Endless adoption paperwork: COC, G-884 and G-639

Adoption is many things, including boatloads of paperwork. Of course, the bulk of it was done in the home study phase, and then again at the referral phase, but the paperwork doesn't stop once the little squirts arrive. We have a giant expandable file that resembles George's wallet on Seinfeld. We can't close it anymore and it's bursting at the seams.

A year and a half since Little Man came home, we are still chasing the final bits of the paperwork. Here's the things still on the list (and links for others who are doing the same stuff):

Certificate of Citizenship (COC): Little Man became a legal citizen when we completed our adoption, six-months after he arrived in the US. For US born folks, a birth certificate is proof of citizenship. But since Little Man's birth certificate shows his birthplace in South Korea, his bc isn't proof. So, we have to file for his COC to help him prove his citizenship, necessary to get a passport, work in government, etc. We finally got our COC shipped out a few weeks ago. 24-more pages of stuff to file!

Amended Birth Certificate: In Wisconsin, we can reapply for a state amended birth certificate which will have Little Man's citizenship status included on the certificate.


There are a few additional filings that we will be doing once we have our COC. These aren't required in any way at all, but I think it's important to try and get ahold of everything pertaining to Little Man's adoption/process. He might want this information in the future, and you never know what tidbits might be included in these requests.

G-884: When we traveled home with Little Man from Korea, we were handed a giant sealed envelope that we handed over at immigration at the airport? I was dying to read through it all, but we couldn't break the seal. Now I can finally satisfy my curiosity. With the G-884 you can get those original documents! I'm excited to see if there is anything that we didn't have in our files already. Many APs have found things in there such as photos of birth parents, visa applications/photos and original health records. You should have completed the COC before you file the G-884.

As with all these forms, they can be confusing. Here's some tips I've picked up (which are untested by me, as of yet):
  • under the 'information about you' heading, put your information
  • in the 'data for identification on personal record' put your child's information
  • under type of entry, put 'immigration'
  • port of entry is the city where you went through customs
  • specifically ask for "all records and photos pertaining to the adoption of XXX" 
  • the form has to be notarized before you send it to USCIS
  • send it to the office that processed the COC (be sure to keep the envelope that the COC came in!
(Like all things adoption-paperwork related, you'll find conflicting information. The Legal-Eaze site states "...you should first wait until the documents are transferred to the local USCIS processing center (usually takes about 6 months from the date of immigration).  Then complete Form G-884 (Return of Original Documents and instructions) and mail it to your local USCIS Office." So, not sure if that means 6-months from the date they entered the country, or 6-months from the date of the COC. Argh...so confusing! If anyone knows the answer to this riddle, please chime in. We are erring on the side of doing the form after the COC returns.)

G-639 (Freedom of Information Act): Out of all of the paperwork we are filing, this will be it (as far as I know) and it's the one I'm most excited about. From the few people I've heard of who have completed this, it has been a treasure trove of paperwork. But believe me, I'm getting really tired of filing paperwork and it's exponentially more difficult now with a two-year old to chase around. Seems like the pile of paperwork sits on my desk for a very long time before I actually get it done. But again, this is about amassing every detail I can for Little Man, so it's really all worth it.

I do know that this one must be filed last, after the G-884.

How's your paper chasing going??

****UPDATE: For results of our G-884 filing, read this post: http://curdsandkimchi.blogspot.com/2013/08/g-884-ongoing-adoption-paperwork.html

USCIS Adoption Forms link: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=c88fd1eb6dc43210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=c88fd1eb6dc43210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD#

Post Adoption Paperwork (Adoptive Families Magazine): http://www.adoptivefamilies.com/pdf/PostAdoptPaperwork.pdf

Legal-Eaze: Awesome site with helpful information (written in plain language) on filing citizenship, and showing completed G-884,



  1. This is all good to hear that although it's a lot of work, it CAN be done and is so worth it (of course!)!!
    We're in the middle of our homestudy now and finally gaining on the paperwork..yay! I don't have a little one to chase around yet, so I have to say that I've been successful thus far in keeping things organized. Reading your blog makes me more excited and reminds me what we have to look forward to!

  2. Hi Leslie. Sure hope your bundle of energy will be with you soon! Stay on top of that organization because it's really helpful down the road. I can't tell you how many times I was thankful we were diligent with making copies of stuff and filing them. I wish we were that organized with everything! Best of luck.

  3. Yep, this is all the paperwork we still need to do - COC, G-639 and G-884. Do you know if the 639 and 884 need to be done in a particular order, or can we do both at the same time? I'm planning to do both of those once we finally do the COC.

  4. CoC is waiting for Brian to return so I can mail it in! :) Thanks for the info on 639 and 884, I know we have to wait for CoC (which will take a while) but it's good to file away! :)

  5. Dena, I've read that you should file the 639 first, followed by the FOIA.

  6. We have the COCs for our kids, but haven't done the 639 and 884. But this might motivate me to finally do it! However, I didn't know that it would have to be sent to the office that processed the COCs and I'm pretty sure I got rid of the envelopes...will have to figure that one out! But wow, if there really is some of that info in there, it would be awesome to have that for our kids.

  7. Hi,
    Does anyone know what info you get back from filing the 639? I've heard that we just should file the 884. I'm happy to file both, just have no idea what to send where.

  8. Anonymous---on the 639, it's copies of everything that the government had to review to complete the adoption. I'm not sure if there is anything different that will not be received by filing the 884. But I figured it was worth doing in hopes that we'd get more info on our son's background/birth family.

  9. ok so you have inspired me...I FINALLY did it and completed the G-884! :) Do you know how long I need to wait to do the G-639? Since I finally have my dossier in Korea I am trying to finish up all of Z's paperwork before A comes home!


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