The adoption process for a child adopted internationally does not end when the child arrives in the United States. It is very important that you consult with an experienced adoption attorney and take the necessary steps to complete the adoption under Georgia law. Many adoptions are not finalized in the country of origin. Contact Debra Finch and she can assist you in determining whether your child’s adoption was finalized overseas.
If a child was issued a Permanent Resident Status by the United States Government and did not receive a Certificate of Citizenship, the child MUST be adopted once in the United States to ensure that he or she receives United States citizenship. Upon the completion of the adoption in Georgia, the child, through the adoptive parents, is then eligible to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship from the United States Government. Failure to complete the adoption and obtain United States Citizenship could easily place the child in legal jeopardy in the future. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you consult with an experience adoption attorney well versed in international adoptions and immigration law to assure that your adoption is finalized and that you have the legal documentation to protect your child.
In the event your adoption was finalized overseas and your child was issued a Certificate of Citizenship after arrival in the United States, “readopting” the child in Georgia (sometimes called “domesticating” the foreign adoption decree) will assure that your child receives a “Certificate of Foreign Decree” from Georgia Vital Records, which is essentially a birth certificate for your child issued by the State of Georgia. It will list the child’s adoptive name and the names of the adoptive parents. (You will also receive an adoption decree from a Georgia Superior Court.) The advantages of domesticating your adoption include the issuance of what is essentially a birth certificate from the State of Georgia. Most families return from overseas after an overseas adoption with a limited number of birth certificates, and little hope of obtaining additional copies if needed in the future. Once the adoption is domesticated in Georgia, the family always has the option of obtaining additional Certificates of Foreign Birth from Georgia Vital Records.
Debra Finch is not only an attorney experienced in international adoptions; she has also adopted a child internationally. Contact Debra Finch to discuss your child’s legal status through international adoption or guardianship and what options are available to ensure that your child has obtained the necessary documentation of the adoption and United States citizenship.