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Mississippi

Adoption Laws

Notice: The information contained on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. Always seek the advice of a licensed and qualified professional. While the content of this website is frequently updated, information changes rapidly and therefore, some information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies, omissions or typographical errors.

Consent to Adoption

Who Must Consent to an Adoption Citation: Ann. Code § 93-17-5

Consent shall be executed by the following persons:

  • The parents, or parent if only one parent, even if either one is under age 21
  • If both parents are dead, then any two adult kin of the child within the third degree
  • The guardian ad litemof an abandoned child
  • Those persons having physical custody of the child, except persons having the child as foster parents as a result of placement by the Department of Human Services of the State of Mississippi
  • Any person to whom custody of the child may have been awarded by a court of competent jurisdiction of the State of Mississippi
  • The agent of the county department of human services that has placed a child in foster care, either by agreement or by court order

Consent of Child Being Adopted Citation: Ann. Code § 93-17-5

If the child is age 14 or older, a consent to the adoption, sworn to or acknowledged by the child, is required.

When Parental Consent Is Not Needed Citation: Ann. Code § 93-17-5; 93-17-7

In the case of a child born out of wedlock, the father shall not have a right to object to an adoption unless he has demonstrated, within the period ending 30 days after the birth of the child, a full commitment to the responsibilities of parenthood.

An adoption may be allowed over the objection of a parent when the parent:

  • Has abused the child
  • Has not consistently offered to provide reasonably necessary food, clothing, appropriate shelter, and treatment for the child
  • Suffers from a medical or emotional illness, mental deficiency, behavior or conduct disorder, severe physical disability, substance abuse, or chemical dependency that makes him or her unable or unwilling to provide an adequate permanent home for the child at the present time or in the reasonably near future based upon expert opinion or based upon an established pattern of behavior
  • Has a history of past or present conduct, including criminal convictions, that viewed in its entirety would pose a risk of substantial harm to the physical, mental, or emotional health of the child
  • Has engaged in acts or omissions permitting termination of parental rights

When Consent Can Be Executed Citation: Ann. Code § 93-17-5

Consent shall not be executed before 72 hours after the birth of the child.

How Consent Must Be Executed Citation: Ann. Code § 93-17-5

Consenting parents shall be made parties to the adoption proceeding by process or by the filing consent to the proposed adoption in the petition. Consent may also be executed and filed by the duly authorized officer or representative of a home to whose care the child has been delivered. The child shall join the petition.

Revocation of Consent Citation: Ann. Code § 93-17-15

No action shall be brought to set aside any final decree of adoption, whether granted upon consent or personal process or on process by publication, except within 6 months of the entry thereof.

Criminal Background Checks for Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents

Requirements for Foster Parents Ann. Code § 43-15-6(2) & (3); Code of Miss. Rules § 11-111-001

A fingerprint-based FBI and State criminal background check and child abuse registry check are required for providers of foster care. A prospective foster parent will be denied licensure if he or she has a criminal history of conviction or pending indictment of a crime, whether a misdemeanor or a felony, that bears upon his or her fitness to have responsibility for the safety and well-being of children.

All fees incurred in compliance with this section shall be borne by the individual or entity to which this law applies. The Department of Human Services shall have the authority to set fees, to exclude a particular crime or crimes or a substantiated finding of child abuse and/or neglect as disqualifying individuals or entities from providing foster care or residential child care, and adopt such other rules and regulations as may be required to carry out the provisions of this section.

In regulation:Law enforcement and child abuse central registry clearances shall be obtained for all adult household members, age 18 and older. The applicant, foster parent, and adult household members shall be free of conviction or indictment for, or involvement in the criminal offenses included, but not limited to, those listed above.

Requirements for Adoptive Parents Ann. Code § 93-17-11; Code of Miss. Rules § 11-111-001

For adoptions, other than those in which the petitioner is a relative or stepparent of the child, the court shall require that a home study be performed by a licensed adoption agency or the Department of Human Services. The home study shall be considered by the court in determining whether the petitioner is a suitable parent for the child.

