Employment/Work Experience

  • Law Office of C.J. Lyford, 1997 to current:
    Solo practitioner re International Adoption law; Pennsylvania Domestic Adoption; Immigration and Citizenship law.
  • HIAS & Council Migration Services of Philadelphia,1998 to 2000.
    Part-Time legal services involving general and family-based immigration.
  • Rawle & Henderson, 1987 to 1995:
    General civil litigation matters.
  • Smith Kline, 1982 to 1987:
    Attorney/Manager- Pharmaceutical Liability.
  • Philadelphia General Hospital, Hahnemann Hospital, Philadelphia Home Care Nursing, 1975 to 1979: Various RN positions including Neonatal Intensive Care and Adult Respiratory Intensive Care Units.

Pro Bono Activities

  • Montgomery Child Advocacy Project (MCAP)
  • Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Project (VIP)
  • ABA Military Pro Bono Project
  • AILA Military Assistance Program (MAP)

Representative Clients and Types of Cases

Who are her clients? Here are a few examples of the types of cases that C.J. has handled:

  • A naturalized U.S. citizen received a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) regarding the I-600 Orphan Petition that was filed on behalf of a niece from Liberia because insufficient evidence was provided to meet the U.S. immigration definition of orphan. After additional documentation was provided to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to show that the biological mother was incapable of caring for the child, the Petition was approved.
  • After a couple completed the adoption of a child in Nigeria, they needed legal assistance to prepare and file the required documents with the USCIS and the U.S. consulate to obtain an immigrant visa for the child to come to the United States to live with them.
  • A U.S. citizen living in the U.S. wanted to adopt her nephew who was living in Thailand and bring him to the U.S. to live with her. As the United States and Thailand are Hague Convention countries, the adoption was successfully completed under the I-800 Hague Adoption Convention process so that the child could come to live in the U.S.
  • A couple living in Pennsylvania wanted to adopt a child who was born in Guinea and living in the U.S. on an expired visitor visa. The case was processed after confirmation that the child was no longer a habitual resident of Guinea and therefore could be completed as an exception to the Hague Adoption Convention. As a result, the child became a permanent resident of the U.S. through the adoption.
  • A U.S. couple adopted a child from Brazil while they were living abroad and subsequently wanted to bring the child home to live with them in the U.S. The child was able to immigrate to the U.S. through the I-130 Petition process.
  • A couple living in Pennsylvania obtained custody and guardianship of a child born in Morocco. After completing the I-600 Petition process, the adoption was finalized in Pennsylvania and the child became a U.S. citizen.
  • A single mother adopted a child from Ethiopia but needed to readopt the child before the child would become a U.S. citizen. The readoption was completed and the child became a U.S. citizen.
  • After completing an adoption of a child from Sierra Leone, the Pennsylvania process to register a foreign adoption decree in Pennsylvania was completed so that the adoption was entitled to Full Faith and Credit by all states under the U.S. Constitution.
  • A U.S. couple who was living in Mozambique applied on their own for U.S. citizenship for their foreign-born child adopted child through the N-600K process however the Application was denied by the USCIS. The denial was successfully appealed, and the child became a U.S. citizen and obtained a Certificate of Citizenship.
  • A U.S. citizen married a woman from Jamaica and wanted to bring his wife and her child to the U.S. The I-130 process was completed for the wife and her child as his stepchild.
  • A child came to the U.S. through an adoption in China and became a U.S. citizen through the Child Citizenship Act many years ago. Unfortunately, however the child’s parents did not get documentation of the child’s citizenship. As a result, years later the child could not obtain a Driver’s License, update Social Security and was having trouble with the college admission process. A Certificate of Citizenship and a U.S. Passport were obtained so that the child had the necessary documentation of U.S. citizenship.
  • A Pennsylvania couple met a birth mother with an adoption plan and they wanted to adopt the child. They were advised regarding the Pennsylvania adoption process and became the child’s parents after the parental rights of the child’s parents were terminated and the adoption finalized.
  • A mother wanted her husband to adopt her child from another relationship but did not know where the child’s father lived. The father’s rights were terminated and the adoption of the child but his stepparent was completed in Pennsylvania.
  • A newly married couple living in the United States were given legal assistance in the immigration process for the wife to become a permanent resident through their marriage. A few years later the wife became a U.S. citizen.

Professional Memberships

  • Fellow (Adoption), Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (AAAA).
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).
  • Montgomery County Bar Association:
    • Co-Chair of Immigration Law Committee 2014 to present.
    • Member, Family Law Committee.
  • Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Bar Associations: Member, Family Law and Immigration Committees.
  • Delaware Valley Adoption Council (DVAC): Attorney Member.
  • Active member and professional contributor to numerous local and national adoption support and information groups and list serves, for example, Families with Children from China, and ongoing advocacy for U.S. citizenship rights for all adopted individuals and the Adoptee Citizenship Act


  • Temple University School of Law. - J.D. - 1982
  • National Law Center, George Washington University, 1979-1980.
  • University of Pennsylvania - B.A. Political Science/Public Policy - 1979

    (Cum Laude).

  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania - Nursing Diploma, 1975 (R.N.).

Client Reviews

What CJ Lyford accomplished was simply amazing. My daughter, who I adopted in a foreign court while living abroad, was sworn in as a US citizen just hours before aging out of eligibility for N-600K. The Field Office Director told us that this was one of the most memorable cases in which he'd been...


CJ was absolutely amazing from beginning to end helping us get our adopted son his American Citizenship! Excellent, punctual and great to work with! We are beyond grateful!


We had a very unique immigration case - CJ was making sure we had the right documents and researched similar cases. It was a long road but we were prepared and there were no surprises. The long wait paid off. Surely would recommend her expertise and professionalism.


CJ Lyford helped us with the US part of the adoption of our daughter from Malaysia. She gave us information which led us choose a different route which was simpler and quicker than the one we had previously been led. She made contact with the officials to set up appointments that where convenient...


C.J. has a pleasure to work with, and as an attorney myself, I have very high standards. She was also the most reasonably priced, considering the high level of service provided.


I am very pleased with the help that Ms. Lyford was able to provide. I adopted while living abroad and faced challenges in finalizing the adoption in the US and obtaining my daughter's US citizenship. Ms. Lyford was with us from the beginning, laying out a workable roadmap to get where we needed to...


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  2. 2 38+ Years of Experience
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