International adoption is complex, especially the paperwork. Agencies have contracts, the governments have forms and immigrating into a new country requires passports and visas and medical exams. Once you arrive home, there will be a stack or two of papers none of us are sure we might ever need, yet we keep that stack carefully just in case. Along with post placement reports with your social worker, you will also work on things like a social security card and Certificate of Citizenship (CoC). My children have been home 4 and 3 years respectively, so I thought all the paperwork is behind us. WRONG!
I had to contact social security administration for something and they asked me to verify my dependents over the phone. As I went through the children’s info, she suddenly stopped me and stated that one of my children is marked as an “undocumented alien”. Great. I stated that she has a passport with visa, CoC and we have all appropriate paperwork. This lady was neither convinced nor impressed. So I am off to our social security office to prove that my child is a citizen. Most likely someone entered something incorrectly when she received her social security card, but today, it becomes my problem.
What I have learned is our government offices don’t cross reference and talk to each other. One place can be right and another can be wrong. Sometimes it could be something minor like spelling of a name, but for us, it’s our child’s citizenship status. May not matter today, but if they ever need benefits or assistance, it will matter a lot.
There are many parents who openly state that as long as their child came here legally, they don’t need a CoC. The child has a passport, it’s all good. Please research this, CoC is the best proof of your child’s citizenship and the gold standard when you need proof of it.
Just as we took the time to fill out the right forms during the adoption, let’s keep up with it afterwards too. It’s not fun, it may cost some, but our children need it.
(Lyford Law, a helpful article about citizenship and documentation)
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