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BACK HOME WITH YOUR CHILD


1. Entering the US

2. Health Care Insurance

3. Contacting Social Worker

4. Doctor's Visit

5. Formalizing Adoption in Court

6. Citizenship Certificate

7. Passport

8. Social Security Number

9. Birth Certificate

10. Post Placement Updates

 


1. Entering the US

The US does not recognise the effects of an adoption order made in Pakistan and thus you will need to adopt your child again in the US. Once you have brought your child to the US, you must tell your local authority that you have adopted the child under Pakistan law and let them know that you intend to adopt the child under US law.

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2. Health Care Insurance

Make sure that health insurance coverage has been arranged for your baby. Companies deal with this situation differently. Since we only get guardianship for the child in Pakistan and adoption is not finalized in Pakistan, it can take a bit of persuasion to get the new baby covered by your health insurance. Talking to your HR department and sometimes getting your social worker involved may help.

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3. Contacting Social Worker

Contact your social worker after your return home with the baby to start adoption proceedings in your state. This may involve several post-placement reports from the social worker after the baby has been home, and varies by state requirements. In many cases, because the adoption process in Pakistan can take quite long, the home study may have expired and needs to be updated. If the home study has expired, a modified home study is done, and the background checks by the police and the FBI need to be done again.

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4. Doctor's Visit

Take your child to a pediatrician and have her/him updated with shots and declared free of all communicable diseases. The doctor needs to give you a letter to this effect. It is advisable to select a pediatrician and meet with him/her prior to the trip to take custody of the child. It may be helpful to take along a list of preferred immunizations with you when you go to Pakistan to adopt the baby, and follow the schedule for shots at appropriate stages in the child's development. The immunization regimen is somewhat different between US and Pakistan and it is much easier to get the shots taken care of in Pakistan as recommended by your pediatrician in US, than getting the child updated after your return.

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5. Formalizing Adoption in Court

The formal adoption or finalization takes place at your local probate court. Typically you need to engage a local adoption attorney to present your case in court. The parents and the child are required to be present at the court, along with the attorney and in some states, the social worker may need to be present as well. All health forms for the baby, the parents and any older siblings need to be current. All paperwork including home study and post placement reports need to be up-to-date. The court needs to see the original guardianship certificate and the guardianship decree. In some states the court may appoint Amicus Attorney to represent the interest of the child and of the absent birth parents for the court hearing. If everything is in order, the Adoption Certificate or the Adoption Decree is awarded right away. Based on the adoption decree a new birth certificate may be issued by the state for the adopted child.

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6. Citizenship Certificate

The Child Citizenship Act of 2001 provides US citizenship to adopted children of US citizens. After the formal adoption, parents can apply for the baby's citizenship certificate by filing Form N- 643. You must also submit photographs of the child, fee (currently $125), evidence of final adoption (adoption decree) and evidence of all legal name changes. Forms need to be filed at your BCIS district office. See www.uscis.gov

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7. Passport

Parents can apply for the child's US passport on the basis of the final adoption decree, and Certificate of Citizenship. You need to file Form DS - 11 along with the child's photographs, fee, certified copy of adoption decree, child's green card/Pakistani passport and proof of identity of American citizen parents. See www.state.gov

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8. Social Security Number

You can apply for your child's social security number before the final adoption decree, you do not have to wait until adoption is finalized. You will need the baby's social security number to get them on your medical insurance and it may be more advisable to get the social security number sooner rather than later. You need to file Form SS - 5 with your local social security office. You must also show them the original adoption decree as well as proof of your identity. See www.socialsecurity.gov

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9. Birth Certificate

Even though your baby has a birth certificate issued by the local authorities in Pakistan, it is easier for families living overseas if they get a local birth certificate for the child issued by your state of residence. Later in life when you need certified copies of the birth certificate, it would be more convenient to go to city hall in US than contact the Union council in Pakistan that originally issued the birth certificate for the baby. The form and the relevant information is available from your town clerk. In some states, issuance of state birth certificate may be automatic following the final adoption decree and your adoption attorney may be able to help you file for it.

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10. Post Placement Updates

The requirement for post-placement updates on the child varies depending on the agency you adopt from in Pakistan. However, it is a good idea to send regular updates to the placement agency on your child. An update every 6 months till the child is 5 years old is a positive gesture that provides positive feedback on the child's progress to the agency and paves the way for other families adopting from the same place.

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