In regulation:A central child abuse registry check is required for a prospective adoptive parent.

Each prospective adoptive parent must disclose any criminal record or alleged criminal activity by signing a disclosure form. A routine check with the local law enforcement agencies (both city and county) in the current as well as the last place of residence will be a part of the adoption study.

Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights

Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights Ann. Code § 93-15-103

Grounds for termination of parental rights shall be based on one or more of the following factors:

  • The parent has deserted the child without means of identification or abandoned a child.
  • The parent has made no contact with a child under age 3 for 6 months or a child age 3 or older for 1 year.
  • The parent has been responsible for a series of abusive incidents concerning one or more children.
  • When the child has been in the care and custody of a licensed child-caring agency or the Department of Human Services for at least 1 year, that agency or the department has made diligent efforts to develop and implement a plan for return of the child to his or her parents, and:
    • The parent has failed to exercise reasonable available visitation with the child.
    • The parent, having agreed to a plan to reunify with the child, fails to implement the plan so that the child caring-agency is unable to return the child to the parent.
  • The parent exhibits ongoing behavior that would make it impossible to return the child to the parent’s care and custody because:
    • The parent has a diagnosable condition that makes the parent unable to assume minimally, acceptable care of the child that is unlikely to change within a reasonable time, such as alcohol or drug addiction, severe mental deficiencies or mental illness, or extreme physical incapacitation.
    • The parent fails to eliminate behavior, identified by the child-caring agency or the court, which prevents placement of the child with the parent in spite of diligent efforts of the child-caring agency to assist the parent.
  • There is an extreme and deep-seated antipathy by the child toward the parent, or there is some other substantial erosion of the relationship between the parent and child that was caused at least in part by the parent’s serious neglect, abuse, prolonged and unreasonable absence, unreasonable failure to visit or communicate, or prolonged imprisonment.
  • The parent has been convicted of any of the following offenses against any child:
    • Rape, sexual battery, touching a child for lustful purposes, or exploitation
    • Felonious abuse or battery of a child
    • Carnal knowledge of a step- or adopted child or a child of a cohabitating partner
    • Murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent, or aiding, abetting, attempting, conspiring, or soliciting to commit such murder or voluntary manslaughter
    • Felony assault that results in the serious bodily injury to the surviving child or another child of the parent
  • The child has been adjudicated to have been abused or neglected and has been placed in out-of-home care, and a court of competent jurisdiction has determined that reunification shall not be in the child’s best interests.

Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights Ann. Code Ann. §§ 43-15-13; 93-15-103

For any child who has been in foster care for 15 of the last 22 months, regardless of whether the foster care was continuous for all of those 22 months, the department shall file a petition to terminate the parental rights of the child’s parents. The time period starts to run from the date the court makes a finding of abuse and/or neglect or 60 days from when the child was removed from his or her home, whichever is earlier. The department can choose not to file a termination of parental rights petition if the following apply:

  • The child is being cared for by a relative.
  • The department has documented compelling and extraordinary reasons why termination of parental rights would not be in the best interests of the child.

Legal custody and guardianship by persons other than the parent, as well as other permanent alternatives that end the supervision by the Department of Human Services, should be considered as alternatives to the termination of parental rights, and these alternatives should be selected when, in the best interests of the child, parental contacts are desirable and it is possible to secure such placement without termination of parental rights.

