governments which can be subject to coups, radicalization, or regime changes which could affect or even retroactively negate adoptions by foreign parents. Re-adoption gives parents the peace of mind of having their adoption legally recognized and backed by the U.S. government.
Second, re-adoption ensures that the child will be eligible for certain important benefits, such as inheritance and Social Security. A state-issued adoption decree may be necessary in certain instances in order for the child to be eligible for benefits that result through legal U.S.-based parentage.
Third, parents may wish to change the name of the child as it is listed on the original home country adoption papers. If the child's name is inaccurate, misspelled, or if the parents simply prefer a different name, corrections can be made during the re-adoption process.
Finally, by re-adopting your child in the U.S., interactions with other important people in the child's life, such as school representatives, daycare providers, doctors, and others, will be easier for the adoptive parents. Original adoption papers are often in the native language of the country from which the child was adopted: this language barrier makes it difficult for others to understand the contents of the documents and more hesitant to act upon the authority and rights the papers give the parents. By re-adopting, parents can avoid the confusion and red tape that might otherwise occur.
If you are a parent of an internationally adopted child and are considering re-adoption, contact the qualified team at the NC Adoption Law Center today.