For many people, taking the Oath of Allegiance at a United States naturalization ceremony is a significant event on par with a major school graduation or even a wedding. Like those events, the naturalization ceremony is the culmination of a person’s struggle and effort to become a citizen of the United States. Participation in this ceremony is a once-in-a-lifetime event.
However, attending a naturalization ceremony wasn’t an experience that one of the attendees expected to have. Nevertheless, the adopted daughter of one of our client’s at Greenberg & Greenberg found herself standing before an American flag with her right hand raised, repeating the following words:
“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce…all allegiance and fidelity to any…sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…”
Interestingly enough, natural born citizens of the United States will probably never have to make this exact affirmation. Likewise, our client’s adopted daughter assumed she would never have to as well. She only discovered that there were issues concerning her proof of citizenship while she was applying for colleges.
Nineteen years ago, before our clients engaged our firm for legal services, they adopted their daughter from Russia through an agency in Arizona. Although the adoption process went smoothly, the agency neglected to provide our clients with any guidance regarding immigration and citizenship issues.
When parents seek to adopt a child from a foreign country, procedures can vary depending on whether the child resides in a country who is a member of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Adoptions from Hague Adoption Convention signatory states are conducted through an Adoption Service Provider (ASP) in a process that is safeguarded by the U.S. Department of State.
However, our clients did not locate their soon-to-be adopted child in a Hague Adoption Convention country. New York Domestic Relations Law requires prospective adoptive parents to obtain a court order from a New York Family or Surrogate’s Court and travel to the child’s country of residence to take physical custody of them and return to the U.S. with them.
U.S. immigration law authorizes entry to the U.S. for children with IR-3 or IR-4 visas who were or will be adopted from a non-Hague Convention country. The U.S. issues IR-3 visas for children whose adoption was completed process abroad. IR-4 visas are issued to children who travel to the U.S. first before the prospective adoptive parents see them. Children with the proper visas who are adopted in the U.S. before their 18th birthday will automatically obtain U.S. citizenship when the adoption process is complete.
Compassionate and Helpful Legal Guidance for International Adoptions
When our clients discovered that there was an issue regarding their adopted daughter’s immigration status, they got in touch with Attorney James M. Greenberg from our office for legal advice. James explained the situation to our clients and their daughter, guiding them through the whole process. With his help, our clients’ daughter was able to attend her naturalization ceremony and received her Certificate of Citizenship.
“Going through the citizenship process was very stressful,” our clients told us. “However, Jaime was with us all the extraordinarily helpful way. He is an excellent adoption lawyer, and we greatly valued his expertise and guidance.”
Consult Greenberg & Greenberg for Effective Legal Counsel
Starting a family is a common dream that people share despite coming from different cultural backgrounds. When a couple decides to adopt a child, they send a powerful message to that child, showing them that someone cares for them and that they have a place where they can belong. At Greenberg & Greenberg, you can benefit from our experienced adoption attorneys like James who have dedicated their practice to helping couples who are interested in adoption fulfill their dreams of having a family. We are here to give your rights and interests a supporting voice, so your message of genuine compassion can reach a child who can greatly benefit from hearing it.
To learn more about how Greenberg & Greenberg can help you, call our office or contact us online to arrange an initial consultation about the merits of your case today.