Adoption | Same-Sex Adoptions | Foreign and Re-Adoption

The Adoption and Surrogacy Law Center

Re-Adopting or Finalizing or Domesticating Your International Adoption

Now that you have returned home with your child from overseas, or have met your new family addition at the airport, you should consider finalizing or domesticating your foreign adoption or guardianship.  This also is sometimes called a “re-adoption.”

If you only received guardianship from the other country, you most certainly should finalize your adoption so that you have a final adoption order declaring you the legal parent of the child (not just a guardian).

Even if you completely adopted your child in the other country, you should still consider domesticating or finalizing your foreign adoption in the United States because:

  • It erases any procedural flaws or irregularities in the foreign adoption
  • It enables you to get a birth certificate from your home state in the United States
  • It places your foreign born child on equal footing with any of his or her siblings who are biological children or who were adopted in the United States

Time Frame for the Re-Adoption or For Finalizing or Domesticating a Foreign Adoption or Guardianship in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

For residents of Virginia, you can file the Petition to finalize your foreign adoption or guardianship after you have had the child in your care for at least six months, provided that you have had at least three post-placement visits over that six month period. If you have not had the post-placement visits, then you must wait until the child has been in your care for one year before you can file.

Fees and Costs for the Re-adoption or Finalization

These re-adoptions generally are done on a flat fee basis. At the Adoption & Surrogacy Law Center, we charge a flat fee of $1,000. Costs are in addition to the fee amount and cover the approximate $40 court filing fee and the cost of obtaining the new birth certificates ($34 for two copies plus the processing fee) as well as miscellaneous costs such as postage and copying. Total costs usually amount to about $150 to $175.

Information and Documents Needed for the Re-Adoption or Finalization

  1. All original adoption papers with certified translations into English (we must make certified copies from the originals – this can be done by either bringing the originals by our office or by sending via a secured and guaranteed delivery (and we will return via the same delivery).
  2. All original immigration documents including passport, visa, US Citizenship card, welcome letter and the like (again – we must make certified copies from the originals).
  3. A signed and dated copy of your home study (does not have to be an original).
  4. The name, address and contact information for any agency that has done follow up visits and who will prepare the Report of Investigation.
  5. The date that your child first came to reside with you.
  6. The name that you want your child to have – exactly as you want it to be on the U.S. birth certificate (you can change any name via the re-adoption process).
  7. The city or county where you reside.

How the Re-Adoption or Finalization Will Proceed.

Once we receive the retainer and requested documentation:

  1. We will prepare the Petitions and Order of Reference. We will send those to you for review (correction if any) and signature before a notary.
  2. We then will file the documents with the Circuit Court in the jurisdiction where you live and the court will enter the Order of Reference which will order your supervising adoption agency to file its report within 60 days (of course they may submit it sooner then 60 days if they like). Absent any unusual circumstances, no court hearing is required.
  3. After the report is filed by the licensed adoption agency, the then the court will enter the Final Order and the Report of Adoption, copies of which are sent to us and to the Division of Vital Statistics. We will send the Final Order to you.
  4. The new birth certificates then can take anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks from the Virginia Department of Vital Statistics. If for any reason you need to have the issuance of the birth certificates expedited, please let us know and we will arrange for that.
RICHMOND: 804-285-6253
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Foreign and Re-Adoption


Re-Adopting or Finalizing or Domesticating Your International Adoption

Now that you have returned home with your child from overseas, or have met your new family addition at the airport, you should consider finalizing or domesticating your foreign adoption or guardianship.  This also is sometimes called a “re-adoption.”

If you only received guardianship from the other country, you most certainly should finalize your adoption so that you have a final adoption order declaring you the legal parent of the child (not just a guardian).

Even if you completely adopted your child in the other country, you should still consider domesticating or finalizing your foreign adoption in the United States because:

  • It erases any procedural flaws or irregularities in the foreign adoption
  • It enables you to get a birth certificate from your home state in the United States
  • It places your foreign born child on equal footing with any of his or her siblings who are biological children or who were adopted in the United States

Time Frame for the Re-Adoption or For Finalizing or Domesticating a Foreign Adoption or Guardianship in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

For residents of Virginia, you can file the Petition to finalize your foreign adoption or guardianship after you have had the child in your care for at least six months, provided that you have had at least three post-placement visits over that six month period. If you have not had the post-placement visits, then you must wait until the child has been in your care for one year before you can file.

Fees and Costs for the Re-adoption or Finalization

These re-adoptions generally are done on a flat fee basis. At the Adoption & Surrogacy Law Center, we charge a flat fee of $1,000. Costs are in addition to the fee amount and cover the approximate $40 court filing fee and the cost of obtaining the new birth certificates ($34 for two copies plus the processing fee) as well as miscellaneous costs such as postage and copying. Total costs usually amount to about $150 to $175.

Information and Documents Needed for the Re-Adoption or Finalization

  1. All original adoption papers with certified translations into English (we must make certified copies from the originals – this can be done by either bringing the originals by our office or by sending via a secured and guaranteed delivery (and we will return via the same delivery).
  2. All original immigration documents including passport, visa, US Citizenship card, welcome letter and the like (again – we must make certified copies from the originals).
  3. A signed and dated copy of your home study (does not have to be an original).
  4. The name, address and contact information for any agency that has done follow up visits and who will prepare the Report of Investigation.
  5. The date that your child first came to reside with you.
  6. The name that you want your child to have – exactly as you want it to be on the U.S. birth certificate (you can change any name via the re-adoption process).
  7. The city or county where you reside.

How the Re-Adoption or Finalization Will Proceed.

Once we receive the retainer and requested documentation:

  1. We will prepare the Petitions and Order of Reference. We will send those to you for review (correction if any) and signature before a notary.
  2. We then will file the documents with the Circuit Court in the jurisdiction where you live and the court will enter the Order of Reference which will order your supervising adoption agency to file its report within 60 days (of course they may submit it sooner then 60 days if they like). Absent any unusual circumstances, no court hearing is required.
  3. After the report is filed by the licensed adoption agency, the then the court will enter the Final Order and the Report of Adoption, copies of which are sent to us and to the Division of Vital Statistics. We will send the Final Order to you.
  4. The new birth certificates then can take anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks from the Virginia Department of Vital Statistics. If for any reason you need to have the issuance of the birth certificates expedited, please let us know and we will arrange for that.
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4928 W BROAD ST
PO BOX 11708
RICHMOND, VA 23230

PHONE: (804) 285-6253
FAX: (804) 545-9400

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