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I am a wife, daughter, mother, bilingual teacher, poet, author, women's Bible study teacher, world traveler, orphan advocate, and an adoptive mother.  Our adoption journey has been filled with a lot of hurt and loss, along with even more hope, grace, and healing.  Through it we have experienced more of God than we ever bargained for and have watched Him miraculously redeem our story when we surrendered all the broken pieces to Him.

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Recognition of a foreign adoption decree

Over the last two years, our social worker mentioned the idea of a doing a re-adoption process for Juan David now that he is in the United States. I knew that his adoption was full and final in Colombia, though, and a re-adoption is not even necessary in the state of Texas, so we just smiled and dismissed her idea. Getting him home after five long years was traumatic enough on our family.

Thankfully, I follow posts on a group with other parents who adopted from Colombia, and I learned that we only needed to file for a recognition of his adoption in order to get him a Texas birth certificate (which will just make life a bit easier for him in the future). I told our social worker that we planned to do that, and she looked at us like we were crazy. "I've never heard of anyone not readopting their children after they come home." Well, for some international adoptions, that may be the case, but I knew that it just wasn't necessary after Juan David's adoption.  She gave me a list of lawyers to call for advice on the matter.

So, I started calling. The first one wanted to make contacts in Colombia to reterminate parental rights! Um, no. Totally not necessary. Plus she wanted $1800.

The second one didn't think it necessary to reterminate the parental rights, and her fees only came up to $1145, but she wasn't very close to home.

The third was back in my own county, but $200 more.  The fourth completely understood the difference between a re-adoption and a recognition, so she required less documentation. But her fees started at $1500 in addition to filing fees, plus she recommended I find someone else in my own county so I didn't show up late for the hearing due to traffic. After I called three more lawyers, I found even more determination to find a cheaper and less complicated route. I researched as much as possible on-line by finding other people's blogs that explained what they did, I made countless unanswered phone calls to my district clerk's office, and I finally pieced it all together to figure out how to do the paperwork and file it on our own, without a lawyer.

Well, guess what? Last Wednesday, Mike, Juan David, and I appeared before the judge on our own and walked away with a legal recognition of Juan's adoption. $333 in filing fees. $4 for extra copies. Considering Mike is out of work for the time being, I'll consider that money saved as a bit of extra income to give him some more time to find the next job God has for him.

 The actual process and documentation were super easy and painless. The research, phone calls,  misinformation, and lack of guidance all made it hard and complicated. I am thankful for the few blogs I found with the right information, so I hope this blog post can help another adoptive parent some day. If you are that parent, feel free to leave me a comment so I can give you more specific info. about what we did.

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