"An American Girl and Two Little American Boys" – Readoption and Citizenship

Our barn and house – July 4, 2007

Russ and K. with her first sparkler.

H. and A. with sparklers.

We’ve been on a long, slow journey toward readoption. It all started when we heard that the fee for a Certificate of Citizenship was going to nearly double last summer. We scrambled to meet the deadline, agonized over choosing names, made copies of documents, had photos taken, and got it all submitted just in time, before the fee increase. Then we got a call saying that although our application looked good, it would be held until they received evidence of our readoption. No problem there; we could get that done quickly.

Then we began to look into it. After spending many, many, many thousands of dollars, and practically becoming paperwork gurus, we figured we could handle the readoption ourselves. We heard that our homestudy agency could help us, but the paperwork they sent us related to a different type of visa than our children had. If both parents see the child prior to the adoption in the foreign country, the child enters the U.S. with an IR 3 visa and readoption is not required. In our case, we had not seen our children, so they entered the U.S. with an IR 4 visa.

I searched the internet, made many phone calls, and found that every state handles readoption differently. In addition, counties vary in how they handle it and even judges can vary. Russ finally started in on the paperwork and we were feeling good about how it was going. Prior to scheduling our court appointment, Russ took our documents to the Court Assistant for her to check them over. She told him that the margins were all wrong and he needed to do them again. Forgive me if you sense a bit of frustration here, but I was really irritated. It wasn’t like these were handwritten, messy documents. Afterall, I’m married to an engineering professor and he likes his work to be precise and tidy.

Then the semester began and those margins just had to wait. However, our concerns that our application for the Certificate of Citizenship didn’t wait. They hung over us and periodically we would look at each other and say, “We HAVE to finish that paperwork!”

Today Russ and I took a stack of seven sets of documents to our credit union and had them all notarized. Then we went to our county court house where each packet was stamped and we were given a case number. Best of all, we scheduled our hearing with the judge! On Christmas Eve at 11:45 A.M., Lord willing, our three children will be fully readopted in the United States and at that moment they will become American citizens!

Some dear friends from our days in Ithaca sent us a very special gift when our children arrived home. Karl works for President Bush and he sent us American flag pins that are the same pins worn each day by President Bush and his staff. When our children become citizens on Christmas Eve, they will be wearing those pins.

Tonight as we were tucking the children into bed, K. prayed, “Thank you God you give me family. Thank you Christmas time you make me American girl and make two little American boys. Amen.”

Amen, may it be so.

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Live Inside Out
    December 8, 2007

    I can picture the big, proud MOM-TEARS rolling down! How wonderful!
    (As for margins….hmmmpf! Maybe she was having a “bad” day? wink)
    I believe a Merry Christmas will be a given at YOUR house this year.


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