Colorado

Adoption Laws

Consent to Adoption

Who Must Consent to an Adoption Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-207

When a child is placed for adoption by a county department of social services, a licensed child-placing agency, or an individual, that department, agency, or individual shall file with the petition to adopt its written and verified consent to that adoption.

Consent of Child Being Adopted Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 19-5-103; 19-5-203

Written consent to any proposed adoption shall be obtained from the person to be adopted if that person is age 12 or older. Children must undergo counseling.

When Parental Consent Is Not Needed Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 19-5-203; 19-3-604

Consent is not required when:

  • The parent’s rights have been terminated due to the parent’s unfitness, as outlined in § 19-3-604.
  • The parent has failed to provide support or has abandoned the child for 1 year.

When Consent Can Be Executed Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 19-5-104; 19-5-203

Consent may be executed any time after the birth of the child.

How Consent Must Be Executed Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-103

Any parent desiring to relinquish his or her child shall:

  • Obtain counseling for himself or herself and the child from a county department of social services or from a licensed child-placing agency
  • Petition the juvenile court upon a standardized form providing the name of both natural parents, if known; the name of the child, if named; the ages of all parties concerned; and the reasons relinquishment is desired

The petition shall be accompanied by a standardized affidavit of relinquishment counseling that includes:

  • A statement indicating the nature and extent of counseling furnished to the petitioner, if any, and the recommendations of the counselor
  • A copy of the original birth certificate
  • A statement disclosing any and all payments, gifts, assistance, goods, or services received, promised, or offered to the relinquishing parent in connection with the pregnancy, birth, or proposed relinquishment of the child and the source or sources of such payments, gifts, assistance, goods, or services

The petition for relinquishment also shall include:

  • A statement indicating whether the child is an Indian child
  • The identity of the Indian child’s Tribe, if the child is identified as an Indian child

Revocation of Consent Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-104(7)(a)

A relinquishment may be revoked only if, within 91 days after the entry of the relinquishment order, the relinquishing parent establishes by clear and convincing evidence that such relinquishment was obtained by fraud or duress.

The fact that the relinquishing parent or parents are minors shall in no way affect the validity of the final order of relinquishment.

Criminal Background Checks for Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents

Requirements for Foster Parents Rev. Stat. §§ 26-6-107(1)(a.7); 26-6-104(7)(a)(I)

For all family foster care or kinship care applicants, the county department or child-placing agency shall require each adult who is age 18 or older who resides in the home to obtain a fingerprint-based criminal history records check through the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the FBI.

In addition, the department shall contact the appropriate entity in each State in which the applicant or any adult residing in the home has resided within the preceding 5 years to determine whether the adult has been found to be responsible in a confirmed report of child abuse or neglect. An investigation shall be conducted for any new resident adult added to the foster care home.

The department shall not issue a license or certificate to operate a foster care home if the applicant or a person who resides with the applicant has been convicted of:

  • Child abuse
  • A crime of violence
  • Any felony offenses involving unlawful sexual behavior
  • Any felony act of domestic violence
  • Any felony involving physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense within the preceding 5 years
  • A pattern of misdemeanor convictions within the preceding 10 years

Requirements for Adoptive Parents Rev. Stat. §§ 19-5-207(2.5)(a); 19-5-208(5)

In all petitions for adoption, a fingerprint-based criminal history records check is required for any prospective adoptive parent or any adult residing in the home.

The department or the child-placing agency, as may be appropriate, shall report to the court any case in which a fingerprint-based criminal history record check reveals that the prospective adoptive parent or any adult residing in the home was convicted at any time of a felony or misdemeanor in one of the following areas:

  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Spousal abuse
  • Any crime against a child, including, but not limited to, child pornography
  • Any crime of domestic violence
  • Violation of a protection order
  • Any crime involving violence, rape, sexual assault, or homicide
  • Any felony physical assault or battery conviction or felony drug-related conviction within the past 5 years

No person convicted of a felony offense specified above shall be allowed to adopt a child.

In addition to the fingerprint-based criminal history records check, the county department shall contact the State Department of Human Services and the appropriate entity in each State in which the prospective adoptive parent or any adult in the home has resided in the preceding 5 years to determine whether the prospective adoptive parent or any adult residing in the home has been found to be responsible in a confirmed report of child abuse or neglect.

