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Inaccurate birth date records affect many adopted children

Some Texas residents may be familiar with the issues surrounding inaccurate birth dates in adoption cases. If a child whose true birth date differs from their reported one, he or she may encounter improper school placement and perhaps an inability to verify their identity. According to one adoptive parent, the problem seems particularly notable for children born in Russia or China.

In one case, a social worker attempted to adopt two Haitian sisters. She found inconsistencies in the age of the supposed 3-year-old girl. After the adoption was final, she found out from the birth mother that she was a year older than what her documents showed. It has been tremendously difficult for her to correct these mistakes in order to allow the child to attend school.

Another example is regarding a family who adopted a child from Ethiopia. Although they had been led to believe that she was 4 years old, the girl said she was 7 years old, a fact which was confirmed by a bone density scan and dental examinations. Since the age inaccuracy was discovered prior to finalizing the adoption, the family was able to get the issue resolved.

Currently in the U.S., families can request an amended birth date if they present supporting dental, medical and educational evidence. However, federal agencies are not accepting the dates from the state court's process. Many people are hoping that the Accuracy for Adoptees Act will make this process easier sometime in the near future. The measure would make it so that federal agencies would have to use the state court's determined birth date for an adopted child.

If a family is struggling with their adopted child's inaccurate records, a family law attorney may be able to assist them in resolving the issue. By investigating the original records and negotiating with the involved government agencies, it may be possible to expedite the process so that the child can begin attending school and engaging in other activities to which they are entitled.

Source: USA Today , "Law aims to address adoptees' birth date problems", Kim Mulford, January 14, 2014

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