Connecticut

Adoption Laws

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Consent to Adoption

Who Must Consent to an Adoption Citation: Gen. Stat. §§ 45a-724; 45a-715

The following persons may give a child in adoption:

  • A statutory parent
  • Any parent of a minor child who agrees in writing with his or her spouse that the spouse shall adopt or join in the adoption of the child if that parent is:
    • The surviving parent if the other parent has died
    • The mother of a child born out of wedlock provided that there is a putative father who has been notified and the rights of the putative father have been terminated
    • A former single person who adopted a child and thereafter married
    • The sole guardian of the child if the parental rights, if any, of any person other than the parties to that agreement have been terminated
  • Any parent of a minor child who agrees in writing with the other person who shares parental responsibility for the child that the other person shall adopt or join in the adoption of the child, if the parental rights, if any, of any other person other than the parties to that agreement have been terminated
  • For any minor child who is free for adoption, the child’s guardian who agrees in writing with a relative that the relative shall adopt the child

A parent who is a minor shall have the right to consent to termination of parental rights, and that consent shall not be voidable by reason of that minority. A guardian ad litemshall be appointed by the court to ensure that the minor parent is giving an informed and voluntary consent.

Consent of Child Being Adopted Citation: Gen. Stat. § 45a-724

A child age 12 or older must consent to the adoption.

When Parental Consent Is Not Needed Citation: Gen. Stat. § 45a-717(g)

Where no investigation and report has been requested, the court may petition for terminating parental rights and may appoint a guardian of the person of the child or, if the petitioner requests, the court may appoint a statutory parent, if it finds, upon clear and convincing evidence, that the termination is in the best interests of the child because the parent has:

  • Abandoned the child by failing to maintain a reasonable degree of interest, concern, or responsibility for the welfare of the child
  • Subjected the child to sexual molestation and exploitation, severe physical abuse, or a pattern of abuse
  • Failed to establish an ongoing parent-child relationship with the child
  • Been found by the court to have neglected the child in a prior proceeding, or whose child has been in the custody of the commissioner for at least 15 months and has failed to achieve such degree of personal rehabilitation as would encourage the belief that, within a reasonable time and considering the age and needs of the child, the parent could assume a responsible position in the life of the child
  • Had his or her parental rights in regard to another child previously terminated
  • Killed through a deliberate, nonaccidental act another child of the parent or has requested, commanded, importuned, attempted, conspired, or solicited such killing or has committed an assault through a deliberate, nonaccidental act that resulted in serious bodily injury of another child of the parent
  • Been convicted as an adult or a delinquent by a court of competent jurisdiction of sexual assault resulting in the conception of a child

When Consent Can Be Executed Citation: Gen. Stat. § 45a-715(d)

No consent to termination by a mother shall be executed within 48 hours immediately after the birth of her child.

How Consent Must Be Executed Citation: Gen. Stat. §§ 45a-715(e)-(f); 45a-717(f)

Consent to adoption is made by a petition for voluntary termination of parental rights. The petition shall be filed in the court of probate for the district in which the petitioner or the child resides or, in the case of a minor who is under the guardianship of any child care facility or child-placing agency, in the court of probate for the district in which the main office or any local office of the agency is located. If the petition is filed with respect to a child born out of wedlock, the petition shall state whether there is a putative father to whom notice shall be given.

If any petitioner is a minor, the guardian ad litemmust approve the petition in writing, before action by the court.

The court may approve a petition for termination of parental rights based on consent filed pursuant to this section terminating the parental rights and may appoint a guardian of the person of the child. If the petitioner requests, the court may appoint a statutory parent if it finds, upon clear and convincing evidence, that the termination is in the best interests of the child and the parent has voluntarily and knowingly consented to termination of the parent’s parental rights with respect to the child.