In all stepparent, second parent, custodial, and kinship adoptions, the petition shall contain a statement informing the court of whether the prospective adoptive parent was convicted at any time by a court of competent jurisdiction of a felony or misdemeanor in one of the areas listed above. In addition, the petitioner shall submit a current criminal history records check paid for by the petitioner.

Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights

Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights Rev. Stat. § 19-3-604

The court may order a termination of the parent-child legal relationship upon the finding by clear and convincing evidence of any one of the following:

  • The child has been abandoned by his or her parents.
  • The parent has been found to be unfit due to one of the following:
    • Emotional illness, mental illness, or mental deficiency of the parent of such duration or nature as to render the parent unlikely within a reasonable time to care for the ongoing physical, mental, and emotional needs and conditions of the child
    • A single incident resulting in serious bodily injury or disfigurement of the child
    • Long-term incarceration of the parent of such duration that the parent is not eligible for parole for at least 6 years after the date the child was adjudicated dependent or neglected or, if the child is under age 6, the parent is not eligible for parole for at least 36 months
    • Serious bodily injury or death of a sibling due to proven parental abuse or neglect
    • An identifiable pattern of habitual abuse
    • An identifiable pattern of sexual abuse of the child
    • The torture of or extreme cruelty to the child, a sibling of the child, or another child of either parent
  • The parent has not attended visitations with the child as set forth in the treatment plan unless good cause can be shown for failing to visit.
  • The parent exhibits the same problems addressed in the treatment plan without adequate improvement.
  • The parent is unfit, and the conduct or condition of the parent is unlikely to change within a reasonable time.

In determining unfitness, the court shall consider, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Conduct toward the child of a physically or sexually abusive nature
  • History of violent behavior
  • A single incident of life-threatening or serious bodily injury or disfigurement of the child
  • Excessive use of intoxicating liquors or controlled substances that affects the ability to care and provide for the child
  • Neglect of the child
  • Injury or death of a sibling due to proven parental abuse or neglect, murder, voluntary manslaughter, or circumstances in which a parent aided, abetted, or attempted the commission of or conspired or solicited to commit murder of a child’s sibling
  • Reasonable efforts by child-caring agencies that have been unable to rehabilitate the parent or parents
  • Prior involvement with the Department of Human Services concerning an incident of abuse or neglect involving the child followed by a subsequent incident of abuse or neglect
  • Felony assault committed by a parent that resulted in serious bodily injury to the child or to another child of the parent
  • That the child has been in foster care under the responsibility of the county department for 15 of the most recent 22 months
  • Whether, on two or more occasions, a child in the physical custody of the parent has been adjudicated dependent or neglected
  • Whether, on one or more prior occasions, a parent has had his or her parent-child legal relationship terminated with another child

Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights Rev. Stat. §§ 19-3-604; 19-3-702

A petition to terminate parental rights will be filed when the child has been in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months unless:

  • The child is placed with a relative of the child.
  • The department has documented in the case plan that such motion would not be in the best interests of the child.
  • Reasonable efforts to reunify the child with the parent, as identified in the case plan, have not been provided.
  • The child has been in foster care under the responsibility of the county department for such period of time due to circumstances beyond the control of the parent, such as incarceration of the parent for a reasonable period of time, court delays or continuances that are not attributable to the parent, or such other reasonable circumstances that the court finds are beyond the control of the parent.

The county Department of Social Services may not be required to petition for termination of parental rights when:

  • The parents or guardians have maintained regular parenting time and contact with the child, and the child would benefit from continuing this relationship.
  • A child who is age 12 or older objects to the termination of the parent-child legal relationship.
  • The child’s foster parents are unable to adopt the child because of exceptional circumstances but are willing and capable of providing the child with a stable and permanent environment, and the removal of the child from the physical custody of his or her foster parents would be seriously detrimental to the emotional well-being of the child.
  • The criteria listed above have not yet been met.

Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption

Who Must Be Studied Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-207

The petitioners for adoption and any adults residing in the petitioners’ home must be included in the home study.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-207

Home study reports shall be completed by the county department of social services, a designated qualified individual, or a child-placing agency approved by the State Department of Human Services.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents Citation: 12 Colo. Code Regs. 2509-6, § 7.500.351

The county department will accept applications for the adoption of children only from persons who meet the requirements of the Colorado statute and who have expressed an interest in the placement of a child who might be available at the time of the application.