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: Code of Rules 11-111-001

All applicants for adoption must complete the home study process before a child is placed in their home.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study Citation: Code of Rules 11-111-001

An adoption specialist with the Adoption Unit of the Division of Family and Children’s Services, Mississippi Department of Human Services, is responsible for making an adoptive home study under the supervision of the adoption administrator.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents Citation: Code of Rules 11-111-001

The general requirements for adoptive applicants include the following:

  • Only applicants living in the State will be accepted, unless the family in another State goes through the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.
  • Applicants for adoption, including both the husband and the wife if the application is from a couple, must be at least age 21. The agency considers:
    • Applicants age 40 and younger for an infant
    • Applicants age 45 and younger for a child between 2 and 6
    • Applicants age 45 and older for a child 6 and older
  • Married couples shall have a legal marriage of 2 years in duration. An application from a single person will be accepted. Unmarried couples may not adopt per State statutes.
  • The family should have sufficient income to meet their needs and in some cases those of the child to be adopted if the child is not eligible for any type of assistance.
  • The home and neighborhood should provide adequate space and living conditions necessary to promote health, safety, and well-being for the family.
    • Each child placed for adoption must have his/her own bed. Children in adoptive placement may not share a bedroom with an adult or with children of the opposite sex.
    • The house must have at least one smoke detector located near the bedrooms. There must be at least one 5-lb. fire extinguisher, located near entrance and exit doors, which is readily visible. The house must be equipped with telephone service.
    • Water and sewage systems not connected to an approved city or community service must be approved by the Health Department. Outdoor toilets are not acceptable
  • The applicants must verify that they are healthy enough to care for a child.

Elements of a Home Study Citation: Code of Rules 11-111-001

The purpose of a home study is:

  • To determine with the applicants whether they are capable of becoming parents who can meet the needs of an adoptive child
  • To consider what kind of child can benefit from their home
  • To prepare the applicants for adoption and help them to anticipate the special needs of an adopted child
  • To prepare the applicants for the demands inherent in parenthood with emphasis on adoptive parenthood
  • For the adoption worker to observe and note evidence of the applicants’ flexibility and capacity to grow and develop as prospective parents during the adoptive home study process

All applicants are expected to complete a group preparation process that consists of a series of training sessions. The applicants will each write their own Life Story using an outline provided by the adoption worker. The Life Stories are to be submitted with the completed applicant forms to the adoption worker and should be used as a basis of discussion in the individual interviews.

Each prospective adoptive parent must disclose any criminal record or alleged criminal activity by signing a disclosure form. A routine check with the local law enforcement agencies (both city and county) in the current as well as the last place of residence will be a part of the adoption study. A required check against the Child Abuse Central Registry is completed. Reference contacts with the following are required:

  • The current employer and previous employers within the past 5 years
  • Four character references, three of which cannot be related
  • The child abuse central registry

Grounds for Withholding Approval Citation: Code of Rules 11-111-001

The agency will postpone or withdraw from the adoption home study under any of the following circumstances:

  • Adoptive applicant’s pregnancy
  • Acceptance of a child for adoption by adoptive parents from another source
  • Serious health problem of any family member
  • Marital separation or divorce
  • Failure to provide significant factual information requested on agency forms (e.g., prior marriages and divorces)
  • Any factor that appears to indicate possible inability to parent a child appropriately, including, but not limited to, an unfavorable reference or financial limitations

When Studies Must Be Completed Citation: Code of Rules 11-111-001

The application process including the home study shall be completed within 90 days of the initial date of the application. Studies must be kept up to date at all times through recording after each visit with the family. An update of the adoption study should be completed biannually by the adoption specialist.

Postplacement Study Requirements Citation: Code of Rules 11-111-001

A minimum of 6 months of supervision is required for each agency placement. This may be all the time that is necessary for an infant placement. However, the supervisory period will be determined by the adjustment of the child to the new family environment. The 6 months may be shortened if appropriate or lengthened if needed to stabilize the placement. The adoptive family will also be required to attend adoption support group meetings before placement and after for continued postadoptive support.

During the 6-month supervisory period, the adoption specialist will make the following visits:

  • One visit within 2 weeks of the placement
  • A minimum of one visit each of the next 3 months
  • One visit at the end of the 6-month period

The specialist will submit a report of each supervisory visit to the adoption program administrator for the county of responsibility.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions Citation: Ann. Code § 93-17-13; Code of Rules 11-111-001

The 6-month period of postplacement supervision is not required when a child is a stepchild of a petitioner or is related by blood to the petitioner within the third degree.

