Monday, August 27, 2012

Re-Adoption Day!

The paperwork and red tape seems to never end with an adoption.  For real, nobody and I mean NOBODY tell me it's easier to have a child through adoption than biologically -- I've done both and I assure you that statement is very far from the truth!  But, we can see the end of the tunnel o' paperwork and government hassles!

One of our final steps was re-adoption here in the U.S.

After an investigation and court proceedings, our daughter's adoption was finalized in an Ethiopian court last October.  We were issued an Ethiopian birth certificate with my husband and I listed as the parents of our new little girl with her name being her Ethiopian first name, my husband's first name as her middle name (this is a standard in Ethiopian adoptions and was not our choice) and then our last name as her last name.  Then there was a separate investigation done by our U.S. government in the American embassy in Ethiopia.  That investigation reached a favorable outcome last December.  Our daughter was issued a Visa allowing us to go get her and bring her into the U.S. where she became an American citizen when she landed on U.S. soil here in Texas.

She was legally our daughter by both U.S. and Ethiopian law.  She was an American citizen, she was living with us permanently.  We'd already adopted her, so why the need to re-adopt?

Well, the re-adoption allowed us to get the adoption recognized by the state of Texas (where we live), thus the U.S. government (again) and now we'll get a U.S. birth certificate which is much easier to use to turn in at schools and such than the Ethiopian document, not to mention replace if it was ever lost.  Also, we were able to change her name from her Ethiopian name to her American name.  And there are also some legal technicalities that were cleaned up by doing the re-adoption, like some weirdness around inheritance rights.  Before it would have been possible for our biological children to fight our adopted child for her inheritance when my husband and I pass away.  Heaven forbid our biological children would have wanted to do that, but now our new little girl holds the same legal status as our other three children, which is as it should be.

There.  Enough legal jargon.  On to the excitement of the day!

We drove to a county about 3 hours away from us because we tried this re-adoption in our own county and it was going to be a huge ordeal requiring an attorney to represent our daughter in addition to our own attorney and a lengthy, expensive process.  My husband and I spent several hours one morning (golden hours where all 4 of our kids were being babysat, no less) sitting in a judge's courtroom waiting for him to hear our case just to tell us the ordeal it was going to be!  And while we waited through numerous other cases, the judge kept making snide comments and jokes about Ethiopia, like his questions to an African-looking man, "Hi, Sir, maybe you can tell me something about Ethiopia?"  "Oh, you're not from Ethiopia, well maybe you can at least tell me where it is on a map, because I don't know and they're wanting me to sign off on an adoption done by Ethiopian law!"

Praise God we learned through a fellow adoptive family of a saint of an attorney who worked in another county where the judge was more than happy to sign-off on our adoption and our daughter's legal status in our family!  The judge's exact words were, "It would be my pleasure!"  He had chairs pulled up for the kids to stand on and had us all raise our right hands and even asked my kids questions about if they wanted this adoption (they all 4 said yes).  I loved it because we have been all about this being a family thing my kids were actively a part of since the beginning rather that it just being something that happened to them.

And the judge let us pose for pictures with him.

He's a rock star of a judge, both for the way he appreciates and treats adoptive families (you would not believe how many people treat adoptive families like the enemy) and literally because he plays in a rock band as a side jig (hence the cymbals in his courtroom).  My oldest son now has aspirations to be a judge!

To celebrate and since we drove 3 hours and all, we took in a nearby amusement park and spent the night in a hotel!

Little Girl LOVES roller-coasters!  She laughed the whole time and wanted to ride "Again!  Again!".  Thankfully there was no line!

Little Girl pouts A LOT when told she's not big enough for certain roller-coasters (especially ones her older siblings can ride), "I am bigger!!!  I AM!"

Happy, happy Re-Adoption Day!  At least with all the hassles involved with adoption, there is much to celebrate as well!

We are thankful. 

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!


  1. Girl, you are on the ball! We haven't even started the re-adoption process yet... I haven't managed to muster up the strength to do MORE paperwork! I agree with you - adopting is harder than having bio kiddos!
    And I want to drive to Texas just to see this judge! That is amazing! Congratulations to your beautiful family!!!

  2. So glad you found the second judge!


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