The New Jersey Resident’s Guide to International Adoption
In 2016, more than 5,000 children were adopted by American families from countries outside the United States. If you live in the Garden State, a New Jersey adoption attorney may be able to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about whether international adoption is the right path for you. Your adoption lawyer can also help you choose the right adoption agency and fill out all the necessary legal work that completing an adoption within the state of New Jersey entails.
Adoption Requirements in Your Child’s Country of Birth
Agencies in New Jersey do not have the authority to control adoption procedures in the country where your child was born. All they can do is match you with a child through a foreign agency. That agency must file the legal papers that are necessary to obtain custody of that child. If feasible, arrange for the adoption procedure to take place within that country, and obtain a passport and visa for the child so that he or she can enter the U.S. legally.
The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption is a treaty that provides some measure of protection for any dealings you may have with foreign adoption agencies. Try to work with a foreign agency that is accredited or otherwise authorized to provide adoption services in connection with the Hague Convention.
Adoption Form (REG-44)
Once your new son or daughter is in the U.S., a New Jersey adoption attorney can assist you with the remaining legal requirements. One of the most important of these involves filing adoption form (REG-44) with the New Jersey Vital Records Office. The form must be certified in a New Jersey family court.
New Jersey Adoption Requirements
In order for the adoption to be finalized in the state of New Jersey, at least one of the adoptive parents must be a U.S. citizen and a legal resident of New Jersey at the time when the adoption paperwork is filed. In addition to the adoption form referenced above, you will need to provide the Vital Records Office with the following:
- Proof of the child’s immigration status: This can be done by either filing the child’s green card, providing a copy of the I-551 stamp on the child’s foreign passport or supplying documentation of the child’s U.S. citizenship.
- Proof of your New Jersey residency: This can be done with a current utility bill with your address on it, a driver’s license or a voter registration card.
- A certified copy of the foreign birth certificate and a certified English translation
- A certified copy of the foreign adoption decree and a certified English translation
- A check or money order in the amount of $2 payable to the Treasurer of the State of New Jersey
- A completed copy of adoption form (REG-44)
Should You Readopt Your Child in the U.S.?
Courts in New Jersey will recognize the adoption of a child in a foreign court and issue a U.S. birth certificate upon request. There are still reasons why it may be wise to readopt your child in a U.S. jurisdiction, however. Many other states do require a readoption process before they will issue a birth certificate. Should you and your family move to a different state, this could complicate matters for you in the future, particularly if issues like divorce, custody disputes, child support or the distribution of survivors’ benefits arise. Your New Jersey adoption lawyer can give you the advice you need to make the decision that is right for you and your family here.
If you’re a resident of the Garden State who’s considering an international adoption, it’s important to work with an experienced family law attorney. Contact Cofsky & Zeidman in Haddonfield at (856) 429-5005 or in Woodbury at (856) 845-2555 to set up a consultation with a New Jersey adoption attorney who understands everything this complex process involves.