In regulation:Waivers for the age requirements for adoptive applicants are considered for foster parents and relative adoption applicants.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements Citation: Ann. Code § 43-18-1

Any out-of-home placement of a child outside the State is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

The child shall not be sent into 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.

Foster to Adopt Placements Citation: Code of Rules 11-111-001

A foster/adopt home shall be offered only for children whose goal or concurrent plan is adoption. This shall include, but not be limited to, abandoned children, children who are in the process of being freed for adoption, and any child designated as a legal risk placement. A foster/adopt home shall care for the number of children according to the capacity and terms of the foster home license. At any given time there shall be no more than six children residing in the home younger than age 18. The foster/adopt family shall have completed application requirements for adoption to be eligible to apply for license as a foster/adopt family. A foster/adopt family shall receive payments based on the regular per diem board rates as related to the child’s age and special needs. The licensing specialist and social worker shall maintain at least monthly face-to-face supervisory contacts with the child and the foster/adopt family while the child is in placement. The foster/adopt home shall be reevaluated every 24 months as required by the licensing authority. Foster parent training requirements apply.

Foster/adopt parents will be trained in concurrent permanency planning and must be willing and capable of working with birth parents if this is part of the concurrent plan. If reunification does not occur, they must be committed to providing a permanent home for the child.

Infant Safe Haven Laws

Infant’s Age Citation: Ann. Code § 43-15-201

An infant who is 72 hours old or younger may be relinquished.

Who May Relinquish the Infant Citation: Ann. Code § 43-15-201

A child is relinquished when the child is voluntarily delivered to the provider by the child’s parent and the parent did not express an intent to return for the child.

Who May Receive the Infant Citation: Ann. Code §§ 43-15-201; 43-15-207

The child may be delivered to an emergency medical services provider. The term ‘emergency medical services provider’ means a licensed hospital that operates an emergency department or a licensed adoption agency.

An emergency medical services provider does not include the offices, clinics, surgeries, or treatment facilities of private physicians or dentists. No individual licensed health-care provider, including physicians, dentists, nurses, physician assistants, or other health professionals shall be deemed to be an emergency medical services provider unless such individual voluntarily assumes responsibility for the custody of the child.

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider Citation: Ann. Code §§ 43-15-201; 43-15-203

An emergency medical services provider, without a court order, shall take possession of a newborn who is voluntarily delivered to the provider by the child’s parent and the parent did not express an intent to return for the child.

An emergency medical services provider who takes possession of a child shall perform any act necessary to protect the physical health or safety of the child.

No later than the close of the first business day after the date on which an emergency medical services provider takes possession of a child, the provider shall notify the Department of Human Services.

Immunity for the Provider Citation: Ann. Code § 43-15-209

A person or entity taking possession of a child under the provisions of this article shall be immune from liability for any civil action arising out of any act or omission resulting from taking possession of the child unless the act or omission was the result of the person’s or entity’s gross negligence or willful misconduct.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent Citation: Ann. Code §§ 43-15-201; 43-15-205

The parent who surrenders the baby shall not be required to provide any information pertaining to his or her identity, nor shall the emergency medical services provider inquire as to same. If the identity of the parent is known to the emergency medical services provider, the emergency medical services provider shall keep the identity confidential.

A female presenting herself to a hospital through the emergency room or otherwise, who is subsequently admitted for purposes of labor and delivery, does not give up the legal protections or anonymity guaranteed under this section. If the mother clearly expresses a desire to voluntarily surrender custody of the newborn after birth, the emergency medical services provider can take possession of the child, without further action by the mother, as if the child had been presented to the emergency medical services provider in the same manner outlined above.

If the mother expresses a desire to remain anonymous, identifying information may be obtained for purposes of securing payment of labor and delivery costs only. If the birth mother is a minor, the hospital may use the identifying information to secure payment through Medicaid but shall not notify the minor’s parent or guardian without the minor’s consent. The identity of the birth mother shall not be placed on the birth certificate or disclosed to the Department of Human Services.

