Adoption Birth Certificate Arrived Today

Birth certificate sample NY

We finalized our daughter’s adoption June 2nd. Her amended birth certificate arrived today in the mail (about 42 days). We applied for her passport with her birth records and adoption paperwork and so far …  nada.

If I had known the amended birth certificate was going to arrive so quickly (the letter with the adoption paperwork said it could take up to 12 months. Eek!) I would have just waited to apply for her passport. Oh well ….

We were hoping to get down to Mexico before the summer is over. We’ll see …


Unable to Process Request for Amended Birth Certificate

Birth-CertificateAs you probably know, we finalized an adoption from foster care in May and thought that all the paperwork was taken care of. We were told that the court would take care of the paperwork and that we should just wait to receive his amended birth certificate. Well ….

Today we received a letter stating that they were “unable to process your request” because our documents didn’t have the “original court seal”. Today I returned to the court and asked what I should do. The lady at the front looked at the letter, made a copy and told me that they would resubmit.

Has anyone else experienced that? Does this happen often?

The Passport Arrived!

Passport-Arrived.fwHis passport arrived! Whoo hoo!

Making sure that we get had in passport in time to visit South Africa has been giving me palpitations over the last few months! Lol I have been doing research, and finding conflicting information, so I wasn’t sure if they would accept his application with the paperwork that we had available.

I was worried about what day we’d finalize the adoption. I was worried about when and how we’d be able to apply for his passport (our closest Post Office wouldn’t return my calls). I was worried about if they would accept the documentation that we had. Well, I guess none of it mattered.


We finalized our adoption Friday, May 29th.

We applied for the passport Wednesday, June 3rd. We submitted his original birth certificate (they say it’ll take at least 3 months for his amended one to arrive), the Adoption Decree and two photos taken at AAA (getting the guy to take the photos was a hassle, but they came out just fine).

His passport arrived June 19th.

I guess I was worried for nothing!  =)  #InternationalBaby

New Travel Requirements for Children Visiting South Africa

South-Africa-Traveling-With-ChildrenWe’re planning to visit South Africa in August with our son, whom is adopted. While trying to keep abreast of travel requirements, we came across a new set of laws requiring that all children traveling to or from South Africa show an “unabridged birth certificate” (“All children entering or departing South Africa also will be required to travel with his/her original, unabridged, long-form birth certificate in hand.  The exact contents of unabridged birth certificates vary among the different jurisdictions that issue birth certificates (countries, states, counties, cities, etc.), but the key distinction between an “abridged” and “unabridged” birth certificate is that an unabridged birth certificate identifies the parents of the child.” US Those of us that have adopted with also be required to show an adoption decree.

Traveler24’s article “17 Things you need to know about travelling with minors in SA” says:

There is no such thing as an unabridged birth certificate in our country, what must we do?

In the case of countries that do not issue unabridged birth certificates, a letter to this effect issued by the competent authority of the foreign country should be produced.

My child is adopted so our names are not on her birth certificate, what should I do?
The parents of adopted children should produce proof of adoption by means of an adoption certificate.

I’m wondering if we’ll have to take:

  • Original birth certificate
  • Amended birth certificate
  • Adoption decree

The new rules go into effect June 1, 2015. That means that we’ll be among the first groups of tourists to be subjected to the new rules. I was hoping that once his adoption was final we wouldn’t have to carry around bundles of paperwork, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Of course I’d like governments to clamp down on child trafficking, I just didn’t think that those efforts would effect me so much.

Here’s hoping that we don’t get deported.

In case you’d like to speak with someone at the Consulate:

The South African Consulate General
in Chicago, Illinois
200 South Michigan Avenue, 6th Floor
Chicago, IL 60604
Tel. (312) 939-7929
Fax: (312) 939-2588

The South African Consulate General
in Los Angeles, CA
6300 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Tel. (323) 651-0902
Fax: (323) 651-5969

The South African Consulate General
in New York City
333 East 38th Street,
9th Floor
New York NY 10016
Tel: (212) 213-4880
Fax: (212) 856-1575

The South African Embassy in Washington, DC
3051 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: (202) 232-4400
Fax: (202) 244-9417



Domestic Flight With Foster-Adopt Infant

Baby watches descent onto the tarmac.

Baby watches descent onto the tarmac.

We did it!

We traveled on a domestic flight from the coast to the midwest with the infant that is in our care. The baby is currently in foster care, but we hope the adoption will be completed this spring. I was worried about what paperwork the air carrier would want to see, but it turns out that we brought a bunch of paperwork for nothing.

