International or Intercountry

For families wishing to adopt a child from another country, Jennifer will share her experience and knowledge in navigating and understanding the process.  In addition, we can help new adoptive parents to complete the finalization/re-adoption process once you have successfully adopted a child in another country and returned home to MD, VA or DC.

However, we do not process or handle international adoptions but will instead refer you to an agency or international Adoption Service Provider should you need representation.  We also do not handle immigration matters.  If the child you are seeking to adopt is not in the United States on an IR-4, IR-3, IH-4 or IH-3 Visa, we will require that you hire an immigration attorney to consult and advise about any possible adoption and the implications. 

To learn more about our international re-adoption services or to receive referrals to international adoption service providers, contact us now.  The following guide will provide you with an overview of international adoption in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia:

What is International Re-Adoption?

An international re-adoption is where a child’s adoption is finalized within the United States, after the child has been officially adopted within their country of birth. Although an adoption may be considered finalized by your child’s birth country’s standards, an international re-adoption is always highly encouraged by adoption professionals upon your return to the U.S.

A re-adoption cements your child’s status as a U.S. citizen and protects your family from potential legal complications in the future regarding parenthood, citizenship and adoption status. This is truly done for your child’s protection, so if you have adopted internationally, a re-adoption within the U.S. is recommended.

Once you return home with your child following the international adoption process in their birth country, we will assist you in obtaining a state-issued birth certificate through the re-adoption process or other administrative process.

Do I Need to do a Re-Adoption to Protect Intercountry Adoption?

As of April 1, 2008, if your child is adopted from a Hague Country, you should be able to obtain a United States Hague Adoption Certificate without any further legal process in your home state. However, it is highly recommended that clients who adopt internationally complete an international re-adoption in Maryland, Virginia or the District of Columbia.

There are many reasons to go through the re-adoption process for a foreign adoption, even if it is not legally required in your individual situation. Some advantages of protecting your international adoption in this way include:

  • Changing the child's name if necessary.
  • Having State-issued documents (final adoption decree) that can be used if needed in lieu of using a Foreign Decree (often only one provided).
  • Obtaining a Certificate of Birth for foreign-born children. Maryland has an administrative process to obtain the Certificate of Foreign Birth if a name change and additional documents are not needed. A Certificate of Birth does NOT establish citizenship, and the document itself will state that it is not proof of citizenship.
  • Protection from frequently changing foreign adoption laws that could affect your child, even after your adoption.
  • Making th child's everyday life easier, like when they apply for a driver’s license or file their taxes; having an adoption decree in English and proof of citizenship will prevent frustrating or potentially legally difficult experiences.

On July 12, 2010, Washngron, DC Mayor Fenty signed The Adoption Reform Amendment Act of 2010, which went into law in October 2011. One change will affect re-adoption cases. Title IV of the Act eliminates the need for a full re-adoption process in cases in which (1) a final decree of adoption has been granted by a foreign country and (2) the child has been issued an IR-3 visa. There is still a court process, but it is streamlined in these particular cases. 

If you are not sure whether you need to complete the re-adoption process in your international adoption case, contact us now. We can help you determine exactly what is required (and what is recommended) to protect your inter-country adoption.

Adoption Tax Identification Number

ATIN Numbers - An Adoption Tax Identification Number (ATIN) is obtained for your adopted child when you are not yet able to get a Social Security Number.  It is a temporary number that can be used until the SSN is issued.  To get an ATIN, adoptive parents must file a W-7A form which can be downloaded from It takes 4-6 weeks to obtain an ATIN and it expires two years after being issued (by then you should have the SSN!).  For information on getting a social security number, go to or call 1-800-772.1213.   

What are the types of Adoption?

Domestic Agency Adoption, Domestic Independent (non-agency) Adoption, & Intercountry Adoption. Within domestic agency adoptions, there are Public Agency Adoption and Private Agency Adoption. Intercountry or International adoption can be either an agency or independent adoption.  For legal purposes, every case must be either an agency or an independent adoption. There are two steps: 1.The birth parents’ rights are relinquished to an agency. 2. The agency consents to an adoption by a adoptive parent(s). Independent adoption have one step: 1. Birth parent(s) give consent directly to an adoptive parent(s).

“I believe in working with each of my clients—in support of their family dynamic—to make the dreams of parenthood a reality. Whether you are single or married; or gay; a step-parent, a surrogate or intended parent or a child of adoption, it is my mission to serve as your advocate. With a dedication to the ethical and sensitive nature of each situation, I will help you understand the laws within Maryland or Washington, DC for adoption or surrogacy, and pledge to be your partner throughout the journey.” - Jennifer Fairfax