State Adoption Laws
Knowing your state adoption laws can make adoption not only easier but can reduce risks.
In an international adoption must meet the requirements of the state, US and foreign governments, and the Hague Convention. You need to be aware of the existence of these requirements, but all the details involved should ultimately be taken care of by the agency with which you have registered. You may find it valuable to be familiar with the adoption laws of your state of residence (see Adoption Laws).
This Child Welfare Information Gateway resource provides information regarding intercountry adoption law in the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and 5 territories. Twenty-six States and one territory grant recognition to foreign adoption decrees. In 17 States, re-adoption is allowed by statute. Eighteen States, the District of Columbia, and 4 U.S. territories do not address intercountry adoption in their statutes.
The following has been adapted from the CWIG website referenced above.
The process of adopting a foreign child and bringing that child into the United States involves several steps. Information regarding the process can be obtained directly from the U.S. State Department, Office of Children's Issues.
International adoptions finalized abroad, in most situations, are legally binding in the United States. A U.S. State court, however, is not required to automatically recognize a foreign adoption decree. Re-adoption issues must be addressed depending on the type of immigrant visa issued to your child. If your child was issued an IR-3 immigrant visa, you are not required under Federal law to readopt the child, although your State adoption law may require you to do so. If your child entered the United States in the IR-4 visa category, Federal regulations require you to adopt the child in the State of your residence, regardless of whether any type of adoption might have occurred overseas. Once a re-adoption is completed in a State court, parents can request a birth certificate be issued from the State's Department of Vital Statistics.
By selecting a State or territory, you can determine three criteria of the international adoption finalization process for your specific state: (1) if your State/Territory of residence has any statutory provisions regarding international adoptions; (2) if your State/Territory of residence grants the same recognition and effect to final decrees of adoption when issued pursuant to due process in a foreign country as to decrees of adoption issued in that State or territory; and (3) if your State/Territory of residence allows re-adoption upon submission of a petition accompanied by proof of adoption in a foreign court.
To find out how your State of residence addresses this issue, visit Laws for Child Adoption or this referenced website.