Revocation of Consent Citation: Gen. Stat. § 45a-719 The court may grant a motion to open or set aside a judgment terminating parental rights or may grant a petition for a new trial on the issue of the termination of parental rights provided the court shall consider the best interests of the child. No such motion or petition may be granted if a final decree of adoption has been issued prior to the filing of any such motion or petition.

Criminal Background Checks for Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents

Requirements for Foster Parents [1]

A State and national criminal history records check and a State child abuse registry check are required for a prospective foster parent and any household members age 16 or older.

When a criminal history records check is required, such check shall be requested from the State Police Bureau of Identification. The requesting party shall arrange for the fingerprinting of the individual or for conducting any other method of positive identification required by the State Police Bureau of Identification and, if a national criminal history records check is requested, by the FBI.

In regulation:The granting of a license or approval shall be denied if any member of the household of a foster family or prospective adoptive family:

  • Has been convicted of injury or risk of injury to a minor or other similar offenses against a minor

Has been convicted of impairing the morals of a minor or other similar offenses against a minor Has been convicted of violent crime against a person or other similar offenses Has been convicted of the possession, use, or sale of controlled substances within the past 5 years

  • Has been convicted of illegal use of a firearm or other similar offenses
  • Has ever had an allegation of child abuse or neglect substantiated
  • Has had a minor removed from his or her care because of child abuse or neglect

Requirements for Adoptive Parents Gen. Stat. § 17a-114(b)(2); Regs. Ct. Agencies § 17a-150-110

A prospective adoptive parent, and any person age 16 or older living in the household, is required to undergo State and national criminal history records checks prior to placement of a child. Such criminal history records checks shall be conducted in accordance with § 29-17a.

When a criminal history records check is required, such check shall be requested from the State Police Bureau of Identification. The requesting party shall arrange for the fingerprinting of the individual or for conducting any other method of positive identification required by the State Police Bureau of Identification and, if a national criminal history records check is requested, by the FBI.

The commissioner also shall check the State child abuse registry for the name of the applicant and for the name of any person age 16 or older living in the household of the applicant.

The granting of a license or approval shall be denied if the conditions listed above apply to any member of the prospective adoptive parent’s household.

Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights

Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights Gen. Stat. §§ 17a-111a; 17a-111b; 17a-112

The Commissioner of Children and Families shall file a petition to terminate parental rights if:

  • The child has been foster care for at least 15 consecutive months, or at least 15 months during the 22 months immediately preceding the filing of such petition.
  • The parent has abandoned the child.
  • The parent has inflicted sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or severe physical abuse on the child or has engaged in a pattern of abuse of the child.
  • The parent is unable or unwilling to benefit from reunification efforts.
  • The parent was convicted of a sexual assault that resulted in the conception of a child. The court may terminate the rights of the parent to such child at any time after the conviction.
  • A court has found that the parent has:
    • Killed, through a deliberate, nonaccidental act, a sibling of the child
    • Requested, attempted, conspired, or solicited to commit the killing of the child or a sibling of the child
    • Assaulted the child or sibling of the child, and such assault resulted in serious bodily injury to the child
  • The parent has failed to maintain a reasonable degree of interest, concern, or responsibility as to the welfare of the child.
  • The parental rights of the parent to a sibling have been terminated within 3 years of the filing of a petition, provided the commissioner has made reasonable efforts to reunify the parent with the child for a period of at least 90 days.

Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights Gen. Stat. § 17a-111a

A petition to terminate rights shall be filed when the child has been in the custody of the Commissioner of Children and Families for at least 15 of the most recent 22 months unless:

  • The child has been placed in the care of a relative.
  • There is a compelling reason to believe that termination of rights is not in the best interests of the child.
  • The parent has not been offered the services specified in the permanency plan to reunify the parent with the child.

