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A Wayfarer is a person who is traveling, a particular place, a circumstance, a stage of life, etc. Let's walk the road of adoption together. The journey is so much better with company!
Much of this information is useful for any adoption, but this blog is designed to be a
I hope this blog will be helpful to you in your adoption whether you are considering, waiting or home. I started this blog when we were adopting and found there was next to nothing on the web in any orderly manner. I set about to collect information for myself and then for others. Now, there are more sites for resources, but still not much that brings it all together. I hope this blog will serve as a sort of clearing house for Ethiopian Adoption Information. Please feel free to contribute your knowledge through commenting.
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Welcome to the journey!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Changing your child's date of birth

Ok, we all know that the birth dates we receive for our kids are often not entirely accurate if even close. Some are off by months and other by years. If you find that it is necessary to change your child's date of birth you will want to gather all the supporting data you can manage to find. It is best to do this BEFORE you submit the information for the validation in your county. I understand that Colorado is no longer uniformly allowing date of birth changes at validation. It is not verified if this is by county or for the entire state. If you choose to try to do this at validation I would suggest two things. 1. change your paperwork so that it is typed as part of the document you turn in. 2. have all the possible proof you can come up with, medical, dental, etc.  If this does not fly or you don't want to push it here use the format for what to do to change a date of birth after validation. Scroll down and  you will find it listed here.

Information to include in a request for change of birth date:
  1. Referral documents stating a different date of birth or estimate (if you are going with this state why you feel it is more accurate). Anything from the orphanage.
  2. Notes from dialog with birth relative on date of birth, ask if there is a birth certificate.
  3. Medical evaluations done here in the states. Doctor, Dentist, bone scan, international adoption clinic, etc.
  4. Ages and stages questionnaire results.You can fill this out online or get printed version from your doctor.
  5. Letter from Doctor and/or Dentist confirming different age than is on the adoption birth certificate. Lab and/or test results.
  6. Letter from you stating why you feel this is important for the child's well-being. Give reasons of puberty issues.
  7. Anything else you can possibly think of.
  8. Information on :
  • the court random assignment of birth dates and 
  • the translation issues 
  • and the Coptic calendar and the fact that Ethiopia is 7 years behind our Gregorian calendar.
Send this in with your validation papers.
RE-WORD the end of the validation page (Decree Validating Foreign Adoption). At the end of this paper it states that the child's name is now______________( you get to fill that in.) After that type in "From this date forward the correct birth date of said child will be _______________". Fill that in too.

Most of the time you can fill this out online in a PDF format and print it. Sometimes you can not save it, others let you. Make a copy to send and a copy to keep. If you do the work for the judge and show the need for the change, they most often will work with you.

When you have the birth certificate with the new date of birth on it you will need to send in the supporting documents you used for the validation when you apply for the Certificate of Citizenship.
If you are applying for other items, such as passport, SS#, etc. you MAY need this for them as well.  I think the COC and birth certificate would be good enough, but just in case be prepared. I am in the process of the SS# so, I will update this post when I know how they respond. :)

If you have changed the date of birth for your child and you have already received the Certificate of Citizenship or any other legal document it may be complicated to change.  I would suggest not doing the passport or ss# until you have changed the date of birth. You can get this done on the Certificate of Citizenship but it will prove to be an ordeal. Send in the documentation used for the Validation along with the Validation update and state certification of foreign birth. Both having the new date of birth on it.

If you need to get a passport use the corrected Certificate of Citizenship as proof. You have to have either that or the old passport. If you have done a name change then the old passport will do you no good anyway and you will have to use the Certificate of Citizenship.

If you need to change the date of birth after the validation a mom on one of my groups had this experience (this is a segment of her note):
3) Obtained CO Birth Certificate (not evidence of citizenship)
4) Found out through dental examination and developmental assessments at International adoption clinic that our daughter was two years older then reported
5) Compiled documentation of evidence to change age and submitted to juvenile court via a general request to the court to petition for a order to CO Vital Records to change birth date (no charge for this, you do not need to re-finalize adoption a second time to change the BC)
6) Order approved by court so we sent a request for new BC and fees for new BC to CO Vital Records
7) Received new CO BC in which they literaly crossed off her old birth date and typed in the new one
8) Sent ALL documents of for US passport with a note emphazing that the birth date had been changed
9) Received passport with correct (new) DOB at which time I went in person to the SS office and they corrected the birth date and changed number to a US citizen number
10) When you file for the COC  you need to provide reason for why you changed the birthdate of your child. The papers you provided for your validation should suffice. **If you automatically received the COC when you got home with your child you will need to purchase a changed COC and apply for those changes. I am not sure if they have a record of allowing date of birth changes but they have done name changes. There is a fee for this.

Formula or Schedule for doing your paperwork if you are changing a date of birth: 
I just wanted to let you know that changing your child's dob is NO problem at
all. You just have to go in a certain order and provide certain paperwork. If you do not, you will have more issues and have to re-do different parts or you may not get this done at all. You can use this as a check list so it is not as overwhelming.
> 1. get a temporary adoption tax id # (ATIN) NOT a SS#!!!!!!!!! !!! You can use
this for taxes for at least two years. It takes 10 weeks to get this. Apply
asap. Con-currant with Validation. You can take the adoption tax credit with the
ATIN number for at least 2 years if not more, we have done two, the first year
before validation and the second one after, no problems.