The county department of social services shall require verification of an individual’s lawful presence in the United States in order to approve an application for a child’s adoption.

Elements of a Home Study Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-207; 12 Colo. Code Regs. 2509-6, § 7.500.2

The home study shall include, but not be limited to:

  • The physical and mental health, emotional stability, and moral integrity of the petitioner
  • The ability of the petitioner to promote the welfare of the child
  • Confirmation that the petitioner has participated in adoption counseling if the court deems appropriate
  • The suitability of the adoption of this child by this petitioner
  • A criminal history records check for any prospective adoptive parent and any adult residing in the home
  • A check for any substantiated reports of child abuse or neglect

In regulation: A family assessment must be completed using the Structured Analysis Family Evaluation (SAFE) instrument to determine the character and suitability of the applicant(s), appropriateness of the home, and child care practices. The assessment shall include separate and joint interviews with the applicant(s) and all adults and children residing in the home regarding:

  • Social history and background
  • Personal characteristics of the family
  • Marital and domestic partner relationship
  • The motivation for child placement
  • The applicants’ interest, preparation, and willingness to care for a child with special needs
  • Extended family relationships
  • Physical and social environment, including cleanliness; orderliness and maintenance; safety; furnishings; play area, equipment and clothing; finances; support system; and household pets
  • Parenting abilities and style
  • The applicant’s ability to care for a child of a different ethnic and cultural background

Grounds for Withholding Approval Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-207

An application to adopt may not be approved if the petitioner or any adult residing in the home was convicted at any time of a felony or misdemeanor in one of the following areas:

  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Spousal abuse
  • Any crime against a child, including, but not limited to, child pornography
  • Any act of domestic violence
  • Violation of a protection order
  • Any crime involving violence, rape, sexual assault, or homicide
  • Any felony physical assault or battery conviction or felony drug-related conviction within, at a minimum, the past 5 years

When Studies Must Be Completed Citation: 12 Colo. Code Regs. 2509-6, §§ 7.500.2; 7.500.351

The home study must be completed within 90 working days from receiving the completed background checks.

If a child has not been placed in the adoptive home within 1 year of the date of the approval of the adoption assessment, the assessment shall be reevaluated if the home is to remain active for consideration of a child, and annually thereafter until a placement is made or the case is closed. Reevaluation shall consist of at least the following:

  • A statement every 2 years from a licensed doctor regarding the current physical condition of the applicants and others living in the home
  • Documentation of any changes in the home and family, i.e., finances, employment, housing, illnesses, pregnancy; and current information, where applicable, on growth, development, and activities of children in the home
  • Changes, if any, in the kind of child desired, the reason for the change, and the family’s capacity to provide for the child currently requested
  • Determination of the appropriateness to continue approval of the home

Postplacement Study Requirements Citation: 12 Colo. Code Regs. 2509-6, § 7.500.2

The county department placing the child for adoption will be responsible for postplacement supervision until the adoption is finalized, unless otherwise negotiated in the placement agreement between the county and the child-placing agency.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-209

A home study is not required to be filed with an adoption petition in the case of stepparent adoptions, kinship adoptions, custodial adoptions, and those cases in which placement for adoption has been made by the court.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements Citation: 12 Colo. Code Regs. 2509-4, §§ 7.304.63; 7.307.52

All out-of-State placements for kinship, foster, group, or residential care must comply with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), § 7.307.

County departments must follow Federal guidelines and shall not place children out of State who are in care under a placement contract (voluntary placements). Such placements can only be made by a parent or guardian.

When Colorado is the receiving State of an ICPC Request for Placement, all such requests, except for nonpublic adoptive placement requests, shall be sent by the sending State to the Colorado Deputy Compact Administrator who shall forward the request packet to the correct county department or licensed child placement agency.

The county department staff or licensed child placement agency staff assigned to ICPC cases shall complete a home study within 60 calendar days of receipt of the request from the sending State.

Foster to Adopt Placements Citation: 12 Colo. Code Regs. 2509-4, § 7.500.351

The single assessment completed on a foster family for foster care will be accepted for adoption. The worker will check the adoption box on the single application form and, if appropriate, write a brief update.