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: State Agencies Regs. § 17a-145-132

The adoption home study shall include the applicant as well as all members of the applicant’s household.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study Citation: State Agencies Regs. § 17a-145-132

The Department of Children and Families or a child-placing agency shall conduct the assessment of any prospective adoptive parent.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents Citation: State Agencies Regs. §§ 17a-145-143; 17a-145-144; 17a-145-147

The health of persons living in the prospective adoptive family shall not present a hazard to the children. Prospective adoptive parents and others members of the household shall be of good character, habits, and reputation.

Prospective adoptive parents shall have an income sufficient to meet the needs of their family. Money received on behalf of the child shall be expended on the care of the child.

Elements of a Home Study Citation: Gen. Stat. § 17a-114(b)(2); State Agencies Regs. § 17a-145-154

The applicant and any person age 16 or older living in the applicant’s household shall submit to State and national criminal history records checks prior to placement of a child. The department also shall check the State child abuse registry for the names of the applicant and any person age 16 or older living in the household.

In regulation: The department or child-placing agency shall conduct an assessment of any prospective adoptive parent(s)’ home. The assessment shall include, but not be limited to:

  • The physical condition of the home
  • The health of the applicant and other members of the household
  • The ability of the applicant to provide an environment that will advance the physical, mental, emotional, educational, and social development of the adoptive child

Grounds for Withholding Approval Citation: State Agencies Regs. § 17a-145-152

Approval shall be denied if any member of the household of a prospective adoptive family:

  • Has been convicted of injury or risk of injury to a minor or other similar offenses against a minor
  • Has been convicted of impairing the morals of a minor or other similar offenses against a minor
  • Has been convicted of violent crime against a person or other similar offenses
  • Has been convicted of the possession, use, or sale of controlled substances within the past 5 years
  • Has been convicted of illegal use of a firearm or other similar offenses
  • Has ever had an allegation of child abuse or neglect substantiated
  • Has had a minor removed from their care because of child abuse or neglect

Approval may be denied if any member of the household of a prospective adoptive family:

  • Is awaiting trial, or is on trial, for charges as described above
  • Has a criminal record that the department or child-placing agency believes makes the home unsuitable
  • Has a current child abuse or neglect allegation pending

When Studies Must Be Completed Citation: Gen. Stat. § 45a-727

When an application for adoption has been filed, the court shall request the department or a child-placing agency to make an investigation and submit a written report to it, in duplicate, within 60 days from the receipt of the request.

Postplacement Study Requirements

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions Citation: Gen. Stat. § 45a-733

An investigation and home study report are not required in the case of a child sought to be adopted by a stepparent.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements Citation: Gen. Stat. §§ 17a-152; 17a-175; State Agencies Regs. § 17a-145-136

Any person or entity, before bringing or sending any child into the State for the purpose of placing or caring for such child in any home or institution, either free or for board, shall make application to the Commissioner of Children and Families, giving the name, the age, and a personal description of such child, the name and address of the person, home, or institution with which the child is to be placed, and such other information as may be required by the commissioner.

No sending State shall send, bring, or cause to be sent into any other party State any child for placement in a prospective adoptive home unless the sending agency complies with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children and with the applicable laws of the receiving State governing the placement of children.

Prior to sending a child to a receiving State for placement in a prospective adoptive home, the sending agency shall furnish the appropriate public authorities in the receiving State written notice containing necessary information.

The child shall not be sent to the receiving State until the appropriate public authorities in the receiving State notify the sending agency, in writing, that the proposed placement does not appear to be contrary to the interests of the child.

In regulation:Each child-placing agency or prospective adoptive family shall comply with State statutes and regulations regarding the interstate placement of children prior to accepting placement of a child from out of State.

Foster to Adopt Placements Citation: Gen. Stat. § 17a-114

Any person licensed by the department may be a prospective adoptive parent.

Infant Safe Haven Laws

Infant’s Age Citation: Gen. Stat. § 17a-58

A child who is 30 days old or younger may be relinquished.

Who May Relinquish the Infant Citation: Gen. Stat. § 17a-58

The child may be relinquished by his or her parent or a lawful agent of the parent.