The carrier that we used required that the baby have a Boarding Verification Document before boarding so we checked in online, but headed to the ticket counter upon arrival. I had a Minute Order, our licensing agreement, the baby’s medical information and birth certificate. I wasn’t sure what we’d need to prove that we had the right to take the baby on the plane, but it turns out that I didn’t need anything but the birth certificate. Interestingly enough, that was the one document I originally didn’t have and wasn’t worried about. I wonder if they would have made us buy a seat if we couldn’t prove that the baby was less than two years old? Apparently, they don’t care if I’ve smuggled the baby in from another country. They only care if that smuggled baby is going to need their own seat! Lol

TSA required us to pull out the baby bottles that we had pre-filled with baby water. They used some kind of pH paper (it looked like) to test for … contaminants?? … but didn’t put anything in the water and didn’t make us to anything to prove that it was water. I was able to wear the baby right through the metal detector. I didn’t have to take off my hoodie or anything. I think they are pretty used to parents flying with infants.


The baby is resting on my chest in a EcoSash. It’s super easy to use, there are no metal rights (metal detectors) and he’s snugly in it. He’s in his little bear suit because it was pretty cold in Chicago. Grrrrr! Lol

Getting on the plane was easier than I thought it would be as well. Since we didn’t buy the baby a seat, he didn’t get to bring any luggage onboard. We don’t check bags. Each adult had a duffle to go overhead and a backpack to go underneath. I wore the baby in his EcoSash and He carried the car seat. Wearing the baby through TSA and onto the plane was the best piece of advice I read.

The flights were uneventful. On the way there, the baby stayed up the entire time. We originally planned to gate check the car seat, but the flight had empty seats so we took in on board and the baby spent about 3/4 of the time in the car seat. We brought two quiet toys to play with and a few different foods for him to sample. He alternately looked out of the window or was distracted by the toys/food. His ears didn’t seem to bother him at take off or landing. We asked the flight attendant for wings and she returned with a little kid set that included wings (plastic, not metal), a crayon and a little activity book. Thanks, Southwest! IMG_20141125_094422

On the way back, the flight was full so we did gate check the car seat (the flight attendants were SUPER helpful). As we approached the cabin there wasn’t anyone on the jetway and we weren’t sure what to do about the car seat. A flight attendant told us just to leave it on the jetway. She checked it and gave us a ticket after we were seated. This time the baby slept for about three hours on His lap. The baby woke up that last hour and wanted to play silly games with us. Again, his ears didn’t bother him so he didn’t cry during take off or landing. In fact, on the descent he looked out of the window the whole time. He couldn’t get enough of the little boxes getting bigger and bigger until they turned into buildings. Even when the plane was touching down, he just kept staring out of the window.

I was really worried about flying with an infant, especially one in foster care, but it was much easier than I thought. Since this went so well we’re thinking about an international trip next. Do you think the baby would like Peru?

Adoption, Original Birth Certificates and Passports

Our kid(s) will need one of these …

I just read online that the passport agency will not accept a birth certificate that was created more than a year after the child’s birth date as  proof of citizenship to get a passport. Um …. huh?

…. because we like to do this.

We love to travel. We’ve been to 9 countries on 3 continents and plan on adding more stamps to our passports in the future. Now, I’m concerned that it will difficult to get a passport for our kid(s).

I’ve had concerns about the whole original birth certificate, updated birth certificate, changing the kid(s)’ name thing before and now I’m freaking out! Does anyone have information on this? If we end up with a newborn then we won’t have to cross this bridge for a few months. If we get a toddler we might want to cross it pretty soon.

This makes it seem like it might be okay:

In adoption cases, the Department will also accept the certified copy of the child’s original birth certificate as long as it is submitted with the certified copy of the adoption decree indicating the name of the child and his or her adoptive parents.

but then I hear stories like this (I know the post is old) and it makes me worried all over again:

Shortly after she applied for the passport, the State Department asked her for more information. She sent copies of her adoption papers, but months later the government asked for more documents. In April, VanderWoude sent a copy of the card showing her entry into the United States.

Thursday afternoon, an official with the passport office in Charleston called VanderWoude with unbelievable news: It could not issue her a passport because she is not a U.S. citizen.

This is an extreme example, but it makes me worried none the less.


Has anyone applied for a passport within the last year that can share their experience?