Last week, the President signed into law S.1614, the Accuracy for Adoptees Act, helping adoptive children who had been given inaccurate birthdates abroad. This bill was proposed and shepherded by the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (AAAA), a national association for which I am the chairman of the legislative committee.
The law addresses a common problem when children are abandoned at orphanages without any birth record. When U.S. adoptions are processed, the foreign country assigns a “best guess” birth date that is then used in processing adoption and immigration paperwork. These birth dates can sometimes be vastly inaccurate. While there is an existing state court process in the U.S. where these families can present medical, educational, and dental evidence to support a request for an amended date of birth that is appropriate for the child’s true age, U.S. agencies will not accept these amended dates.
The Accuracy for Adoptees Act solves these problems by requiring federal agencies to recognize amended birth dates as issued by state courts. This bill removes the bureaucracy, red tape, and endless dead ends that these families currently face.
For more information about the law, its passage, and the implications for adoptive families, see the AAAA press release on the law’s passage as well as a recent USA TODAY article “Law aims to address adoptees’ birth date problems.”