Readoption and Becoming Citizens Part 1

On Christmas Eve, K, E, and W. all became American citizens! Because Russ and I did not see them in person prior to their adoptions in Ethiopia, they entered the United States on IR4 visas. This meant that we needed to have their adoptions recognized by our county court in a readoption hearing. At the time that their readoption was complete, they would immediately become American citizens, with all of the privileges and responsibilities that brings.

Christmas Eve came and we all got dressed nicely, the four youngest in their special Christmas outfits. We had invited some friends who were all at the courthouse when we arrived. Dimples was excited! We waited for the judge in the courtroom, stood when he entered, and then sat down. Although I had absolutely no idea what to expect, I was definitely surprised when the judge called Russ to the front and asked me to leave the room in order to question him.

I took Little Man out with me and waited until I was called in and Russ was asked to leave the courtroom. Then I swore to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.” The very first question the judge asked me threw me off. He asked if I was present in Ethiopia with my husband throughout the entire adoption process. I was worried about saying the wrong thing, but I had just sworn to tell the truth, so I explained that we were not in Ethiopia when the actual adoption took place, but that we arrived later for the visa application process. He asked me something else that I can’t recall, and then he kindly explained that what he was attempting to determine if I had been present with Russ throughout the process in Ethiopia so that he didn’t make any decisions regarding the adoption without my knowledge.

The judge then asked if I understood the permanence of the adoption decision, elaborating that in this state, adoption is the most permanent, binding agreement there is. Did I understand that my adopted children would be viewed as equal to my children by birth in terms of inheritance, etc.? His questions were serious and I felt the weight of them, but I had no trouble answering that I fully understood.

Russ returned to the court room and the judge granted our readoption. We pinned a special American flag pin on each of the children and went forward to take a family photo with the judge. Our friends greeted us with hugs and congratulations and we all sang the Doxology giving thanks to God for ALL that He has done thus far.

That night Dimples prayed, “Jesus, Thank you for giving me family. Thank you Christmas time you make me American girl.”


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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. thecurryseven
    January 21, 2008

    Congratulations! What a very special Christmas gift. Your pictures are terrific.

  2. Sherry
    January 29, 2008

    Awwww…congratulations to Dimples, Eby, and LM for becoming official citizens! What a happy day that must have been! 🙂

    Judge __ is the same we had for both our surrogacy hearings. He is VERY thorough though, and a bit gruff on the exterior, but has a heart of gold and dearly loves something happy, like adoptions, in his courtroom. 🙂

    The pics were very special!


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