Adopting a child is an exciting and monumental time for your family. You are going to be bringing a new child into your home, and you will be enjoying all of the milestones that come along with new parenthood. However, navigating through the complexities of adoption can be challenging, and it’s important to work with a reputable agency as well as an attorney who specializes in family law.
This is particularly important when it comes to finalizing an international adoption, as there is a lot that needs to be considered and completed when bringing your child to his or her new home in the United States.
International adoption and citizenship
It might come as a surprise to many families who are considering international adoption, but United States citizenship was not automatic for children who were adopted by American parents decades ago. In fact, some of the children who were adopted from other countries by American parents never did become citizens of the United States, largely because their parents never completed the proper paperwork at the time of their adoption.
It wasn’t until the year 2000 that citizenship was automatically granted to children who were adopted by American parents. Not only did The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 provide automatic citizenship for all children who were adopted by United States citizens in the future, but it also retroactively gave citizenship to all adopted children who were under the age of 18.
What to know about the Adoptee Citizenship Act
The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 certainly did a lot to fix the issues surrounding citizenship and international adoptions, but it also left behind a significant number of adult adoptees who never became citizens after their adoptions. For example, according to an article in the Washington Post, a South Korean man was adopted at the age of 3 by American parents, and never returned to his home country. However, the people who adopted him did not apply for citizenship and finalize his paperwork, so he never became a full citizen. His sad story included time in the foster care system, as well as a subsequent adoption where he was abused along with his siblings. His troubling childhood led him to a life of crime, which was revealed at the time that he applied for a green card in 2012. His criminal history ultimately led to deportation proceedings, since he was not a United States citizen. Despite the fact that he was a 41-year-old stay-at-home dad, he was sent to an Immigration Detention Center where he awaited deportation to his home country – that had never really been his home. This man was left to live without his family in a foreign land, simply because his adoptive parents did not follow the proper guidelines after finalizing their international adoption.
Cases like this are why Congress considered passing Adoptee Citizenship Act. This law would finally grant citizenship to all adoptees – whether they are minors or adults – who have been adopted by United States citizens. The goal is to prevent unfortunate and tragic situations like this from occurring in the future.
However, this law has not yet passed, and regardless, it is pivotal that you work with a family law attorney who can help you understand the issues you will face. Whether you are just considering the possibility of adopting a child from another country, or you have been involved in the process for a while now, it’s never too late to get the right legal team on your side.
You will want to work with an attorney who will advocate for you, for your child and for your new family. Ultimately, you will want to make sure that everything is done correctly and all paperwork is properly filed, so that when the adoption process is complete and finalized, you can simply enjoy life as a family. Adoption is not only a dream come true for your child, but it’s a dream come true for you, as well. Don’t let a legal mistake extinguish that dream.
Work with a qualified Twin Cities family law attorney tol guide you through this process, and rest easy knowing that you will be able to bring your child home to the United States soon – as a full and legal citizen of this country.