Who May Receive the Infant Citation: Gen. Stat. § 17a-57

Each hospital operating an emergency room shall designate all members of the emergency room nursing staff as employees authorized to take physical custody of an infant pursuant to § 17a-58. There shall be a designated employee on duty at each hospital emergency room during regular business hours. There shall be a designated place inside such hospital emergency room where physical custody may be taken.

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider Citation: Gen. Stat. §§ 17a-58; 17a-59

The designated employee shall take physical custody of any infant age 30 days or younger if the parent or lawful agent of the parent voluntarily surrenders physical custody of the infant unless the parent or agent clearly expresses an intent to return for the infant. The designated employee may request the parent or agent to provide the name of the parent or agent and information on the medical history of the infant and parents.

The designated employee may provide the parent or agent with a numbered identification bracelet to link the parent or agent to the infant. The bracelet shall be used for identification only and shall not be construed to authorize the person who possesses the bracelet to take custody of the infant on demand. The designated employee shall provide the parent or agent with a pamphlet describing the process of safe relinquishment.

No more than 24 hours after taking physical custody of the infant, the designated employee shall notify the Department of Children and Families of such custody.

Immunity for the Provider

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent Citation: Gen. Stat. §§ 17a-60; 53-23

Information concerning a parent or agent or infant left with a designated employee shall be confidential, except that the provider shall furnish to the Commissioner of Children and Families all medical history information provided by the parent.

Leaving an infant with a safe haven provider is not a violation of the law of child abandonment.

Effect on Parental Rights Citation: Gen. Stat. §§ 17a-59; 17a-60

The Commissioner of Children and Families shall assume the care and control of the infant immediately upon receipt of notice and shall take any action authorized under State law to achieve safety and permanency for the infant. Any infant in the care and control of the commissioner under the provisions of this section shall be considered to be in the custody of the department.

If a person claiming to be a parent or agent of an infant left with a designated employee submits a request to the Commissioner of Children and Families for reunification with the infant, the commissioner may identify, contact, and investigate such person or agent to determine if such reunification is appropriate or if the parental rights of the parent should be terminated.

Possession of a bracelet linking the parent or agent to an infant left with a designated employee if parental rights have not been terminated creates a presumption that the parent or person has standing to participate in a custody hearing for the infant and does not create a presumption of maternity, paternity, or custody.

Regulation of Private Domestic Adoption Expenses

Birth Parent Expenses Allowed Citation: Gen. Stat. §§ 45a-728; 45a-728c

Counseling of the birth mother shall be required within 72 hours of birth of the child, or as soon as medically possible after the birth. Permissible payment of expenses for birth parent counseling shall include the cost of transportation.

With respect to adoption placement of children who have been identified or located by prospective adoptive parents, payment for the living expenses of the birth mother by the prospective adoptive parents shall be permitted in an amount not to exceed $1,500 or such amount as may be approved in unusual circumstances by the probate court. In addition to the payment of living expenses, payment by the prospective adoptive parents of reasonable telephone charges and maternity clothing expenses of the birth mother shall be permitted.

Birth Parent Expenses Not Allowed Citation: Gen. Stat. § 45a-728c

Payment to the birth mother for living expenses shall not exceed $1,500 unless approved in unusual circumstances by the court.

Allowable Payments for Arranging Adoption

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Allowable Payments for Relinquishing Child

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Allowable Fees Charged by Department/Agency Citation: Gen. Stat. § 45a-727(b)

The court may assess the adopting parent a reasonable fee to cover the cost of making any required investigation.

Accounting of Expenses Required by Court

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

The Rights of Unmarried Fathers

Legal Definition of Father Gen. Stat. § 45a-604

‘Father’ means a man who is a father under the law of this State, including a man who, in accordance with § 46b-172, executes a binding acknowledgment of paternity and a man determined to be a father under chapter 815y.

