On January 16, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Accuracy for Adoptees Act, a bill proposed by members of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys.
The law addresses a common problem in International Adoptions. Often when a child is abandoned at an orphanage, no one actually knows the correct birth date for the child. When the adoption moves forward, the foreign country assigns a “best guess” birth date, which is used in processing the adoption and the immigration paperwork. These dates are often very inaccurate.
Many states have a process which allows an adoptive family to present medical and dental evidence to support a request for an amended date of birth which is a more appropriate estimate of the true date of birth. When this occurs, the children wind up with two different dates of birth. One is on their adoption paperwork and all federal documents, such as the child’s passport and social security card; the other date of birth is on their state paperwork, such as the birth certificate and driver’s license.
Prior to the passage of the act, federal agencies refused to conform their documents to the corrected state documents. The Accuracy for Adoptees Act now requires federal agencies to recognize amended birth dates as issued by state courts.
The support in Congress for this bill demonstrates the extent to which its members look to the Academy for advice in important adoption matters and proposed legislation.