Guardianship, Re-Adoption & Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
Many families choose adoption in a foreign country as a means to grow their
families. If you are one of these families, you have probably completed
mountains of paperwork, jumped through hoop after hoop applying for multiple
approvals, and are exhausted from travel overseas and parenting a young
child. The thought of any more paperwork is no doubt exhausting. You may
have also heard that state and the federal government have created laws
designed to ease your burden and that your child has the same rights as
a child born to you biologically. So why should you think about taking
more steps that no one is requiring at the moment when you have already
done so much and are so busy?
The answer is that you want your child to enjoy every benefit he or she
would have if born to you biologically, not only now, but in the future.
Sometime in the future, your child may wish to enroll in school, go on
vacation overseas, apply for a driver's license, receive a Social
Security card, attend college, apply for a scholarship, build a future
of his or her own, and inherit through your family. All of these are benefits
of the parent-child relationship you have sought to create through adoption.
But what happens if your child applies for that scholarship and needs proof
of his or her United States citizenship? Your child may have received
a Certificate of Citizenship soon after arriving in the U.S., but it states
the child's original first name from the foreign country rather than
the name you have used since arriving home. Do you then supply all of
your foreign adoption documents to the scholarship committee and an explanation
that Juan Miguel is, in fact, the same person as John Michael? What if
you never received a Certificate of Citizenship and forgot to follow up
on why it never arrived? If the child received an IR-4 visa, the reason
he or she did not receive a Certificate of Citizenship is that he or she
never actually became a U.S. citizen and needs to be re-adopted to receive
Reasons to Pursue Re-Adoption
Seeking recognition of a foreign adoption, also called re-adoption, is
the process by which you ask a U.S. state court to review the foreign
adoption documents and enter a court order recognizing you are the child's
parents. For some, re-adoption is optional; for others, it is required
as a necessary step to secure U.S. citizenship for the child.
For families receiving IR-3 or IH-3 visas, re-adoption is optional; however,
you may choose to pursue re-adoption for a number of reasons.
- Re-adoption affords you the opportunity to change the child's name
to his or her American name if this was not already changed as part of
the foreign adoption. A state birth certificate issued after re-adoption
will contain not only your name as the parent, but the child's American name.
- Re-adoption ensures that you will always have an easily recognizable adoption
decree in English, rather than a foreign decree and translation, for which
validity and content may be more difficult to demonstrate to those unfamiliar
with adoption law.
- Re-adoption also ensures that you can acquire another adoption decree in
the future should your foreign decree be lost or destroyed.
- Re-adoption ensures that the foreign-born child will not be treated differently
from biological children on issues such as inheritance or guardianship.
Re-adoption preserves the child's rights under the law and eliminates
the ability of a third party to challenge the legality of the parent-child
relationship at a future time.
- Re-adoption ensures that all states will recognize the validity of your
foreign adoption should you someday move to a state that does not do so
as a matter of law.
- Re-adoption affords an adoptive family peace of mind that no one can ever
challenge the validity of their parentage in the U.S. or abroad, even
if adoption laws subsequently change in the future.
If you have any questions about whether you need to re-adopt as a Pennsylvania,
or Delaware resident, or whether it would provide any benefit to you given the facts of your
particular case, please feel free to call to discuss your situation.
Adoption Lawyer in Philadelphia, PA, New Jersey & Delaware
If you are a family member or friend who is caring for a child, I can assist
you in obtaining guardianship or legal custody of that child. Whether
the child was born in the U.S. or in a foreign country, I can guide you
through the court process so that the child in your care has legal security
and permanency with your family. I have experience handling simple guardianship
cases, also called legal custody in some states, as well as more complicated
cases involving international children present in the United States in
need of permanency and security with loving caregivers. My firm can help
you explore whether pursuit of legal permanent residency (a green card)
for the child is feasible and take steps necessary to achieve such status.
When you work with the Law Offices of Deborah E. Spivack, I can help you
understand your legal rights and help you quickly and effectively obtain
legal guardianship of a minor child. I have 12 years of experience handling
complex adoption and guardianship cases and I can navigate the legal systems
of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. You can be confident that you
are in good hands when you work with the Law Offices of Deborah E. Spivack.
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status enables caretakers, such as yourself,
of non-U.S. citizen children living in your home who have faced abandonment,
neglect, or abuse to have permanency and security in the U.S. with your
family. If you are considering filing a Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
petition, it is important that you work with a firm that has experience
with the important relationship between adoption and immigration laws
so that we can implement a solution that will provide permanency and security
to the child in your care.
Contact my firm
to learn more.