Relinquishment to a safe haven is an affirmative defense to prosecution for abandonment, neglect, or exposure of the child.

Effect on Parental Rights Citation: Ann. Code §§ 43-15-201; 43-15-203

There is a presumption that by relinquishing a child in accordance with this section, the parent consents to the termination of his or her parental rights with respect to the child. As such, the parent waives the right to notification required by subsequent court proceedings.

The Department of Human Services shall assume control and custody of the child.

Regulation of Private Domestic Adoption Expenses

Birth Parent Expenses Allowed Citation: Ann. Code §§ 43-15-23(4); 43-15-117(4)

The payment of the following expenses is permitted:

  • Legal fees that have been approved by the court
  • Attorney fees for services performed in regard to adoption proceedings
  • Reasonable and actual medical fees or hospital charges for services rendered in connection with the birth or medical treatment of the child
  • The mother’s living expenses
  • Counseling for the parents and/or the child

Birth Parent Expenses Not Allowed

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Allowable Payments for Arranging Adoption Citation: Ann. Code §§ 43-15-23(2); 43-15-117(3)

No person, agency, association, corporation, institution, society, or other organization except a child-placing agency licensed by the Department of Public Welfare shall request, receive, or accept any compensation or thing of value, directly or indirectly, for placing a child for adoption.

An attorney, physician, or other person may assist a parent in identifying or locating a person interested in adopting the parent’s child or in identifying or locating a child to be adopted. However, no payment, charge, fee, reimbursement of expense, or exchange of value of any kind, or promise or agreement to make the same, may be made for that assistance.

Allowable Payments for Relinquishing Child

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Allowable Fees Charged by Department/Agency Citation: Ann. Code §§ 93-17-12; 93-17-19

In all adoptions, the court shall impose a fee for any court-ordered home study performed by the Department of Human Services or any other entity. The minimum fee imposed shall not be less than $350 for each household on which a home study is performed. The fee shall be paid directly to the Mississippi Department of Human Services prior to the home study being conducted by the department or to the entity if the study is performed by another entity. The judge may order the fee be paid by one or both of the parents or guardian. If the court determines that both parents or the guardian are unable to pay the fee, the judge shall waive the fee and the cost of the home study shall be defrayed to the Department of Human Services.

All costs of the proceeding shall be taxed in the manner that the court may direct, including a reasonable fee as determined, approved, and allowed by the court to be paid for each investigation that may be authorized or required by the chancellor, other than for an investigation and report by a public authority or agency, in which event no such fee shall be allowed.

Accounting of Expenses Required by Court

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

The Rights of Unmarried Fathers

Legal Definition of Father Ann. Code § 43-21-105

A ‘parent’ is the father or mother to whom the child has been born, or the father or mother by whom the child has been legally adopted.

Paternity Registry Ann. Code § 93-9-28

The Mississippi Department of Health in cooperation with the Mississippi Department of Human Services shall develop a form and procedure that may be used to secure a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity from the mother and father of any child born out of wedlock in Mississippi.

The form shall clearly state on its face that the execution of the acknowledgment of paternity shall result in the same legal effect as if the father and mother had been married at the time of the birth of the child. When such form has been completed according to the established procedure and the signatures of both the mother and father have been notarized, then such voluntary acknowledgment shall constitute a full determination of the legal parentage of the child.

The completed voluntary acknowledgment of paternity shall be filed with the Bureau of Vital Statistics of the Mississippi Department of Health. The name of the father shall be entered on the certificate of birth upon receipt of the completed voluntary acknowledgment.

Upon the birth of a child out of wedlock, the hospital, birthing center, midwife, or other birth attendant shall provide an opportunity for the child’s mother and natural father to complete an acknowledgment of paternity by giving the mother and natural father the appropriate forms and information.

