After spending months preparing yourself and your home for a new child, and spending thousands of dollars in adoption fees, you’ve just returned from China with your new baby daughter, ready to begin your life as a family. Congratulations! But before you get too settled in, there’s one more important step you should consider taking to avoid trouble and heartache further down the line: international re-adoption.
International re-adoption is the process of finalizing your child’s adoption once they’ve entered the United States. In North Carolina, international re-adoption is only required by law in some cases, but it is strongly recommended to do in all cases, because it secures your child’s status as an American citizen and protects them from the possibility of deportation.
When you go through the international re-adoption process, you receive a U.S. adoption decree, which—unlike a foreign-issued adoption decree—is recognized in all 50 states and therefore protects your parental rights throughout the country. This decree protects your child from ever having their adoption contested. It also protects them from any future changes that may occur in the adoption law of their country of origin. Re-adoption also makes other tasks easier, such as enrolling your child in school or claiming them as a dependent when filing your taxes. Additionally, you can have your child’s name legally changed through re-adoption.
The legal requirements
Whether or not international re-adoption is required for your child depends on the type of visa they receive when they enter the United States:
- IH-4 or IR-4: With these visas, U.S. citizenship is not guaranteed. You are required to complete the re-adoption process in North Carolina.
- IH-3 or IR-3: With these visas, your child automatically becomes a U.S. citizen. North Carolina does not require you to complete re-adoption.
As previously stated, international re-adoption is only required in certain instances, but the value and security it grants your family makes it highly worthwhile to do for any international adoption.