Infant Safe Haven Laws

Infant’s Age Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-3-304.5

A child who is 72 hours old or younger may be relinquished.

Who May Relinquish the Infant Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-3-304.5

The parent of the child may voluntarily relinquish the child.

Who May Receive the Infant Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-3-304.5

A child may be delivered to:

  • A firefighter
  • A hospital staff member who engages in the admission, care, or treatment of patients

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-3-304.5

When a firefighter is at a fire station or a hospital staff member is at a hospital, the firefighter or hospital staff member shall, without a court order, take temporary physical custody of the child if:

  • The child is 72 hours old or younger.
  • The parent did not express an intent to return for the child.

If a firefighter or hospital staff member takes temporary physical custody of a child, he or she shall:

  • Perform any act necessary, in accordance with generally accepted standards of professional practice, to protect, preserve, or aid the physical health or safety of the child during the temporary physical custody
  • Notify a law enforcement officer and the county department of social services of the abandonment within 24 hours after the abandonment

Immunity for the Provider Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-3-304.5

A firefighter or hospital staff member shall incur no civil or criminal liability for any good-faith acts or omissions performed pursuant to this section.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 18-6-401(9): 19-3-304.5

A parent who utilizes the provisions of this section shall not, for that reason alone, be found to be responsible in a confirmed report of abuse or neglect.

If a parent is charged with permitting a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation that poses a threat of injury to the child’s life or health, and the child was 72 hours old or younger at the time of the alleged offense, it shall be an affirmative defense to such charge that the parent safely, reasonably, and knowingly handed the child over to a firefighter or to a hospital staff member who engages in the admission, care, or treatment of patients, when such firefighter is at a fire station or such hospital staff member is at a hospital.

Effect on Parental Rights Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-3-304.5

A county department of social services shall: Place an abandoned child with a potential adoptive parent as soon as possible Proceed with a motion to terminate the parental rights of a parent who abandons a child

Regulation of Private Domestic Adoption Expenses

Birth Parent Expenses Allowed Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-213(a)-(b)

Attorney fees and other charges and fees, as may be approved by the court, are allowed.

Physicians and attorneys may charge reasonable fees for professional services.

Birth Parent Expenses Not Allowed

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Allowable Payments for Arranging Adoption Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-213(b)

No person or entity other than an adoption exchange or licensed agency may charge or receive money for locating or identifying a child or natural parent for adoption or a prospective adoptive parent.

Allowable Payments for Relinquishing Child Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-213(a)

No person shall offer or charge any money or other consideration in connection with the relinquishment and adoption.

Allowable Fees Charged by Department/Agency Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-207.5(4)

Any person who, by his or her own request or by order of the court, is the subject of a home study report and investigation conducted by a county Department of Social Services, an individual, or a child-placing agency, shall be required to pay, based on an ability to pay, the cost of such report and investigation.

In public adoptions, the State Board of Human Services shall promulgate rules establishing the maximum amount that a county Department of Social Services, an individual, or a child-placing agency may charge a prospective adoptive family for the investigation, criminal records check, and home study report.

The county department may waive the fee if the fee poses a barrier to the adoption of a child for whom a county department has financial responsibility.

In addition to the fee specified above, if the county department has not placed a child available for a public adoption with a family who is the subject of an nvestigation and home study report after 6 months, then the county shall refer the family and the home study report for such family to the Adoptive Family Resource Registry if there is written consent for the referral. Prior to referral of a prospective adoptive family to the registry, the prospective adoptive family shall pay a nonrefundable administrative fee in an amount to be determined by rule of the State Board of Human Services.

Accounting of Expenses Required by Court Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-208(4)

The adoption petition shall be accompanied by a standardized affidavit disclosing all fees, costs, or expenses charged or to be charged by any person or agency in connection with the adoption.