Alternate Means to Establish Paternity Ann. Code § 93-17-6

Any person who is alleged or claiming to be the father of a child born out of wedlock who is proposed for adoption or who has been determined to be an alleged father by any administrative or judicial procedure may file a petition for determination of rights as a preliminary pleading to a petition for adoption in any court that would have jurisdiction and venue of an adoption proceeding.

A petition for determination of rights may be filed at any time 30 days after the birth of the child.

Required Information Ann. Code § 93-9-28

The departments shall provide for obtaining the Social Security numbers of both the father and mother on voluntary acknowledgments.

Revocation of Claim to Paternity Ann. Code § 93-9-28

A signed voluntary acknowledgment of paternity is subject to the right of any signatory to rescind the acknowledgment within the earlier of:

  • 60 days
  • The date of a judicial proceeding relating to the child, including a proceeding to establish a support order, in which the signatory is a party

After the expiration of the 60-day period, a signed voluntary acknowledgment of paternity may be challenged in court only on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact, with the burden of proof upon the challenger. The legal responsibilities, including child support obligations, of any signatory arising from the acknowledgment may not be suspended during the pendency of the challenge, except for good cause shown.

Access to Information

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Use of Advertising and Facilitators in Adoptive Placements

Use of Advertisement Citation: Ann. Code § 43-15-117

No child-placing agency shall advertise in the media markets in Mississippi seeking birth mothers or their children for adoption purposes unless the agency holds a valid and current license. Any child-placing agency, physician, or attorney who advertises for child-placing or adoption services in Mississippi shall be required by the division to show their principal office location on all media advertising for adoption services.

Nothing in this section precludes payment of reasonable medical, legal, or other lawful services fees, and for the legal proceedings related to lawful adoption proceedings; and no provision of this section abrogates the right of procedures for independent adoption as provided by law.

Use of Intermediaries/Facilitators Citation: Ann. Code § 43-15-117

Except as provided in this article, no person, agency, firm, corporation, association, or group children’s home may engage in child placing, or solicit money or other assistance for child placing, without a valid license issued by the division.

An attorney, physician, or other person may assist a parent in identifying or locating a person interested in adopting the parent’s child, or in identifying or locating a child to be adopted. However, no payment, charge, fee, reimbursement of expense, or exchange of value of any kind, or promise or agreement to make the same, may be made for that assistance.

Nothing in this section precludes payment of reasonable fees for medical, legal, or other lawful services rendered in connection with the care of a mother, or delivery and care of a child, including, but not limited to, the mother’s living expenses or counseling for the parents and/or the child, and for the legal proceedings related to lawful adoption proceedings.

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

Who May Adopt Citation: Ann. Code § 93-17-3

The following persons may adopt:

  • An unmarried adult
  • A married person jointly with his or her spouse
  • A State resident for 6 consecutive months immediately prior to the adoption

Adoption by couples of the same gender is prohibited.

Who May Be Adopted Citation: Ann. Code § 93-17-3

Any person may be adopted.

Who May Place a Child for Adoption Citation: Ann. Code §§ 93-17-5; 93-17-9

The following persons may consent to the adoptive placement:

  • The parent(s)
  • Any two adult kin of the child if both parents are deceased
  • A guardian ad litemof an abandoned child
  • A child-placing agency to whom the child has been surrendered

Post-Adoption Laws

Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Information Citation: Ann. Code § 93-17-207

Nonidentifying information may be provided to:

Identifying information is available to the adopted person who is age 21 or older.

Access to Nonidentifying Information Citation: Ann. Code §§ 93-17-205; 93-17-207; 93-17-209

The Bureau of Vital Statistics shall maintain a centralized adoption records file for all adoptions performed in this State after July 1, 2005 that shall include the following information:

  • The medical and social history of the birth parents, including information regarding genetically inheritable diseases and any similar information about the adopted person’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, and sisters, if known
  • A report of any medical examination that either birth parent had within 1 year before the date of the petition for adoption, if available and known
  • A report describing the adopted person’s prenatal care and medical condition at birth, if available and known
  • The medical and social history of the adopted person, including information regarding genetically inheritable diseases, and any other relevant medical, social, and genetic information, if available

Any birth parent may file with the bureau at any time any relevant supplemental nonidentifying information about the adopted person or the birth parents, and the bureau shall maintain this information in the centralized adoption records file.