Paternity Registry Gen. Stat. § 46b-172a

Any person claiming to be the father of a child born out of wedlock may at any time, but no later than 60 days after the date of notice under § 45a-716, file a claim for paternity on forms provided by such court the court of probate for the district in which either the mother or the child resides.

The claim for paternity shall be admissible in any action for paternity under § 46b-160 and shall prohibit the claimant from denying his paternity of such child and shall contain language that he acknowledges liability for contribution to the support and education of the child after its birth and for contribution to the pregnancy-related medical expenses of the mother.

Failing perfection of parental rights as prescribed by this section, any person claiming to be the father of a child born out of wedlock (1) who has not been adjudicated the father of such child by a court of competent jurisdiction, (2) who has not acknowledged in writing that he is the father of such child, (3) who has not contributed regularly to the support of such child, or (4) whose name does not appear on the birth certificate shall cease to be a legal party in interest in any proceeding concerning the custody or welfare of the child, including but not limited to guardianship and adoption, unless he has shown a reasonable degree of interest, concern, or responsibility for the child’s welfare.

Alternate Means to Establish Paternity Gen. Stat. §§ 46b-160; 46b-172

Proceedings to establish paternity of a child born or conceived out of lawful wedlock, including one born to, or conceived by, a married woman but fathered by a man other than her husband, shall be commenced by the service on the putative father of a verified petition of the mother or expectant mother. Such petition may be brought at any time prior to the child’s 18th birthday, provided liability for past support shall be limited to the 3 years just prior to the date of the filing of the petition.

If the putative father fails to appear in court at such time and place, the court shall hear the petitioner and, upon a finding that process was served on the putative father, shall enter a default judgment of paternity against the father. The court shall issue a final judgment of paternity if the court finds that there is clear and convincing evidence of paternity. Evidence shall include, but not be limited to, genetic test results indicating a 99-percent or greater probability that the respondent is the father of the child.

In lieu of or in conclusion of proceedings under § 46b-160, a written acknowledgment of paternity executed and sworn to by the putative father of the child when accompanied by an attested waiver of the right to a blood test, the right to a trial, and the right to an attorney and a written affirmation of paternity executed and sworn to by the mother of the child shall have the same force and effect as a judgment of the Superior Court.

Required Information Gen. Stat. § 46b-172a

The claim shall contain the claimant’s name and address, the name and last known address of the mother, and the month and year of the birth or expected birth of the child.

Revocation of Claim to Paternity Gen. Stat. § 46b-172

The mother and the acknowledged father shall have the right to rescind such affirmation or acknowledgment in writing within the earlier of 60 days or the date of an agreement to support the child.

An acknowledgment may be challenged in court or before a family support magistrate after the rescission period only on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact that may include evidence that he is not the father, with the burden of proof upon the challenger.

Access to Information Gen. Stat. § 46b-172a

Not later than 5 days after the filing of a claim for paternity, the judge of the court of probate shall cause a certified copy of such claim to be served upon the mother or prospective mother of such child by personal service or service at her usual place of abode, and to the attorney general by first-class mail.

Use of Advertising and Facilitators in Adoptive Placements

Use of Advertisement Citation: Ann. Stat. § 45a-728d

Any birth parent may advertise through any public media in this State for the placement of his or her child for the purpose of adoption.

Any prospective adoptive parent may advertise through any public media in this State for placement of a child into his or her care for the purpose of adoption.

Use of Intermediaries/Facilitators Citation: Ann. Stat. § 53-21

Any person who permanently transfers the legal or physical custody of a child younger than age 16 to another person for money or other valuable consideration, or acquires or receives the legal or physical custody of a child younger than age 16 from another person upon payment of money or other valuable consideration to such other person or a third person, except in connection with an adoption proceeding that complies with the provisions of chapter 803, shall be guilty of a felony.

