Foreign adoption in New York State

Great news for families who adopt a child from a foreign country!  New York State has a shortened statutory procedure that gives full faith and credit of a foreign adoption in New York State, allowing a child’s name to be changed and a New York State birth certificate to be issued.  No longer is “re-adoption” necessary.

Families often choose to “re-adopt” a child in the United States (having already been previously adopted in a foreign country) to ensure that there is an adoption order that will be recognized in the United States, to obtain a New York State birth certificate for the child and to change the child’s name.  The re-adoption process requires the parent(s) to file a petition and present in court the same documents and studies as would be required in any domestic adoption. This can be time-consuming, costly, burdensome and duplicative of everything previously required for the foreign adoption.

Two laws govern the recognition of the Foreign Adoption Order and the generation of a name change and new birth certificate.  They are the Domestic Relations Law § 111-c (1) and the Public Health Law § 4138. The Domestic Relations Law provides for an expedited, yet optional, registration process for adoption orders issued abroad.  DRL §111-c provides the same rights to foreign adoptions as adoptions in New York State, provided that at the time of adoption, either parent must be a resident New York State and the validity of the foreign adoption is verified by the granting of an IR-3 immigrant visa, or a successor immigrant visa, for the child by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.  It gives foreign adoptions full faith and credit by the courts of New York State and provides that they shall be enforced as if the order were rendered by a court within New York.  A “Petition for Registration of Foreign Adoption Order” (form 28) needs to be filed and an “Order of Foreign Adoption and Name Change” (form 28-A) needs to be presented for signature by the judge. If the court finds that the foreign adoption order complies with this section, the court must issue an order of adoption to the party who has petitioned for such an order and upon registration, a birth certificate shall be issued.

The Public Health Law allows for the generation of a New York State birth certificate.

This expedited process reduces the time and money previously involved in foreign adoptions. For those who fall under the general requirements, the process eliminates the headache of going through two separate, but ultimately similar, adoption procedures. However, as explained above, the expedited process still has a set of procedures to follow, and it is recommended that an attorney is consulted to ensure that all requirements are met.