Now That You Are Home

Now that you are home and settled in a bit, there are a few more things that you need to do. Yes, I know, more paper work. On this page you will find:

Social Security Number (SSN): While you were waiting to travel, you should have downloaded the SSN application [external link] to obtain a social security number for your child. You will need this number the next time you file a tax return if you want to claim the child as a deduction. You need to take the application and supporting documents into the closest Social Security Administration (SSA) office (check the phone book under US Government). They will need to see the original documents, which they will then copy for their files. The SSA requires that their own people translate the documents, so it takes a little longer to process the application. Even though your child is automatically a US citizen (in most cases) as soon as they arrive, SSA's stance so far is that it is the USCIS's responsibility to determine citizenship, and they cannot list the adopted child as a citizen without proof (passport or citizenship certificate). They do have a page on how to obtain a SSN for a foreign-born adopted child [external link] and a SSA FAQ [external link] regarding international adoption.

Why should you readopt?

  • If only one parent traveled and saw the child prior to adoption, the USCIS will require it.
  • It will give your child a US birth certificate, making it much easier to obtain a certified birth certificate when you need it for school enrollment or marriage. Some states will give you a state-issued birth certificate without a formal readoption.
  • Some states recognize the foreign adoption decree as legal and some do not. This creates problems when inheritance rights are in question. Even if you live in a state that does recognize the adoption, you could move to or inherit land in a state that does not.
  • Some states allow you to represent yourself in court and others require you to have a lawyer; it can even vary within a state. Your best source of information will be other parents: post a question on one of the many e-mail lists or contact a local FRUA group. You will find information about the lists and FRUA in Adoption Resources.
  • For additional information, see articles from Joint Council of international children's services [external link] (JCICS), Families with Children from China [external link] and About.com.
  • With the Child Welfare Information Gateway [external link] you can search for your state's laws regarding international adoptions and the effect of the foreign adoption decree in the US, adoption subsidies, etc.
  • Be aware that it is not proof of citizenhip.
  • I have a document available for download that was prepared by an attorney concerning readoption: Readoption FAQ [word document]

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Citizenship: As of Feb. 27, 2001, most children adopted overseas by US citizens become citizens of the US once they have legally entered the US. The Child Citizenship Act does not affect the immigration procedure in Almaty, as the child has to become a legal resident and set foot on US soil in order to become a citizen. For details of who is eligible for automatic citizenship, read this Child Citizenship Act of 2000 Fact Sheet [external link] put out by the US State Department. With the Child Citizenship Act Program PDF link the COC will be sent automatically within 45 days of entry into the US free of charge and no "green card" will be issued. If your child enters on an IR 4 visa, or entered prior to January 2004, you must still file an application for citizenship for your child. To obtain a Certificate of Citizenship (COC) you must submit the N-600 [external link] Application for Certificate of Citizenship or the N-600K [external link] Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate under Section 322 (US citizens living abroad) along with photos and $$. The fee for adopted children is $420; all others filing the N-600 need to pay $460.

For an extensive look at the issue of dual citizenship, check out Dual Citizenship FAQ [external link] or Center for Immigration Studies [external link]. US Citizenship.info [external link] (immigration documentation service) and Unites States Immigration Support [external link] (not an US government agency) also have some information. The US State Department [external link] does not have much to say on the subject.

A passport would be another proof of citizenship, and they have put out guidelines for obtaining one. Documents required are: (1) Evidence of the child's relationship to a U.S. citizen parent (a certified copy of the foreign birth certificate for children born to an American or, if adopted, a certified copy of the final adoption decree); (2) the child's foreign passport with INS's I-551 stamp (A number) or the child's resident alien card; and (3) the parent's valid identification. This information is from a Child Citizenship Act of 2000 FAQ [external link] put out by the US State Department. You will want some proof of citizenship for your child, but whether to go ahead and get the certificate or passport is up to you. Passports, for those under 18, must be renewed every 5 years, and I do not know whether or not an expired passport is considered valid as proof of citizenship. For information about passports, go to Passport and Information Services [external link].

Effective on July 2, 2001 is a Special requirement for children under 14 [external link] basically stating that either both parents must apply for the child's passport in person or they must present a letter from the absent parent or they must present proof that they are a single parent.

