What is Readoption?

In the case of intercountry adoptions, some countries issue a final adoption decree to the adoptive parents while they are in the country. But the parents may seek a readoption, an additional adoption in their home state beyond the one that occurred in the child's country. A readoption allows them to obtain an adoption decree and birth certificate from their state. Your adoption agency can provide information on readopting.


A readoption is a process in which international adopters adopt their children a second time, in front of a U.S. judge. (The first time was in the country of the child's birth.)

Why readopt? For several reasons. For one, a foreign document may be challenged by some people such as school authorities. The family who readopts may believe that a U.S.-issued birth certificate is a lot more credible to the average bureaucrat—and they're probably right. Another reason: Some states require readoption, not recognizing adoption in other countries as valid.

Readoption also ensures that a child has the full rights of inheritance from adoptive parents in the event of the death of one or both of them without a will. If only one parent travels to another country to adopt the child, then readoption is the only way the other parent can become a legal parent. In one case, an adoptive father who traveled alone to Russia was diagnosed with late-term cancer shortly after he returned. The family had to rush through the readoption before the father died so that the child would have a legal parent in the United States.

A readoption also may protect families from possible legal changes overseas that might retroactively affect adoptions finalized in the foreign country.

Readoption procedures are not uniform from state to state (or even from county to county within a state). Some areas make it a lot tougher than others. It's a good idea to find out ahead of time (before you adopt) what the procedure is in your area so that you can have everything ready to go by the time you bring the child home. Ask your agency for information on readoption and check with your adoptive parent group for assistance.

More on: Adoption


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Adoption © 2004 by Christine Adamec. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

easter fun
& crafts

Egg-cellent ideas
for tons of
Easter fun.



Healthy Smile Checklist for Kids
Have better dental check-ups with this free printable checklist that helps keep your child flossing, brushing, and smiling! Brought to you by Philips Sonicare.

Kindergarten Readiness App
It's kindergarten registration time! Use this interactive kindergarten readiness checklist, complete with fun games and activities, to practice the essential skills your child needs for this next big step. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

8 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
Need some fun ideas for decorating Easter eggs with the kids? Look no further for colorful and cool designs!

7 Ways to Curb Kids' Exposure to Violence
American children are exposed to violence more often than you might think. Learn how to limit your child's exposure to violence and manage the mental health and behavioral effects it can cause.