In the case of intercountry adoptions, some countries issue a final adoption decree to the adoptive parents while they are in the country. But the parents may seek a readoption, an additional adoption in their home state beyond the one that occurred in the child's country. A readoption allows them to obtain an adoption decree and birth certificate from their state. Your adoption agency can provide information on readopting.
A readoption is a process in which international adopters adopt their children a second time, in front of a U.S. judge. (The first time was in the country of the child's birth.)
Why readopt? For several reasons. For one, a foreign document may be challenged by some people such as school authorities. The family who readopts may believe that a U.S.-issued birth certificate is a lot more credible to the average bureaucrat—and they're probably right. Another reason: Some states require readoption, not recognizing adoption in other countries as valid.
Readoption also ensures that a child has the full rights of inheritance from adoptive parents in the event of the death of one or both of them without a will. If only one parent travels to another country to adopt the child, then readoption is the only way the other parent can become a legal parent. In one case, an adoptive father who traveled alone to Russia was diagnosed with late-term cancer shortly after he returned. The family had to rush through the readoption before the father died so that the child would have a legal parent in the United States.
A readoption also may protect families from possible legal changes overseas that might retroactively affect adoptions finalized in the foreign country.
Readoption procedures are not uniform from state to state (or even from county to county within a state). Some areas make it a lot tougher than others. It's a good idea to find out ahead of time (before you adopt) what the procedure is in your area so that you can have everything ready to go by the time you bring the child home. Ask your agency for information on readoption and check with your adoptive parent group for assistance.