Citizenship and international adoptees

Yet another story of an adopted person whose parents never secured citizenship.  Blanca Catt was born in Mexico and adopted by U.S. citizen parents.  At age 16, she learned she was not a citizen.

Now 19, Catt and her mother are attempting to obtain citizenship.  But it is much more difficult once an adopted immigrant has reached the age of majority. 

In 2009, 2,105 Ethiopian children were brought to the United States for the purposes of adoption.  If those children’s parents don’t finalize the adoptions, the children will not obtain citizenship.  That’s just children from Ethiopia.  Take a look at the other numbers.  And don’t forget about those 1,000+ Haitian  “orphans” brought to the U.S. under humanitarian parole.  Humanitarian parole is a more complicated status than an IR4 visa; adoptive parents are already complaining about the lengthy process for citizenship.  How many will follow through?

And what about children with disrupted adoptions?  Jennifer Haynes was one such adoptee. Who will ensure they receive their citizenship?

Additionally, just a note on a few erroneous beliefs expressed by adoptive parents:

1. “A social security number is proof of citizenship.”  No, it is not.   You do not need to be a citizen to obtain a social security number.  In addition, if you do not show proof of citizenship when you apply for the social security card, the applicant will not be listed as a citizen in the SS record and may be deemed ineligible for certain benefits.

2.  “A foreign certification of birth issued by the state is proof of citizenship.”  No, it is not.  A birth certificate is only proof of citizenship if it indicates you were born in the U.S.  I might also note that a fair number of people appear to believe that folks of color aren’t citizens, even if born in the U.S.

3.  “A certificate of citizenship is not necessary.”  Yes, it most certainly is.

I’ve covered this ground before ad nauseum, and I don’t feel like covering it again.  Suffice it to say, I won’t be entertaining arguments with people who endorse any of these erroneous beliefs and maintain their superior rightness.  Especially if you can’t provide any facts to support your argument and I can.

If you are an adoptive parent, get your kid a certificate of citizenship.

That is all.

9 thoughts on “Citizenship and international adoptees

  1. Maybe if the Hague convention says that adoption is not complete until certificate of citizenship has been received, some of these fools would get up and get their kids the coc. One of my kids was adopted in the inbetween zone, the law had been passed but the certificate wasn’t automatic. It was hell getting it, but I’d rather me be the one who had the nervous breakdown at the INS office than her.
    Those kids from Haiti are probably going to have a really hard time, I wish I knew a way to help or advocate for them. I hate thinking of the kids you mentioned the other day living in youth detention centers.

  2. How about reforming the current US immigration system – so it’s an more streamlined process for both adoptee (immigrants) and non-adoptee immigrants? Let’s also educate the adoptive parents more while we’re at it.

  3. When adoptive parents address immigration they typically are seeking relief only to one specific group of immigrants–their adopted children. For example, the Help Haiti Act (Help Haitian Adoptees Immediately to Integrate Act of 2010) has passed the Senate. This act’s purpose is to adjust the status of the Haitian “orphans” who arrived under humanitarian parole so that they do not need to go through the same process as other immigrants with the same status.

  4. Amazing that so many PAPs and APs don’t understand the process for their internationally adopted children. With our agency, they will not sign off on the post-adoption reports (and the deposits they hold for said reports) until you send them a copy of the CoC. And the VERY strongly encourage completing a re-adoption in the state of residence even if the adoption was completed in the country of origin, just to cover all the legal bases.

    I would like to see the USCIS follow up with children brought in on IR4 visas to make sure they get their citizenship.

    As for APs who don’t take care of this, hell, we do so much paperwork to bring our children home, what’s a little more?!

  5. my comment was in response to this post, about Haitian children,… twisting it to say that I am concerned only with adopted children isn’t really accurate, but i get the picture.

  6. Mayken, I’m glad to hear your agency requires certificate of citizenship as part of the post-adoption follow-up. But many agencies do not, and even advise parents that it is not needed. And kids whose parents disrupt are at risk as well.

    Kathy, my comment was general and not addressed to you. ;-P

  7. My dad adopted me in 1983 after he married my mother. They never filed cert of citizenship, so I only have a greencard. The rest of my family are US citizens….my dad and sister are natural born citizens (my sister has dual) and my mother naturalized a few years ago. I am waiting for the German government to approve dual citizenship before I apply for naturalization because I want to retain my German passport. It could/should have been easier….

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