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

Who May Adopt Citation: Gen. Stat. §§ 45a-726a; 45a-732; 45a-734

Any adult person may adopt, with the following stipulations:

  • The sexual orientation of the adopter may be considered when placing a child.
  • The Commissioner is not required to place a child with a person who is homosexual or bisexual.
  • A husband and wife must adopt jointly unless excepted by the court.
  • In the case of the adoption of an adult, the person is older than the adopted person and has received the applicable approval of the probate court under § 45a-734. A person may not adopt an adult who is his or her wife, husband, brother, sister, uncle, or aunt of the whole or half-blood.

Who May Be Adopted Citation: Gen. Stat. §§ 45a-725; 45a-734

Any minor child who is legally free for adoption may be adopted. A child shall be considered free for adoption if:

  • The child has no living parents.
  • All parental rights have been terminated.

Any person age 18 or older may be adopted by another person who is at least age 18 but older than himself or herself, provided that:

  • The adopted person has agreed to the adoption in writing and the written agreement has been approved by the Court of Probate for the district in which the adopting parent resides, or if the adopting parent is not an inhabitant of this State, for the district in which the adopted person resides.
  • In the case of a married adoptive parent, the spouse of that person joins in the adoption agreement when the surviving birth parent has remarried and the spouse of that parent wishes to become an adoptive parent, he or she may do so with the consent of the surviving birth parent.

Who May Place a Child for Adoption Citation: Gen. Stat. §§ 45a-724; 45a-726

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

  • Any parent or statutory parent
  • The child’s guardian(s)
  • The Commissioner of Children and Families
  • A child-placing agency

Post-Adoption Laws

Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Information Citation: Ann. Stat. § 45a-746

Nonidentifying information is available to the following persons:

Identifying information may be accessed by:

  • The adult adopted person
  • Any birth parent of the adult adopted person, including any person claiming to be the father who was not a party to the proceedings for the termination of parental rights
  • Any adult birth sibling of the adult adopted person
  • If the adopted person is deceased, any adult descendants, including legally adopted descendants

Access to Nonidentifying Information Citation: Ann. Stat. § 45a-746

Nonidentifying information about the birth parents shall be provided in writing to the adopting parents prior to finalization of the adoption.

The birth parents may access the information at any time for the purposes of verifying, correcting, or adding information.

Information about the birth parents includes, but is not limited to:

  • Age at the time of the child’s birth
  • Ethnic background and nationality
  • General physical appearance at the time of the child’s birth
  • Education and occupations of the birth parents
  • Talents, hobbies, and special interests
  • Existence of any other children born to either parent
  • Health history of the birth parents and blood relatives
  • Reasons for placing the child for adoption
  • Religion of the birth parents
  • Any other relevant nonidentifying information

Mutual Access to Identifying Information Citation: Ann. Stat. § 45a-751

Any authorized applicant may, by applying in person or in writing to the child-placing agency or the department, request the release of identifying information. The information should be released unless:

  • The consents of every person whose identity is sought, as required by § 45a-751b, are not given.
  • The release of the requested information would seriously disrupt or endanger the physical or emotional health of the applicant or the person whose identity is being requested.

Access to Original Birth Certificate Citation: Ann. Stat. § 7-53

Any person seeking to examine or obtain a copy of the original birth certificate must obtain a written order from the court in the jurisdiction in which the adopted person was adopted or born. The court will determine that the examination or issuance of a copy of the birth certificate of the adopted person by the adopting parents or the adopted person, if older than age 18, or by any other person will not be detrimental to the public interest or to the welfare of the adopted person or the birth or adoptive parents.

Where the Information Can Be Located

  • Connecticut Department of Children and Families, Bureau of Adoption and Interstate Compact Services
  • The department and each child-placing agency involved in the adoption

Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Persons

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person Citation: Gen. Stat. § 45a-731(6), (8)

The birth parent(s) and their relatives shall have no rights of inheritance from or through the adopted person, nor shall the adopted person have any rights of inheritance from or through the birth parent(s) or their relatives.