The Rights of Unmarried Fathers

Legal Definition of Father Rev. Stat. § 19-4-105

A man is presumed to be the natural father of a child if:

  • He and the child’s natural mother are or have been married to each other and the child is born during the marriage or within 300 days after the marriage is terminated.
  • Before the child’s birth, he and the child’s natural mother have attempted to marry each other, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and:
    • If the attempted marriage could be declared invalid only by a court, the child is born during the attempted marriage or within 300 days after its termination.
    • If the attempted marriage is invalid without a court order, the child is born within 300 days after the termination of cohabitation.
  • After the child’s birth, he and the child’s natural mother have married or attempted to marry, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and:
    • He has acknowledged his paternity of the child in a writing filed with the court or Registrar of Vital Statistics.
    • With his consent, he is named as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate.
    • He is obligated to support the child under a written voluntary promise or by court order.
  • While the child is under the age of majority, he receives the child into his home and openly holds out the child as his natural child.
  • He acknowledges his paternity of the child in a writing filed with the court or Registrar of Vital Statistics.
  • The genetic tests or other tests of inherited characteristics have been administered, and the results show that the alleged father is not excluded as the probable father and that the probability of his parentage is 97 percent or higher.

A duly executed voluntary acknowledgment of paternity shall be considered a legal finding of paternity on the earlier of:

  • 60 days after execution of such acknowledgment
  • On the date of any proceeding concerning the support of a child to which the signatory is a party

Paternity Registry

No

Alternate Means to Establish Paternity Rev. Stat. §§ 19-4-107; 19-4-113

A child, his or her natural mother, a man presumed to be the father, the State, or the Department of Human Services may bring a court action:

  • At any time for the purpose of declaring the existence of the father and child relationship presumed under § 19-4-105(1)(a), (1)(b), or (1)(c)
  • For the purpose of declaring the nonexistence of the father and child relationship, only if the action is brought within a reasonable time after obtaining knowledge of relevant facts, but no later than 5 years after the child’s birth

Evidence relating to paternity may include:

  • Evidence of sexual intercourse between the mother and alleged father at any possible time of conception
  • An expert’s opinion concerning the statistical probability of the alleged father’s paternity based upon the duration of the mother’s pregnancy
  • Genetic test results, weighted in accordance with evidence, if available, of the statistical probability of the alleged father’s paternity
  • Medical or anthropological evidence relating to the alleged father’s paternity of the child based on tests performed by experts
  • All other evidence relevant to the issue of paternity of the child

Required Information

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Revocation of Claim to Paternity Rev. Stat. § 19-4-105(2)

A presumption [of paternity] may be rebutted in an appropriate action only by clear and convincing evidence. If two or more presumptions arise that conflict with each other, the presumption that on the facts is found to be more credible controls. The presumption is rebutted by a court decree establishing paternity of the child by another man. In determining which of two or more conflicting presumptions should control, based upon the weightier considerations of policy and logic, the judge or magistrate shall consider all pertinent factors, including but not limited to the following:

  • The length of time between the proceeding to determine parentage and the time that the presumed father was placed on notice that he might not be the genetic father
  • The length of time during which the presumed father has assumed the role of father of the child
  • The facts surrounding the presumed father’s discovery of his possible nonpaternity
  • The nature of the father-child relationship
  • The age of the child
  • The relationship of the child to any presumed father or fathers
  • The extent to which the passage of time reduces the chances of establishing the paternity of another man and a child support obligation in favor of the child
  • Any other factors that may affect the equities arising from the disruption of the father-child relationship between the child and the presumed father or fathers or the chance of other harm to the child

A legal finding of paternity may be challenged in court only on the basis of fraud, duress, or mistake of material fact, with the burden of proof upon the challenger. Any legal responsibilities resulting from signing an acknowledgment of paternity, including child support obligations, shall continue during any challenge to the finding of paternity, except for good cause shown.

Access to Information Rev. Stat. § 19-4-105(1)(e)

[When the father] acknowledges his paternity of the child in a writing filed with the court or Registrar of Vital Statistics, [the court or registrar] shall promptly inform the mother of the filing of the acknowledgment.

Use of Advertising and Facilitators in Adoptive Placements

Use of Advertisement

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Use of Intermediaries/Facilitators Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-213

No person--other than an adoption exchange whose membership includes county departments and child placement agencies, a licensed child placement agency, or a county department--shall offer, give, charge, or receive any money or other consideration or thing of value in connection with locating or identifying for purposes of adoption any child, natural parent, expectant natural parent, or prospective adoptive parent.

Physicians and attorneys may charge reasonable fees for professional services customarily performed by such persons.

Who May Adopt, Be Adopted, or Place a Child for Adoption?

