Friday, October 14, 2011

Second Class Citizen, Again??

Recently the National Benefits Center (NBC) hosted a teleconference for both adoptive parents and agency representatives regarding the topic of Bringing Your Internationally Adopted Child to the United States.  The teleconference discussed the steps that should occur with USCIS after a family returns home to the United States with their adopted child.

Since I have been assisting children into families for more than 15 years, the teleconference lacked new information for the most part.  However, we did learn about a significant and disturbing new requirement that leaves me thinking about how far away we are in recognizing an adopted child as a legitimate and equal part of a family.

In the past, any child that entered the US under a full and final adoption decree, coupled with an IR3 or HR3 visa, was automatically granted full US citizenship upon reaching US soil, per the Child's Citizenship Act of 2000.

Not so today!  If your child enters the US between the ages of 14-18 years of age, your child is not automatically bestowed US citizenship, regardless if they have entered the US with an IR3 or HR3 visa.

Before your child is granted US citizenship they must be issued an appointment to attend a Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America ceremony by their local USCIS field office.

Once your child has successfully taken an Oath, only then will your 14-18 year old child be granted US citizenship.

I have never considered adoption as anything paramount to the priceless gift of a family forged of love.  How did it happen that our country now requires our adopted children to pledge an oath to our country as a criteria to be a legitimate part of our nation?  I am deeply saddened that my country has attached this new requirement and, in doing so, has effectively relegated  our children to the status of second class citizens 

Post Script: One agency representative of Carolina Adoption Services astutely asked the teleconference moderators what provisions would be made for children who have not yet mastered English to effectively take the Oath.  To date, there are no provisions in place to address this obvious issue.   

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