State Recognition of Intercountry Adoptions Finalized Abroad - Pennsylvania

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Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree

Citation: Cons. Stat. Ann. Tit. 23, § 2908

When a minor is adopted by a resident of this Commonwealth and a final decree of adoption is made or entered in conformity with the laws of a foreign country, the adopting parent shall file a properly authenticated copy of the foreign decree of adoption, a copy of the child's visa, and either the child's birth certificate or some form of birth identification with the clerk of the court in the county of residence of the parent. If the foreign decree of adoption is not in English, the adopting parent shall also file a certified English translation. If no birth certificate or birth identification can be obtained, the adopting parent shall include an affidavit stating the reason why.

Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption

Citation: Cons. Stat. Ann. Tit. 23, § 2908

The court shall develop a foreign adoption registration form and instructions for its use. The form shall include statements indicating that the foreign adoption may not be a full and final adoption if:

  • Both parents, or the sole parent if only one parent is adopting, were not present for the adoption hearing in the foreign country.
  • The foreign court did not enter a final adoption decree.
  • The child's visa is not the type that would afford the child full U.S. citizenship.

The form shall notify the adopting parent or parents that an adoption decree may be obtained from the Commonwealth if the documents are reviewed by the court and the court determines the foreign adoption was full and final.

At the time of filing, a copy of the foreign decree of adoption and a certified English translation (if necessary), the child's visa, and either the child's birth certificate or some form of birth identification shall be attached to the foreign registration form and submitted to the clerk of the court.

In cases where the court determines the foreign adoption was full and final, the court shall direct the clerk to enter upon the docket an entry showing the foreign court identification of the proceedings in that court and the date of the decree. The clerk shall issue to the parent a certificate of adoption and send documentation to the Department of Health. No hearing shall be required prior to the issuance of the certificate of adoption, and the parent shall not be required to obtain counsel.

The court shall develop a standard petition, a standard court order, and instructions for their use for occasions when a child must be readopted to finalize the adoption. The clerk shall provide the adopting parent with the standardized information.

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 35, § 450.604

For any child born in a foreign country but adopted in Pennsylvania, whose adopting parents are U.S. citizens and residents of Pennsylvania, the department shall, upon request, complete and register a birth certificate upon receipt of a certified copy of the adoption decree, together with proof of the date and place of the child's birth.

Except as provided below, the birth certificate shall show the new name of the child as specified in the adoption decree, and such further information concerning the adopting parents as may be necessary to complete the birth certificate. The certificate shall show the true country and date of birth of the child, and that the certificate is not evidence of U.S. citizenship.

For any foreign-born child who satisfies the requirements of either § 1431 or 1433 of title 8, United States Code, and whose parent presents documents from the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or their successor agencies, including either a certificate of citizenship, a U.S. passport, or other document as specified by the department verifying the child's U.S. citizenship, the birth certificate shall show the true country and date of birth but will not contain any notation regarding citizenship of the registrant. For such registration, the department shall require proof of parental U.S. citizenship and of Pennsylvania residence.