Who May Adopt Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 19-5-202; 14-1-101

The following persons may adopt:

  • Any person who is age 21 or older, including a foster parent
  • A minor upon court approval
  • A person jointly with a living spouse, unless they are legally separated
  • Any person desiring to adopt an adult as heir at law

Who May Be Adopted Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 19-5-201; 14-1-101

Any child under age 18 who is present in the State may be adopted. A person who is over age 18 but under age 21 may be adopted as a child if approved by the court.

A consenting adult or an incompetent adult whose consent to the adoption has been granted by a legally qualified conservator or other representative may be adopted.

Who May Place a Child for Adoption Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-206

A child may be placed for purposes of adoption by any of the following:

  • The court
  • The county Department of Social Services
  • A licensed child-placing agency

Post-Adoption Laws

Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Information Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 19-5-304; 19-5-305

The following persons may have access to adoption records:

  • The adopted person who is age 18 or older
  • The birth parents
  • The adoptive parent, custodial grandparent, or legal guardian of a minor adopted person
  • An adult descendant of an adopted person or the adoptive parent, with the written consent of the adopted person
  • The adopted person’s spouse, adult stepchild, or adopted adult sibling, with the consent of the adopted person
  • The birth grandparent with the consent of the birth parent
  • The legal representative of any of the above listed persons
  • A former foster child who may or may not have been adopted, who is age 18 or older, and who is searching for a birth sibling who is also age 18 or older, who may or may not have been adopted and who may or may not have been in the foster care system

Access to Nonidentifying Information Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-305

For adoptions finalized prior to September 1, 1999: Access to the adoption record is available through a confidential intermediary who must obtain consent from the parties before release of information.

For adoptions finalized on or after September 1, 1999, all adoption records shall be open to inspection by persons listed above. Adoption records, as defined by § 19-1-103, include:

‘Nonidentifying information’ means information that does not disclose the name, address, place of employment, or any other material information that would lead to the identification of the birth parents and includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • The physical description of the birth parents
  • The educational background and occupation of the birth parents
  • Genetic information about the birth family
  • Medical information about the adopted person’s birth
  • Social information about the birth parents
  • The placement history of the adopted person

The State Registrar shall prescribe an updated medical history statement that a birth parent may submit with the completed contact preference form. The medical history statement shall be a brief narrative statement written by the birth parent indicating medical information about the birth parent or other biological relatives.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 19-5-304; 19-5-305

Any of the parties listed above may file a motion with the court to appoint a confidential intermediary to determine the whereabouts of such individual’s unknown relative or relatives. No one shall seek to determine the whereabouts of a relative who is younger than age 18.

The State Registrar shall make available to any birth parent named on an original birth certificate a contact preference form on which the birth parent may state a preference regarding contact by an adult adopted person, an adult descendant of an adopted person, or a legal representative of the adopted person or descendant. The contact preference form shall allow the birth parent to voluntarily include his or her contact information in the adoption record and shall provide him or her with options to indicate a preference regarding whether he or she would or would not prefer future contact with the adopted person or adult descendant of the adopted person and, if contact is preferred, whether the birth parent would prefer contact directly or through a confidential intermediary or a child placement agency. The contact preference form shall also indicate that the birth parent can change his or her contact preference form by notifying the State Registrar in writing.

Access to Original Birth Certificate Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-305

The contact preference form provided by the State Registrar shall include an option for the birth parent to authorize the release of the original birth certificate. An authorization to release may be exercised and submitted to the State Registrar at any time after January 1, 2006.

Where the Information Can Be Located

Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Persons

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 15-11-114(1); 15-11-119

A parent is barred from inheriting from or through a child of the parent if:

  • The parent’s parental rights were terminated and the parent-child relationship was not judicially reestablished.
  • The child died before reaching age 18 and there is clear and convincing evidence that immediately before the child’s death the parental rights of the parent could have been terminated on the basis of nonsupport, abandonment, abuse, neglect, or other actions or inactions of the parent toward the child.