> 2. validate and change dob at the same time. Provide reasons you find the new
date to be accurate and why the old date is inaccurate. Look at the start of this post for information on what to include.
This process takes about 3 months in ElPaso County. You can start right away
and do it concurrently with the ATIN.
> Then you wait for the Birth Certificate and that is about 2-3 months. Once you
have that you apply for the COC, you can have all the papers ready to go once
you get the coc in hand.

> 3. get the certificate of citizenship. You have to do this if you change dob
because of the green card issue mentioned. Send in all the same info on why you
changed the dob that you sent with the validation. This could possibly take up
to 5 months because of the dob change, ordinarily it is about 3 months, maybe
with documentation sent it would be more like 3 months. **If you automatically received the COC when you got home with your child you will need to purchase a changed COC and apply for those changes. I am not sure if they have a record of allowing date of birth changes but they have done name changes. There is a fee for this.

> 4. get the SS# card using the coc with the official dob change registered on
it. Take papers stating why you changed dob, just in case. This could take about
1-2 months, or weeks.

> 5. apply for US passport using the coc and SS# card. You should not need any
dob change reasons documentation, but take it just in case. This takes about a
month to two months.
> Total time if working on this solidly is roughly 10-15 months. Depending on
the work load and if you have to re-do any part of it at any point. So, if you
start right away you can get it done relatively quickly. Start the paperwork for
the next part while you are waiting for the prior to come. Start the validation
and ATIN while you wait for your travel dates. You can fill in the specifics
when you get your child's birth certificate and the adoption papers from the
court in ET. Then send it when you get home, in case you have more to change. Of
course if you want to change the dob, you will need to wait until you are sure
of your child's age. So, if you are adopting an older child or toddler maybe
wait on the validation at least 6 months, that, of course adds time to the whole
thing. But, if you do it in this order you won't have issues with the dob change
and it will flow more smoothly. Links for all the forms (federal and state of
CO) can be found at:\


  1. We are in the process of changing the date of birth of our son adopted from Russia two and a half years ago. His dental and developmental assessments indicate that he is 3 years younger than the Russian birth certificate says. We also were told that his birthdate in Russia was assigned to him so he could be placed in the same orphanage as his sister. The Ohio (Franklin County) probate court accepted our evidence and issued a new, corrected birth certificate.

    Now, we are trying to get a passport for our son. The state department refuses to accept the court order and updated birth certificate. Further, they are accusing us of perjury for "submitting false information" because the initial application for citizenship (listing the old birth date) counts as a legal sworn statement that they say we must have signed under oath knowing it was incorrect! We didn't... the evidence of wrong age was discovered after we returned to the US with our son. The state department refuses to accept the court order from an Ohio court and tells us we have a bunch of worthless paper that is issued just to make adoptive parents "feel good". This is a nightmare. How do we get the state department to listen... it's not as easy as you make it sound in this post.

  2. I am sorry for your dilemma. That is truly upsetting. Russian adoptions are done very differently than Ethiopian adoptions and that accounts for some of the difference and issue you have had. Is it possible for you to apply for a new Certificate of Citizenship with the information that you have gained about age and the official paperwork you have from doctors and the court? I hope that you will be able to find a solution to this problem. Perhaps others with experience in Russian adoptions will be able to help you.

  3. Has anyone actually gotten the age changed on the COC? This seems to be the sticking point. Once that was done then the COC could be used for everything else. I am just entering into this process...court to change dob done...waiting for birth certificate.

  4. It is my understanding that they do not change the dob n the coc. I do not know for sure, but that is what I have been reading. I really thought that they would do it with all the other documentation that you will have and if you pay for a whole new one. But, another parent tried and said they don't do this because it has to match the info on the immigration papers. I would call and ask them and call again if you do not get someone who seems super knowledgeable. Then post back here so others will know what is accurate info.

  5. I am an adoption attorney in Tennessee. I had no problem changing the DOB of a Ghanaian adoption at the state level, but Social Security has refused to change the DOB because the Cert. of Citizenship states the original/incorrect DOB.

    USCIS states they will not chance DOBs, BUT, they state that if your state allows it, that it is permissible to do so at the state level. Of course, this is fine until you deal with the Feds!

    I am wondering if a parent got the SSN as a permanent resident, then filed all documentation for a US passport with the changed DOB, then used the US passport to get the status of the child changed to US citizen.

    Any thoughts on that? I guess the COC would just be incorrect, and a parent or child would need to have the adoption decree available to prove the changed DOB if necessary

  6. I am an adoption attorney in TN. I did not have any problem changing the DOB for two Ghanaian adoptions and the parents have received birth certificates reflecting the DOB changes. However, Social Security has refused to change the DOB for the child who arrived on an IR-3 visa and already had the COC with the original DOB.

    The client is attempting to have USCIS change the DOB; however, their website makes it clear they will not change DOBs. As such, for IR-3 adoptions, I am not sure this is a viable option.

    For IR-4 adoptions, I do not see why you could not obtain the SSN as a permanent resident, get the US passport with the revised DOB, then use the US passport to update the child's SS status from PR to US citizen.

    Anyone's thoughts or experiences would be greatly appreciated! Ann :)

  7. I understand that for recent adoptions in which the child automatically gets a certificate of citizenship there is no way to change a date of birth. You can pay to have the name changed.

    For cases where you do not automatically get a certificate of citizenship it makes things a lot easier if you do not get a temp ss number, rather you get an adoption tax number, atin. Then you don't have to change anything on it, you just get a ss# after the other steps have been taken to get name and date of birth changed.


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