On Thursday, January 16, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Accuracy for Adoptees Act. This landmark piece of legislation, passed by Congress just before Christmas, will provide certainty for adopted children who had been given inaccurate birth dates by foreign adoption authorities. In international adoption, it is a common practice for children who have been abandoned without any birth records to be arbitrarily assigned a birth date by the foreign government for the purpose of processing adoption and immigration paperwork. Currently, state courts will amend the birth date of a child upon presentation of medical, educational, and dental evidence supporting the family’s request for a change of birth date. However, agencies of the federal government will not accept these amended dates, so children often end up with two different birth dates, one for federal documents and another for state documents. These inconsistencies create difficulties for the adoptee as he or she ages.
The Accuracy for Adoptees Act is an attempt to address this problem. The new law will require the U.S. federal government to recognize amended birth dates issued by state courts for adopted children. Thanks to this law, families and children will have greater certainty that they will be able to access the records and benefits they need without undue interference from the government.
We are pleased that this exciting piece of legislation is now law and available to help our families.