Saturday, February 9, 2008

Re-Adoption in Illinois

If it's not bad enough that the children once adopted in Ethiopia, travel to a new country, move into a new home with new parents, some states require re-adoption. Illinois is one of those states.

Re-adoption requirements are based on the type of visa the children received in Ethiopia. An IR-4 visa means that the children enter the country without permanent citizenship and receive a green card upon entry. In this case, citizenship is not automatic and re-adoption is required by law. Most Ethiopian children enter the country on IR-4 visas. A child will receive an IR-4 unless BOTH parents saw the child before the adoption was finalized in Ethiopia.

Early in the process I decided to get an IR-3 visa. I made that decision for two reasons. Primarily because Illinois has an additional requirement that an adoptive parent become a licensed foster parent and then readopt. To get an IR-3 visa means that I have to travel to Ethiopia twice. My father and I will go right after learning of the referral to meet the kids and do a little sight seeing. I will return to Ethiopia and bring them home after the adoption has been finalized. With an IR-3 visa the children are granted automatic citizenship and receive a Certificate of Citizenship.

Nothing in international adoption is ever as straight forward at it first seems. Here is the rub. With an IR-3 visa Illinois re-adoption is recommended:
  • To get a US Birth Certificate. However, with an IR-3 visa you can get a US birth certificate through the Illinois Department of Public Health without re-adoption. IDPH requires surrendering the Ethiopian birth certificate in exchange.
  • To legally change the child's name. If the new birth certificate is given by IDPH it will have the name as it is on the Ethiopian birth certificate. A name change would have to be completed in a separate proceeding.
  • Jurisdiction. Some parents are concerned that without re-adopting the adoption may not be valid in other states (if they move). Though all states do not recognize foreign adoption, they do have to recognize an Illinois adoption.
Today the way that I feel, I would rather do a name change and get the birth certificate through IDPH. Tomorrow of course all of that could change.

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Original Court Date: April 18, 2009
Final Court Date: May 18, 2009
[607 total days & 165 days w/IAN]