In early 2014, President Obama signed into law the Accuracy for Adoptees act, which will help remove bureaucracy and red tape for individuals who were given inaccurate birth dates in their birth countries, and their adoptive families.
If a child’s birth date is unknown when he or she enters orphanage care, it’s common for officials to assign a “best guess” birth date, which is then used in the child’s adoption and immigration paperwork. After adopting, families who believe the date to be highly inaccurate, as is sometimes the case, can present medical, dental, and educational evidence to amend state documents (such as birth certificates and driver’s licenses). However, federal agencies would not accept these amended dates, leading to children with different dates on their state and federal documents, such as passports and social security cards. The Accuracy for Adoptees act requires federal agencies to recognize amended birth dates as issued by state courts.
“This is an example of Congress doing good for children and adoptive families,” says Mark McDermott, chairman of the legislative committee for the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, which proposed and shepherded the bill.