The United States Congress passed and the President has signed into law S.1614, commonly called the Accuracy for Adoptees Act. This new federal law greatly helps children who were adopted from foreign countries and given inaccurate birth dates and ages. This has been a common problem where children were abandoned at orphanages or came into institutional care without any birth record. When such international adoptions are processed, the foreign country may assign a birth date based on a “best guess” that is then used in processing adoption and immigration paperwork – and these birth dates are commonly inaccurate. While it has been a somewhat common practice to try and correct such inaccurate birth dates in state court re-adoption process in the U.S. based medical, educational, and dental evidence of the child’s true age, Federal agencies would commonly not accept such an amended birth date issued by state courts. As a result, these children ended up with two different dates of birth – one on their federal documents (e.g. passport, social security card) and another date on their state documents (e.g. birth certificate). This created a multitude of problems as these children grew up ranging from school grade level placement, inability to get a passport or a driver’s license, and even accusations of identity fraud when two different dates of birth existed for one child.
The Accuracy for Adoptees Act signed into law by the President on January 16, 2014 and effective on that date, solves these problems by requiring federal agencies to recognize amended birth dates as issued by state courts. This new federal law has removed the bureaucracy and red tape that these families and children previously faced.
The Bill was proposed by members of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys who had faced this issue and its long term consequences to families and children. Only 72 bills have been signed into law by the President in this session of Congress and the Accuracy for Adoptees Act is one of them. This important legislation will have a very positive and immediate impact on families and adopted children who were born overseas.
If you would like more information on this new law or how to correct an adopted child’s inaccurate birth date, please feel free to contact me.