Adoptive parents can look toward finalization as the ultimate finish line. However, there are important details to attend to after the adoption is finalized. Make sure that you do these as soon as possible after your court date.
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5 Things To Do At Or After Finalization
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If you live in a state that allows this, make sure to get a copy of your child’s original birth certificate. This often must be done by finalization, or the record is sealed until your child is an adult. Why is this important? It contains information about your child, and they should have a right to any information about them.
After finalization, you’ll also need to file for a new birth certificate for your child. Our lawyer took care of all of this with us at finalization, but this may vary state to state.
Once you have your finalization documents and your new birth certificate, you’ll need to apply for a new Social Security card with your child’s new name. You will need both the adoption decree and the birth certificate, but it’s always a good idea to call your local social security office ahead of time to confirm what you need. Depending on your situation, your child may already have been given a social security number. If this is the case, you’ll want to discuss with your lawyer whether you need to also apply for a new social security number. Sometimes this is necessary, sometimes not.
Make sure to call your insurance to update the information they have. You’ll likely need a new insurance card with your child’s new name. If your child has been receiving Medicaid, you’ll need to let them know that the adoption has been finalized, because depending on your area this may result in Medicaid being terminated.
Take your adoption decree in so that your child’s various doctors’ offices can update their records. Our daughter has specialists in two hospital systems, so we had multiple offices to update, plus our local early intervention office needed the records too. If you have a school-age child, you’ll also need to take finalization documents to the board of education office to update his or her school records.
Maya Brown-Zimmerman is a mother of three, both biologically and through adoption. She has been blogging since before it was cool, and is passionate about everything from open and ethical adoption to special needs advocacy and patient-physician communication. In her spare time (ha!) she's on the board of directors for a medical nonprofit and enjoys medical and crime dramas. You can read more from her on her blog, Musings of a Marfan Mom.
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