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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Postscript One: Re-Adoption

It has been over one year since I last posted to this blog, and over two years since our boys finally came home! The purpose of this "postscript" is to record a final chapter of paperwork that is taking place now that our family has returned stateside for a year of furlough ministry in the US. While I know the ins and outs of adoption are often changing, my hope is that these details may be helpful to someone else who is or may soon be "in our shoes."

To summarize, our goals this year were to (1) re-adopt our sons in our home state of Delaware; (2) obtain United States birth certificates for both boys; (3) request new Social Security cards; (4) obtain new Certificates of Citizenship; and (5) apply for new US passports for each one, reflecting their new names.

Step 1: Delaware Re-Adoption

Through a Yahoo! support group for Delaware adoptive parents, I learned that we must contact a clerk within the county courthouse for a packet of documents required for re-adoption. These documents were to be typed out exactly the same as the originals but with our sons' information inserted. They then had to be signed and notarized, and submitted in person with a fee and accompanying documents such as the boys' original birth certificates, visas, and adoption decrees from Haiti (with English translations.) Less than two weeks later, the re-adoption decree was printed and ready for pick up! We praise God for guiding us through this process and for Delaware's making simple what in other state is often a costly and tedious affair.

Our purpose in re-adopting the boys despite their already having a full and final adoption in Haiti was first and foremost to provide them with access to a US birth certificate to confirm their citizenship and allow them to obtain copies as needed in the future (up to this point, we have only had one handwritten Haitian birth certificate for each child.) We wanted to make certain that Ian and Alec will have any and all documentation available so as to protect them from unforeseen complications in the future.

Step 2: US Birth Certificates

Once the adoption decree was in hand, we spoke to a contact at Delaware Vital Statistics about our situation. She told us to call back in two weeks, which we did and at which time she confirmed that the boys' certificates were in the system. We sent payment via personal check and with a self-addressed stamped envelope, receiving shortly thereafter our sons' Delaware birth certificates in the mail.

We did learn that future copies of their birth certificates will always need to be requested this way, as it is not possible to use an online service such as Vitalchek due to their birthplace being outside the United States.

Step 3: Social Security Cards

With new US birth certificates and re-adoption papers in hand, I went in person to the Social Security Administration in Flint, Michigan (where we were at the time) and received excellent help from the clerks there. They destroyed the boys' old cards and arranged for their new cards to be mailed to Delaware for receipt within 7-14 days. By the time we arrived to my parents' home the following week the cards were ready and waiting!

To Be Continued ...


Jill Wilkins said...

YAY... I loved getting an update Stephanie! How are you guys?!

Naomi said...

Thank you for the valuable info!! I'll be referring back to this from time to time. I've leaned on trailblazers like you through this entire process. Thank you for sharing your story with us!

Naomi said...

Thank you for the valuable info!! I'll be referring back to this from time to time. I've leaned on trailblazers like you through this entire process. Thank you for sharing your story with us!

Jackie said...

Hi Stephanie! I would love to pick your brain about adopting. We are looking into adoption (we are missionaries in Paraguay, I'm an MK that grew up in Venezuela) and while there is so much info on adopting via the United States, I haven't found much information for expatriate Americans wanting to adopt from another foreign country. My email is jackiemccobbATyahooDOTcom. Would love to hear from you! :)

MaryAnne said...

Stephanie, I can't thank you enough for all the stories that you have shared throughout this adoption process! It's been so wonderful reading your blog! I have an adopted daughter from China and we never talk about her adoption because she doesn't want to. I hate to think she is embarrassed she is adopted. Any advice? I am trying to understand what she is going through by using the tools I found on, I just hope it's enough!