Ask AF: Domestic Adoption Paperwork

Getting your child's new birth certificate after completing your domestic adoption may not be as quick as you'd like.

Q: We’re planning a trip out of the country, about two months after we finalize our domestic adoption, and are worried about getting our daughter’s birth certificate in time. What are our options for applying for a passport and traveling with her?


A: After you’ve finalized the adoption in the state where you live, the state where your child was born will issue a new birth certificate. This generally takes six to eight weeks, but it can take up to 12 months in a few states, including California.

Make sure that your adoption attorney knows about the trip you’re planning. It may be possible to hasten the process of getting the new birth certificate by asking the court that finalizes the adoption to transmit the paperwork directly to a court in the child’s state of birth.

If the state where your child was born cannot issue a new certificate in time, the U.S. Department of State may accept a certified copy of the final adoption decree as proof of citizenship for a passport. The adoption decree should denote the child’s state of birth, to prove that the child was born in the U.S.

Everything you need to know about the adoption process, delivered monthly to your inbox.