Saturday, May 26, 2018

Our Adoption Story

Over the years we have had a number of clients; the happiness that shows on their faces once they have received the news that they are being matched with a child, is an experience like no other. We asked a client of ours to share her story. Due to privacy, there will be no names mentioned, but here in her own words is what she has to share with all of you.
"It was a surprisingly warm day in early April 2017. That morning, my husband and I were debating whether to catch a Washington Nationals game. Instead, we took a phone call from our adoption agency that would change everything.
We learned that a baby girl had been born the day before less than an hour from our home and her birth mother was interested in meeting us. We had just a few hours to decide whether we wanted to move forward with this case. The agency told us as much as they could. So much was unknown including the baby’s race and family medical history. However, we did know that she would most likely be in the NICU for several weeks to care for a treatable medical condition. Additionally, there would be some complications in terms of terminating paternal rights.
That’s when all our training paid off. The year leading up to our adoption was an important time of learning and preparing for our new role as adoptive parents.
We had originally started the adoption process about a year before and after we had ended fertility treatments. When we realized that being biological parents would not be possible for us, we talked about why we wanted to have kids and what our life goals were. We decided that in the end our goal was to be parents. Adoption was not our first choice, but that didn’t make it second best. In fact, we learned that entering this amazing community of adoption was more impactful that we could have imagined.
We did our initial interviews with our adoption agency during the summer of 2016 and quickly worked to complete our home study process. We zipped through the paperwork in just two weeks. An in depth excel chart and nightly meetings at the dinner table helped us to burn through it. We knew that so much of the adoption process was out of our hands, so we wanted to be quick with what WAS within our control. Meeting with the social worker and attending in person and online training helped prepare us to be adoptive parents and make the decisions that we would need to make regarding health challenges, family medical history and drug exposure status. Our home study was completed in the Fall of 2016 and we began the waiting game.
Our advice for other families is to stay hopeful. The question with adoption is not a matter of if you will have a child but a matter of when. We were overjoyed and overwhelmed when we became parents in April 2017. Our little girl is now 1 years old and we look back on our journey with such joy. There were certainly roller coaster moments but we always felt surrounded by experts from our adoption agency and our lawyer Karen S. Law who held our hand and worked the steps for us.
Our adoption story is our favorite story to tell so we are sharing it in the hopes that it helps another family on the journey to parenthood".





Drafted by an actual client of the Law Offices of Karen S. Law with the assistance of Brittany Alness, staff member of the Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC.

Disclaimer

This web site and the information contained within have been prepared by Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, nor does receipt of it constitute an attorney-client relationship. Viewers should not act upon information found here without seeking legal counsel. All photographs shown on this web-site are depictions of clients and are not actual clients of this law firm. Copyright Karen S. Law, 2018.


Monday, January 8, 2018

Surrendering My Adopted Child's Passport

Recently, I've handled several cases where panicked parents have received letters stating that they should surrender their adopted child's US passport.

Usually, the parents went through the rigorous process of adopting while they were living overseas.  They had a home-study done by a US accredited agency.  They filed the I600A or I800A.  They completed the intercountry adoption process and the child was granted either an IR-3 or IH-3 visa.  They then came to the U.S. for a while with the child and obtained a U.S. passport for the child.  Often, the Certificate of Citizenship issued by USCIS was sent to their U.S. address. Then, both parents and child returned to their overseas address.

In the past, this worked well.  But, now, the Department of State and USCIS have both determined to treat these cases differently.

The family that followed this route will get a letter from the Department of State telling the parents that the child's passport was issued erroneously and is revoked.  There are instructions to surrender the passport either to the U.S. Embassy in their country of residence or by mailing to an address in the U.S.

A second letter is issued by USCIS which says that it cannot issue the Certificate of Citizenship because the child has not yet qualified for citizenship under INA 320.  The rationale is that the child is NOT residing in the U.S in the legal and physical custody of the adoptive parent, but is residing overseas with that parent.

This is all technically accurate.  The law has always required that the child be living in the U.S. with their adoptive parent to qualify for citizenship under this set of circumstances.  But, this was not enforced before and most adoption agencies advised their overseas adoptive parents to adopt, obtain the visa and go visit Grandma in the U.S. for a few weeks to get the child's U.S. passport.

What to do?  The family should hire an experienced immigration attorney to handle the case because it can be done the wrong way.  They will have to take a number of steps including:

1.  Making sure that the child's original passport from the foreign country is still valid.
2.  Obtaining a visa for the child to reside in the foreign country to be placed in that foreign passport
3.  Surrendering the child's U.S. passport once the above has been accomplished  and obtaining proof that the passport has been surrendered.  For this reason, we recommend surrendering the passport at the Embassy itself, not by mailing it to the address in the U.S.
4.  Obtaining a visitor's visa for the child in the foreign passport so that the child may travel temporarily to the U.S.
5.  Filing the N-600K to apply for citizenship for the child under INA 322.  It is best to work with an attorney on this step.
6.  Once the N-600K is approved, flying with the child to the U.S. office that has scheduled the Citizenship interview.
7.  Once the child satisfies the examiner at the interview, the child will receive a new Certificate of Citizenship.  She can then apply for a new U.S. passport.

More information about this process can be found on the USCIS web-site which was just updated on September 21, 2017.
https://www.uscis.gov/adoption/bringing-your-internationally-adopted-child-united-states/us-citizenship-adopted-child



Drafted by Attorney Karen Law, staff member of the Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC.

Disclaimer

This web site and the information contained within have been prepared by Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, nor does receipt of it constitute an attorney-client relationship. Viewers should not act upon information found here without seeking legal counsel. All photographs shown on this web-site are depictions of clients and are not actual clients of this law firm. Copyright Karen S. Law, 2018.