When one of the birth parents of a minor child has died and the surviving parent has remarried subsequent to such parent’s death, adoption of the child by the surviving parent’s spouse shall not affect the rights of the child to inherit from or through the deceased parent and the deceased parent’s relatives.

Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person Citation: Gen. Stat. § 45a-731(1)-(3)

A final decree of adoption shall have the following effect:

  • All rights, duties, and other legal consequences of the birth relation of child and parent thereafter exist between the adopted person and the adopting parent(s) and the relatives of such adopting parent(s). The adopted person shall be treated as if they were the birth child of the adopting parent(s).
  • The adopting parent(s) and the adopted person shall have rights of inheritance from and through each other. Such rights extend to adopted relatives and the heirs of the adopted person.
  • The adopted person and the birth children and other adopted children of the adopting parent(s) shall be treated as siblings, having rights of inheritance from and through each other. Such inheritance rights shall be extended to the heirs of all the children.

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will Citation: Gen. Stat. § 45a-257b

If a testator fails to provide in his or her will for any of his or her children who were adopted after the execution of the will, including any child who is born as a result of artificial insemination to which the testator consented, the omitted after-adopted child receives a share in the estate as follows:

  • If the testator had no child living when the will was executed, an omitted or after-adopted child receives a share in the estate equal in value to that which he or she would have received had the testator died intestate, unless the will bequeathed all or substantially all of the estate to the other parent of the omitted child and that other parent survives the testator.
  • If the testator had one or more children living when he or she executed the will, and the will or bequeathed 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 testator’s estate as follows:
    • Unless it appears from the will that the testator intended to make a limited provision that specifically applied only to his or her living children at the time the will was executed, the after-adopted child receives the portion of the estate that he or she would have had the testator died intestate.
    • The omitted after-adopted child is entitled to receive the share of the estate, as limited above, that the child would have received had the testator included all omitted after-born and after-adopted children with the children to whom bequests were made under the will and had given an equal share of the estate to each child.

If it appears that the omission was intentional or the testator provided for the child by transfer outside the will with the intent that the transfer be in lieu of a testamentary provision, the child shall receive no share of the estate.

Postadoption Contact Agreements Between Birth and Adoptive Families

What may be included in postadoption contact agreements? Gen. Stat. § 45a-715(j), (k)

A cooperative postadoption agreement shall contain the following:

  • An acknowledgment by either or both birth parents that the termination of parental rights and the adoption is irrevocable, even if the adoptive parents do not abide by the cooperative postadoption agreement
  • An acknowledgment by the adoptive parents that the agreement grants either or both birth parents the right to seek enforcement of the cooperative postadoption agreement

The terms of a cooperative postadoption agreement may include the following:

  • Provision for communication between the child and either or both birth parents
  • Provision for future contact between either or both birth parents and the child or an adoptive parent
  • Maintenance of medical history of either or both birth parents who are a party to the agreement

Who may be a party to a postadoption contact agreement? Gen. Stat. § 45a-715(h)

Either or both birth parents and an intended adoptive parent may enter into a cooperative postadoption agreement regarding communication or contact between either or both birth parents and the adopted child. Such an agreement may be entered into if:

  • The child is in the custody of the Department of Children and Families.
  • An order terminating parental rights has not yet been entered.
  • Either or both birth parents agree to a voluntary termination of parental rights, including an agreement in a case that began as an involuntary termination of parental rights.

The postadoption agreement shall be applicable only to a birth parent who is a party to the agreement. Such agreement shall be in addition to those under common law.

Counsel for the child and any guardian ad litemfor the child may be heard on the proposed cooperative postadoption agreement. There shall be no presumption of communication or contact between the birth parents and an intended adoptive parent in the absence of a cooperative postadoption agreement.

