Birth date issue affects adoptees

On behalf of Lake Toback Attorneys

Illinois parents may be interested to know that an issue has come up in legislation regarding the birthdays of adopted children from foreign countries. Though this is not an issue that affects all adopted children, it is well-known among adoptive families that official birth dates are not always correct.

For example, a family who adopted a little girl from Ethiopia was told that the girl was 4 years old. However, the girl said she was 7 years old, and bone scans and other tests were consistent with the girl’s assertion. Over the course of one year, the girl tripled in size as a result of proper nutrition and health care.

Through a state court process, the birth dates of children can be corrected with proof of their actual age. The central issue, however, is that federal agencies do not recognize this change, so documentation for these children carries two birth dates instead of one. If the Accuracy for Adoptees Act is signed by President Obama, the bill would require changes to also be made on the federal level.

If the bill is successful, it may help streamline some issues faced by adoptive families. Though the issue can be made complicated by the fact that some foreign adoption agencies don’t actually have recorded dates of birth for children, a birth date can usually be selected, and streamlining the process by ensuring that each child has only one recorded birth date is one way of helping reduce family law complications associated with adoption, such as allegations of identity fraud as the child ages.

Families who are raising adopted children may benefit from legal counsel from an attorney with experience in family law. They may be able to advise adoptive parents on matters of establishing birth dates for children who have none or have incorrect ones.

Source: USA Today, “Law aims to address adoptees’ birth date problems“, Kim Mulford, January 14, 2014

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Birth date issue affects adoptees