Recognition of foreign adoption in Florida

Florida Readoption and Recognition of Foreign Adoption Guide

What Is Readoption?

A Florida readoption, otherwise known as Florida recognition of foreign adoption, allows you to have a Florida court recognize your adoption abroad. It is usually the last legal step on your adoption journey when adopting internationally. The readoption process is governed by Chapter 63, Fla. Stat. As a result of the readoption, your child will receive a Certificate of Foreign Birth (which functions like a domestic birth certificate).

Reasons to Do a Florida Readoption

There are three main reasons to do a readoption in Florida:

1. A readoption solidifies the parent-child relationship under Florida law. Even if the adoption laws of the country of birth change, your adoption will be unaffected once the domestication of foreign adoption is complete. For example, orphanages can be shut down, relationships between the U.S. and other countries can change. A readoption in Florida prevents those events from affecting your status with your child.

2. A readoption gives you a Florida certificate of foreign birth. An official document from Florida is more easily presentable and accepted by various organizations and institutions, such as schools and government offices. Plus, if you lose the Florida certificate, you can quickly and easily get another.

3. If your child has an IH-4 or IR-4 visa, a Florida readoption may be required to ensure your child will be a U.S. citizen.

As part of the Florida readoption process, you’ll be able to change your child’s name so that their English name is on the birth certificate.

Is a Florida Readoption Required?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. If your child has a IR-3 or IH-3 visa, then you do not have to readopt. However, there are still good reasons for completing a readoption, as outlined above. On the other hand, if your child has a IR4 or IH-4 visa, you must do a readoption to complete the citizenship process. Most children adopted in a foreign country have a IR-3 or IH-3 visa.

In our experience, people with foreign adoptions benefit from a readoption in Florida because they get a certificate of foreign birth.

We help families throughout Florida.

We take care of the entire adoption process from start to finish. Start with a free phone or Zoom consultation.

Alper Law attorneys

How Long Does a Florida Readoption Take?

A readoption will take about one to two months from start to finish for the Court hearing. We file readoptions for our clients in Seminole County, Florida. However, we represent clients throughout the state. The readoption can require an in-person appearance in Seminole County for the court hearing depending on the judge assingment.

After the readoption hearing is complete, our office will send the required paperwork to have the state of Florida issue a Certificate of Foreign Birth.

Florida readoption

Do you Need an Attorney for a Readoption?

No. However, keep in mind that the judge is not going to bend the rules or overlook the legal requirements for a readoption just because you are trying to do it yourself. We know that our clients have already spent a substantial amount of money in completing the foreign adoption, so we strive to make our fees affordable.

Steps to Readoption

Here are the general steps involved in a readoption in Florida:

  1. Determine Eligibility for Readoption: Verify that your situation requires readoption.
  2. Gather Necessary Documents: Collect all required documents from the foreign adoption, including the foreign adoption decree, the child’s birth certificate, immigration documents, and any translations if the documents are not in English.
  3. Petition for Readoption: File a petition for readoption in the county court where you reside or in the county where your attorney is located. The petition should include all relevant details about the adoption, including the child’s information, the adoptive parents’ information, and details of the foreign adoption.
  4. Attend Court Hearing: Once the petition is filed and all necessary documents are submitted, the court will schedule a hearing. The adoptive parents and, in some cases, the child must attend this hearing. With some judges, the hearing can be held virtually.
  5. Issuance of Final Adoption Decree: If the court is satisfied with the petition and all legal requirements are met, it will issue a final decree of adoption, legally recognizing the child as the adoptive parents’ child under Florida law.
  6. Obtain a Certificate of Foreign Birth: After the readoption is finalized, you can apply for a Florida certificate of foreign birth.

In our experience, the entire readoption process takes 3-4 months from start to finish.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is readoption in Florida?

Readoption is the legal process of re-finalizing an adoption in Florida that was initially completed in another country or state to ensure it is fully recognized under Florida law.

What documents are needed for readoption?

Documents required include the original adoption decree, the child’s birth certificate, the adoptive parents’ identification, and any immigration paperwork if applicable.

Do both parents need to be present for readoption?

Yes, both adoptive parents usually need to be present or provide consent for the readoption process unless one parent has sole legal custody.

Gideon Alper

About the Author

I’m an adoption attorney who helps clients throughout Florida with stepparent, relative, and adult adoptions. I graduated with honors from Emory University Law School and have practiced law for almost 15 years.

I focus on helping families where there is already a connection between the adoptee and the adoptive parent. Before private practice, I represented the federal government while working for the IRS Office of Chief Counsel.