Nonidentifying information shall be released for a reasonable fee to any qualified person listed above. If the information is not on file, the adopted person may request the bureau to locate the birth parent and obtain the information.

If an agency receives a report from a physician that a birth parent or another child of the birth parent may have a genetically transferable disease, the agency shall notify the adopted person of the existence of the disease if he or she is age 21 or older, or the adopted person’s guardian, custodian, or adoptive parent if he or she is under age 21. If an agency receives a report from a physician that an adopted person may have a genetically transferable disease, the agency shall notify the adopted person’s birth parent of the existence of the disease.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information Citation: Ann. Code §§ 93-17-205; 93-17-215; 93-17-217; 93-17-219

The bureau shall maintain as part of the centralized adoption records file the following:

  • The name, date of birth, Social Security number (both original and revised, where applicable), and birth certificate (both original and revised) of the adopted person
  • The names, current addresses, and Social Security numbers of the adopted person’s birth parents, guardian, and legal custodian
  • Any other available information about the birth parent’s identity and location

The birth parent may file with the bureau at any time an affidavit authorizing the bureau to provide the adopted person with his or her original birth certificate and with any other available information about the birth parent’s identity and location, or an affidavit expressly prohibiting the bureau from releasing any information about his or her identity and location, and prohibiting any licensed adoption agency from conducting a search for such birth parent. An affidavit filed under this section may be revoked at any time by written notification to the bureau.

An adopted person age 21 or older may request identifying information regarding either birth parent, unless that birth parent has executed an affidavit prohibiting the release of such information. The adopted person must submit to counseling in connection with any release.

If an affidavit is not on file, the adopted person may request the agency to undertake a search for the birth parent who has not filed an affidavit.

Access to Original Birth Certificate Citation: Ann. Code §§ 93-17-21; 93-17-205

The original birth certificate shall not be a public record and shall not be divulged except upon the order of the court or pursuant to §§ 93-17-201 through 93-17-223.

The birth parent may file with the bureau at any time an affidavit authorizing the bureau to provide the adopted person with his or her original birth certificate, or an affidavit expressly prohibiting the release of any information. The affidavit may be revoked at any time by written notification to the bureau.

Where the Information Can Be Located

  • Mississippi Department of Health, Vital Records
  • The licensed agency involved in the adoption

Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Persons

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person Citation: Ann. Code § 93-17-13

The birth parents and their relatives shall not inherit by or through the adopted child, except for a birth parent who is the spouse of the adopting parent.

Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person Citation: Ann. Code § 93-17-13

The adopted child shall inherit from and through the adoptive parent(s) and other children of the adoptive parent(s) by the laws of descent and distribution of the State of Mississippi, and likewise the adoptive parent(s) and their other children shall inherit from the adopted child.

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

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

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate

Ann. Code § 93-17-21(2)

Either an original or a revised birth certificate may be issued by the Bureau of Vital Statistics to any child who was born outside the United States or its possessions and adopted by an order of a court in this State. Upon presentation of a certified copy of the final decree of adoption containing the required information, the Director of the Bureau of Vital Statistics shall be authorized and directed to receive the certified copy of the decree of adoption and prepare and record a birth certificate that shall disclose the following information:

  • The adopted name of the child
  • The child’s race, sex, and date of birth
  • The child’s place of birth (the actual town, district, and county, except when the child is born in a penal or mental institution when the name of the county shall be sufficient)
  • The names, race, ages, places of birth, and occupation of the adoptive parents, including the maiden name of the adoptive mother

The certificate shall have the appearance and indicia for a ‘revised’ certificate issued to a child born in this State. The Director of the Bureau of Vital Statistics shall be authorized and directed to issue certified copies thereof, the same as if the birth certificate were that of a child who had never been adopted.

Source

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

References

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