I have a document available for download that was prepared by an attorney concerning citizenship and international adoption: Citizenship FAQ [word document]

For a detailed explanation on the passport vs. Certificate of Citizenship issue from a paralegal specializing in international adoption, go to Legal Eaze PDF link. The following was posted on an e-mail list. It may help you decide whether to get the Certificate of Citizenship: "This family obtained a U.S. passport for her to identify her as a U.S. citizen. They have since moved to Europe. The European country will not accept the U.S. Passport as proof of the child's U.S. citizenship. Here again is another example where a passport should only be used for travel purposes and not proof of U.S. citizenship. A passport is issued by the State Department, which has no authority over citizenship. The only U.S. department with this authority is the INS. They issue the Certificate of Citizenship."

An unofficial translation is available from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees: On Citizenship of the Republic of Kazakhstan [external link]. Chapter 4 addresses citizenship of children. Legislation Online [external link] also has a translated version. It states:
"Article 27. Retaining Citizenship of the Republic of Kazakstan by Children in cases of Adoption
Children under the age of 14 who are citizens of the Republic of Kazakstan and whom are adopted by citizens of another country or stateless individuals, or by parents one of whom is a citizen of the Republic of Kazakstan while the other is a citizen of another country or a stateless individual retains the citizenship of the Republic of Kazakstan, should they reside in the Republic of Kazakstan Such children can be allowed to renounce the citizenship of the Republic of Kazakstan upon application of adoptive parents.
"Article 28. Requirement of Consent of Children to Changing their Citizenship
Change of citizenship of children aged 14 to 18 years old in cases of changes of citizenship of their parents or in cases of adoption is only possible with the consent of the children according to the procedure stipulated by Article 33 of this Law.
"Article 33. Form of Applications Related to Citizenship Issues
Applications for acquiring citizenship, reacquiring citizenship or renunciation of citizenship may be reviewed upon written request of an applicant. Applications related to individuals under the age of 18 and incapable individuals are reviewed based upon request from their legal representatives authorized by a notary or, should it be outside of the country, by a diplomatic mission, consular institution or authorized representative office of the Republic of Kazakstan. When submitting an application for acquiring citizenship of the Republic of Kazakstan, re acquirement of citizenship of the Republic of Kazakstan or renunciation citizenship of the Republic of Kazakstan by children aged 14 to 18 written consent of the children is required which must be authorized by a notary and, should it be outside the country, by a diplomatic mission, consular institution or authorized representative office of the Republic of Kazakstan."

In July 2008, a consular officer with the Kazakhstna Embassy in Washington DC stated that when our adopted children turn 18, they must choose either US or Kazakhstan citizenship.

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Registration with the Kazakhstan Embassy/Consulate: Go to the Kazakhstan Consulate [external link] click on adoption to see the requirements (your agency may have different documents needed). You may also register at the Embassy [external link] in Washington DC, depending upon which state you live in. The assistant stork also has information on her website [external link]. Starting mid-June 2003, the registration process will be completed in Astana prior to leaving Kazakhstan. See Adoption Trip for details.

Health Insurance: Most insurance companies require you to add your child to your policy within 1 month of the adoption. Check with them before you leave to find out exactly what you need to do. If your waiting time after the court date is not waived, you may have only a week after you get back to get this done. Health Insurance for Adopted Children [external link] is an excellent article on this issue.

Post-Placement Report: You will be required to do reports on your child's adjustments to your family and life during the first three years with you. For suggestions on what to include see Post-Placement Report. You may find other suggestions in the article How to Write a Post Adoption Report [external link] from about.com.

Visit the Laura Recovery Center Foundation [external link] and download a Child Identification Kit. It will provide valuable information should something ever happen to your child. Another suggestion that I read is to take a picture of your child with your digital camera/cell phone whenever you go out; this way you have a current picture, including clothing, should your child get lost. This would be especially useful if you will be in a crowded area, such as an airport or amusement park, where you could easily get separated.

Read this article on Transitioning. It has suggestions on things you can do before and after adoption to help your child make the transition from the orphanage to your family.

See this excellent article by Dellory Matthews on Initial adjustment of adopted children.

Download and read Full Protection under the Law: Wills, Guardianship, Life Insurance, Readoption and Citizenship from EMK Press [external link]; under the Parent Resources link.

Go to the Adoption Resources page for resources on issues such as attachment and attachment disorder, sensory integration, etc.

You may be able to obtain the contents of the sealed envelope that you gave to immigration officials when you first entered the US with your child. You file Form G-884, Request for the Return of Original Documents [PDF link] at the office where you filed the I-600A and Form G-639, Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request [external link] at the address specified on the form.

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Page last updated on 22 July 2009.

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