What is the role of the court in postadoption contact agreements? Gen. Stat. § 45a-715(i)

If the probate court determines that the child’s best interests will be served by postadoption communication or contact with either or both birth parents, the court shall so order, stating the nature and frequency of the communication or contact. A court may grant postadoption communication or contact privileges if:

  • Each intended adoptive parent consents to the granting of communication or contact privileges.
  • The intended adoptive parent and either or both birth parents execute a cooperative agreement and file the agreement with the court.
  • Consent to postadoption communication or contact is obtained from the child, if the child is at least 12 years old.
  • The cooperative postadoption agreement is approved by the court.

Are agreements legally enforceable? Gen. Stat. § 45a-715(j), (m)

A cooperative postadoption agreement shall contain the following:

  • An acknowledgment by either or both birth parents that the termination of parental rights and the adoption is irrevocable, even if the adoptive parents do not abide by the cooperative postadoption agreement
  • An acknowledgment by the adoptive parents that the agreement grants either or both birth parents the right to seek enforcement of the cooperative postadoption agreement

A disagreement between the parties or litigation brought to enforce or modify the agreement shall not affect the validity of the termination of parental rights or the adoption and shall not serve as a basis for orders affecting the custody of the child.

How may an agreement be terminated or modified? Gen. Stat. § 45a-715(m), (n)

The court shall not act on a petition to change or enforce the agreement unless the petitioner had participated, or attempted to participate, in good faith in mediation or other appropriate dispute resolution proceedings to resolve the dispute.

An adoptive parent, guardian ad litemfor the child, or the court on its own motion may, at any time, petition for review of communication or contact ordered by the court if the adoptive parent believes that the best interests of the child are being compromised. The court may order the communication or contact to be terminated, or order such conditions with regard to communication or contact as the court deems to be in the best interests of the adopted child.

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

Gen. Stat. § 45a-730(a)

A petition for validation of an intercountry adoption decree may be filed with a probate court for an adoption that was finalized outside the United States when the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service* refused to grant the child U.S. citizenship because the adoptive parents did not personally see and observe the child prior to or during the adoption proceedings.

The petition for validation may be made by the adoptive parent or child-placing agency and filed with the probate court in the petitioner’s county of residence and must be accompanied by an authenticated copy of the adoption decree unless the court waives this requirement.

The court may validate the adoption if it finds that:

  • The adoption of the foreign-born child was finalized abroad.
  • The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service* refused to naturalize the child because the adoptive parents did not personally see and observe the child prior to or during the adoption proceedings.
  • It is in the best interests of the child.

A validation under this section shall not be construed to validate an adoption otherwise invalid in accordance with the law of the place of adoption.

[As of March 1, 2003, the responsibility for providing immigration-related services was transferred from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a bureau of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The statutes do not yet reflect this change.]

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate

Gen. Stat. § 7-54

The Department of Public Health will prepare a certification of birth registration or a certificate of foreign birth for any person born outside the country who is adopted by a State resident provided:

  • An authenticated copy of the adoption order from the court conducting the adoption proceedings, or other evidence that is considered satisfactory by the probate court, is filed with the court.
  • The probate court notifies the department that the copy or satisfactory evidence has been filed.

The certification of birth registration will contain only:

The certificate of foreign birth will contain:

  • The adopted name
  • Sex
  • Date and place of birth
  • Legal name of adoptive parent or parents
  • Date of preparation of the certificate

No certification of birth registration or certificate of foreign birth shall be prepared except on specific written request by the person to whom the certification relates, if over age 16, the adopting parent(s), or the court for the district in which the adoption proceedings were held.

The adoptive parent(s) or adoptee, if age 18 or older, may apply to the court to determine the person’s biological age and date of birth. After a hearing on the application, the court may issue a decree to establish the biological age and date of birth of the adoptee. If the biological age and date of birth established in the decree differs from that in the certification of birth registration or a certificate of foreign birth, the court shall provide a certified copy of the decree to the department.

Source

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

References

  1. Ala. Code §§ 38-13-3(2) & (5); 38-13-2(30)