What is Readoption?


Have you adopted from Samoa, Nicaragua, Bulgaria or Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)? If so, be sure to complete your Readopt process. Depending upon the country where you adopted, you may need to do a Readoption or an Acceptance of Foreign Adoption (domesticating a foreign order/decree). “Readoption" is the common term used for both processes but in actuality it can be misleading. Most international adoptions merely need an Acceptance or Domestication and you are not readopting the child as you have already completed a full and final adoption in the foreign country. Unfortunately the term "Readoption" is prevalent in our adoption language and USCIS language. However, whether you are adopting from a country in Africa or Asia, the readoption process is a process you will want to research.

For some countries (i.e. India and Philippines), a readoption may be more accurate as you will need to complete an adoption in the U.S. because a majority of adoptions in these countries are actually Custody or Guardianship for the purpose of adoption and not full and final adoption Decrees. In addition, you may have to do this full domestic adoption/readoption in the US if your foreign documents are insufficient or your immigration status requires it. However, most foreign adoptions can be easily domesticated (given full credit or acceptance in the U.S) without a full domestic adoption.

Every State’s process for Acceptance of your foreign Decree varies. A majority of States require a Court process, while a few states only require a form submitted to the Health Department. Ultimately the following benefits are gained when you complete your Acceptance of Foreign Decree (Domestication) or your Readopt (for those countries or situation in which you have to do a Domestic adoption upon return to the US):

  1. Orders the Health Department (Vital Statistics in some states) to issue a new Birth Certificate for the child.
  2. New Birth certificate enables parents to easily obtain proof of parentage, birth and identification for their child in the future.
  3. Birth Certificates are the most direct and common way to prove parentage in Social Security issues (death benefits, etc.) and in inheritance situations.
  4. Name change (see below).
  5. Other benefits can include state benefits and citizenship benefits.

Another important aspect for children brought home on an IR4 visa is the Acceptance/Readopt process will provide the sufficient and required documentation for US citizenship. Also, in some foreign adoptions, the Foreign Decree does not include the name you want for your child. Therefore, with the Acceptance process, a name change may be accomplished as well. Lastly, it may be necessary to change the child’s date of birth and often this can be done in the same process. You should be advised by an attorney or agency in your state regarding this process.

The "Readopt" is an important part of the completing your international adoption process. MLJ Adoptions requires parents complete this step for all their adoptions from Samoa, Nicaragua, Bulgaria and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This is a protection for your adopted child and should be done upon your return home to the U.S.

For more information about international adoption, click here.

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MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.