Except as otherwise provided below, a parent-child relationship does not exist between an adoptee and the adoptee’s genetic parents. A parent-child relationship exists between a person who is adopted by the spouse of either genetic parent and:

  • The genetic parent whose spouse adopted the person
  • The other genetic parent who is not a third-party donor, but only for the purpose of the right of the adoptee or a descendant of the adoptee to inherit from or through the other genetic parent

A parent-child relationship exists between a person who is adopted by a second parent and:

  • The genetic parent who consented to the adoption
  • The other genetic parent, but only for the purpose of the right of the adoptee or a descendent of the adoptee to inherit from or through the other genetic parent

A parent-child relationship exists between both genetic parents and a person who is adopted by a relative of a genetic parent or by the spouse or surviving spouse of a relative of a genetic parent, but only for the purpose of the right of the adoptee or a descendant of the adoptee to inherit from or through either genetic parent.

A parent-child relationship exists between both genetic parents and a person who is adopted after the death of both genetic parents, but only for the purpose of the adoptee or a descendant of the adoptee to inherit through either genetic parent.

Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-5-211

After the entry of a final decree of adoption, the adopted person shall be, for all intents and purposes, the child of the petitioner. He or she is entitled to all the rights and privileges and all the obligations of a child born in lawful wedlock of the petitioner.

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 15-11-302; 15-11-705

Except as provided below, if a testator fails to provide in his or her will for any of his or her children adopted after the execution of the will, the omitted after-adopted child receives a share in the estate as follows:

  • If the testator had no child living when he or she executed the will, an omitted after-adopted child receives a share in the estate equal in value to that which the child would have received had the testator died intestate, unless the will gave all or substantially all the estate to the other parent of the omitted child and that other parent survives the testator and is entitled to inherit under the will.
  • If the testator has one or more children living when he or she executed the will, and the will gave property or an interest in property to one or more of the then-living children, an omitted after-adopted child is entitled to share in the estate as follows:
    • The portion of the estate that the omitted after-adopted child is entitled to share is limited to bequests made to the testator’s then-living children under the will.
    • The omitted after-adopted child is entitled to receive the share of the estate that the child would have received had all omitted after-born and after-adopted children been included with the children to whom bequests were made and an equal share of the estate given to each child.

If it appears from the will that the omission was intentional or the testator provided for the omitted after-adopted child by transfer outside the will and the intent that the transfer be in lieu of a testamentary provision is shown by the testator’s statements or is reasonably inferred from the amount of the transfer or other evidence, a share will not be received by the child.

A class gift that uses a term of relationship to identify class members includes adopted persons.

Postadoption Contact Agreements Between Birth and Adoptive Families

These issues are not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Laws Related to Intercountry Adoption

Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption

Rev. Stat. § 19-5-205(1) & (2) The adoptive parents may petition the court to validate an intercountry adoption that was finalized abroad. The petition must include:

  • Confirmation that the petitioner has participated in adoption counseling, if the court deems it appropriate
  • The physical and mental condition of the child
  • The child’s family background, including the names of birth parents and other identifying data regarding the parents, if obtainable
  • Reasons for the termination of the parent-child legal relationship
  • The suitability of the adoption of this child by this petitioner and the child’s own attitude toward the adoption in any case in which the child’s age makes this feasible
  • The length of time the child has been in the care and custody of the petitioner

The court will issue a decree validating the adoption if it finds that:

  • At the time the petition is filed, it contains a verified statement or other evidence that at least one of the adopting parents is a U.S. citizen and State resident.
  • The original or a certified copy of a valid foreign adoption decree, together with a notarized translation, is presented to the court.
  • The child is either a permanent resident or a naturalized citizen of the United States.

Any decree that validates a foreign adoption that was finalized abroad will have the same legal effect as any decree of adoption issued by the court.

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate

Rev. Stat. § 25-2-113(1)(b)

The State Registrar shall prepare a new certificate of birth for any adoptee born in a foreign country and a resident of this State upon receipt of a certified copy of the final decree of adoption and findings of fact as to the person’s date and place of birth and parentage.

The State Registrar shall prepare the new certificate in the new name of the adoptee and seal the certified copy of the findings of the court and the certified copy of the final decree of adoption.

The birth certificate shall be labeled as a certificate of foreign birth and show the country or probable country of birth and that the certificate is not evidence of U.S. citizenship. If the child was born in a foreign country but was a citizen of the United States at the time of birth, the State Registrar shall notify the adoptive parents of the procedures for obtaining a revised birth certificate for their child through the U.S. Department of State.

Source

Child Welfare Information Gateway. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. [1]

References